Elise Stewart

2018
Finalist
Victoria

Diploma of Nursing

Industry experts initially told Elise she could not become a nurse because she is profoundly deaf as there was a belief she could put patients at risk. Through resilience and determination, she became the first deaf person to complete a Diploma of Nursing at Bendigo TAFE. To accomplish this, Elise accessed full-time interpreters, lobbied to have electronic materials subtitled, and worked with an audiologist to have equipment amplified so she could hear bodily sounds.

In 2017, Elise represented Bendigo TAFE as part of a cultural experience in China. She visited the Nursing University and a hospital. Mandarin is a language predominantly based on tonality, a struggle for someone deaf. Despite this, Elise learned the language with the use of Auslan interpreters signing the movement of sound and tone.

Elise’s inspiring work helped to break down the communication barriers for teachers, peers and patients, and her current workplace now has deafness awareness training.