Elise Stewart

Nursing graduate Elise Stewart has been selected as a finalist for Vocational Student of the Year as part of the 2018 Victorian Training Awards.

The winners will be announced on Friday, August 24 at a gala dinner in Melbourne.

Within the category Elise is among three finalists, the winner will receive a trophy and $5000 in prize money and go in the running to become the state’s nominee at the Australian Training Awards.

Having already secured Bendigo TAFE’s top accolade – the Student of the Year Award – Elise has transformed her passion for helping others into a career in nursing, demonstrating that having a disability shouldn’t prevent anyone from achieving their goals.

Initially, Elise was told she couldn’t become a nurse because she is profoundly deaf and 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.

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.

The high achiever describes her Bendigo TAFE teachers as a critical factor in her success.

“The teachers were awesome. Because I’m deaf their teaching in the classroom incorporated interpreters and videos along with the simulated labs and manikins. That gave me good hands-on experience, which is where I learnt a lot,” she said.

“My advice to others is, whatever you put your mind to, you can do it, no matter what your disability or where you come from, just do it.”

Through her studies, Elise was accepted into the St John of God Bendigo Hospital graduate program.