Former Ashburton College student Tori Watson is among the first cohort from Ara’s Timaru campus set to graduate with a Bachelor of Nursing degree.
The 21-year-old expects to find out her final exam results in mid-December and is eyeing a graduation ceremony with 14 others in her class in February.
Tori has a job offer working in paediatrics in Timaru that is conditional on passing the Nursing Council of New Zealand state final examinations.
After three years of study, she is looking forward to getting into a paid nursing role.
Her study debt is lower than many graduating students, in part due to having her fees paid by the government in the first year.
She has also lived at home over the past three years and took advantage of the free bus laid on from Ashburton to Timaru by Ara, particularly in her first year.
A collaborative relationship between Ara and the South Canterbury District Health Board gave Tori and her fellow nursing students easy access to clinical placements.
To be able to sit her final state exams she needed to rack up 1100 hours of placement experience.
Tori combined lectures and tutorials with stints working in a rest-home, in a medical/surgical environment and in mental health.
She missed out on working in a GP practice because of covid, but worked on a disaster nursing group project instead.
Her final placement was a nine-week stint in paediatrics and a field of nursing that she really enjoyed.
“I loved working with children and I hope to continue going in that direction.”
Longer term, she was considering specialising in paediatrics and doing a post-graduate certificate.
Tori said nursing for her was about being kind, caring and patient.
While at school she had considered joining the police force, but had changed direction after advice about her eyesight.
The change of direction had taken place in Year 13 and she had needed to study biology online to gain enough credits to apply for nursing.
Tori says nursing is the right career choice for her and she can’t wait to get started.
Outside of her studies, she is into health and fitness. She enjoys tramping and running and has worked part-time at EA Networks Centre in a variety of roles.