My name is Richard Budd and most people call me Rick or Buddy. I’m so used to being called by my last name that when I’m called Richard I think I’m in trouble! I’m a 43-year-old married father-of-one teenager (which explains my grey hairs) and I have completed a Diploma of Nursing (HLT54115).
I'm a passionate enrolled nurse working at the Mater Hospital in Townsville and I'm also a cosplayer. I dress up as movie villains to entertain people or raise money for charity. I’ve been in costume to see sick children in hospital a number of times to bring some magic into their lives. It makes me feel good to help others, but I didn't always know that I wanted to be a nurse.
When I finished high school I didn’t want to do further study or go onto university, so I joined the military for an adventure. I spent 12 years in the army and served on deployments to East Timor. After I discharged I had a number of different jobs including at mine sites and at a prison, but I wasn’t really settled. I was bored. I felt like I was wasting my time and I had no job satisfaction. I was also stuck between a rock and a hard place because there were no jobs in town for an unskilled person such as myself.
I caught up with a friend who was a mature age psychology student and she encouraged me to do further study and climb out of my rut. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but one of the best jobs that I have ever had was working as an orderly. I pushed the patients and beds around and assisted the nursing staff to undertake their duties. With that job in mind, I researched courses and it came down to nursing.
The thought of studying was daunting. I hadn’t studied since high school and that was 25 years ago. I’m a kinesthetic learner, so TAFE Queensland's hands-on training appealed to me. The Diploma of Nursing (HLT54115) was offered via flexible learning, which meant that I could study in my own time and participate in face-to-face residential learning blocks. My daughter was finishing high school at around the same time and she didn’t know what she wanted to do. I thought if I could show her that I was studying and enjoying it, maybe it might entice her to undertake a TAFE course too.
As my studies progressed, I enjoyed getting my hands dirty (so to speak) working in the nursing lab in Townsville. I also really liked interacting with my fellow classmates and we've formed lasting friendships. Everyone helped and encouraged each other through the course and it’s like that in the workforce too; we all hook in and support each other to get the job done. I could relate to my classmates as the majority of us were considered mature age students. We all had life experience and had worked in various different fields, so I didn't feel like a fish out of water.
The TAFE Queensland teachers were also fantastic. They are full of real life skills and knowledge and were able to impart the information to real-life settings and scenarios, whether that be conducting physical assessments of patients or responding to emergencies. In my honest opinion, the instruction I received was of such a great standard that it put me and my classmates in good stead for future job prospects. As a result of the high standards set by TAFE Queensland, myself and another student were offered positions as Student Nurses while we were undertaking our final placement. To this day, I use every aspect that I was taught to undertake my job, it has been good putting theory into practice.
I barely passed high school and I never went to my formal or graduation, so attending my TAFE Queensland graduation was exciting and nerve-wracking. I could not believe it when I found out that I had won a student award for dedication to my studies. I don’t consider myself special, so I was shocked and flabbergasted by the recognition.
If you're like me and are thinking about re-engaging in study, I encourage you to go do a course to broaden your mind and horizon. It’s never too late and I'm proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks.