Elise Stewart

Health and Community Services
Victoria

Diploma of Nursing

Enrolled Nurse: Elise Stewart

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.

“So many opportunities arise from VET, like placements and opportunities to consolidate theory into practice. You can demonstrate where you’re at in your learning,” she said”

“Placements gave me the opportunity to show what I am capable of. All four placements offered me a job upon completion of my training.”

Elise was the 2018 Victorian Training Awards  Vocational Student of the Year, a 2018 Australian Training Awards Vocational Student of the Year finalist, and is a member of the Australian VET Alumni.