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Dedication pays off for Resthaven winner

by Esther Thorn

Resthaven scholarship winner Arun Thomas at City East campus.Determination, dedication and discipline are three words that have become a mantra for UniSA nursing student Arun Thomas (pictured right).

The 23-year-old bid his family farewell and left India five years ago to study a Bachelor of Commerce in Australia.

Faced with supporting himself at just 18, Arun began working part-time at a nursing home, a decision that’s taken him down a career path he never expected.

“I loved the fact nursing was about holistic care. We weren’t just looking at the patients’ health problems but at their whole sense of well-being,” he said.

“I also loved it that the staff and patients became like a family because I was so far from my own family.”

Arun knew then that he wanted to become a nurse, and after finishing his Commerce degree he successfully applied to do a Bachelor of Nursing at UniSA.

“One of the best things about UniSA is that it’s student oriented and flexible,” he said.

Arun currently works 20 hours a week at the nursing home as an enrolled nurse and in his limited free time tutors other students.

“That’s just me, I love educating and helping other people,” he said.

His hard work paid off in May when he was awarded a Resthaven Scholarship from a field of 37 applicants.

“I had to be interviewed by a panel of five people including the Head of the School of Nursing. It was challenging and definitely boosted my confidence level,” he said.

The Resthaven Undergraduate Nursing Scholarship encourages study related to aged care and provides financial assistance to students. It awards $5000 a year for the duration of the degree.

“(The money) will really reduce my workload and allow me to concentrate on my studies and that takes half the stress out of it,” he said.

But the greatest benefit is the self-belief he has gained by winning the scholarship.

“It was recognition for all my hard work and it’s given me the motivation to achieve more and more,” he said.

Others have also recognised his talent. He was offered jobs at both a nursing home and a private hospital where he did recent placements.

“My parents always said to me ‘Arun you’ve got a good bedside manner’ and I guess that must be true,” he said.

Arun hopes to continue his career in Australia.

“The people are really friendly and the one thing I just respect and love about Australian culture is that there’s not such a class structure as in India. The people are really open-minded and respect each other,” he said.

Arun has been shocked by the differences between the Australian and Indian health systems.

“It’s very systematic, well-equipped, well-disciplined and low patient load (in Australia) compared to my country. The people who get employed (in Australian hospitals) are very well educated with quality training,” he said.

He hopes his graduation from UniSA’s Bachelor of Nursing will just be the beginning of his educational journey.

“My father always said, ‘life is not about earning lots of money or property – it’s about education alongside determination, discipline and dedication’.”