Graduate Diplomas in Cardiac Ultrasound

HOME is where the heart is for two local nurses-turned-echocardiographers.

After completing their Bachelor of Nursing degrees two years ago, Kirsten Newman and Jessica Goodman decided to take their medical education one step further and complete a Graduate Diploma in Cardiac Ultrasound, a two-year course run through the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

The girls received their qualifications recently, essentially “doubling the staff levels” at their workplace, Mildura Cardiology.

Chief echocardiographer Lisa Zweck said the course undertaken by Ms Newman and Ms Goodman is “notorious for having students drop out or fail due to the high level of skills involved”.

“Not only is it very academically difficult requiring physics, anatomy, physiology, and mathematical equations, but the physical skills required to perform the procedure is extremely difficult,” Ms Zweck said.

“This has been an outstanding achievement for the girls and now has basically doubled our staff levels,

“They are local girls and it is wonderful that they have retrained in such a specialised area to help service our rural community.”

Ms Goodman and Ms Newman said while their training was “intense,” they were now looking forward to embarking on their new career.

“I always knew I wanted to work in healthcare, starting with working as a personal carer, then nursing and leading in to echocardiography seemed like a very natural progression for me,” Ms Goodman said.

“I really think you can have a rewarding and successful career right here in Mildura, our workplace has been so supportive.”

The road to echocardiology looked very different for Ms Newman, who decided to take a turn to the medical profession after hairdressing for seven years.

“I was a qualified hairdresser when I started studying nursing … I never thought I’d do a post grad, let alone a degree,” she said.

“I did it because I just thought it was amazing, I had almost finished my nursing degree and thought I’d give it a go — and I’m so glad I did.”

Both girls agree that having access to “hands on learning” through their workplace was key to their success.

“You’re actually not allowed to do the course with out the hands on training, so we were really lucky to have Mildura Cardiology take us on and support us though that,” Ms Goodman said.

“The wonderful thing about echocardiology is that it’s continually changing and improving – you’re learning new things all the time… it’s constantly evolving, and that’s a very exciting thing to be a part of.”