WHEN Eboney Wolk was ready to wrap up her Wodonga TAFE nursing studies, the global pandemic hit.
Having just started her last work placement with Yarrawonga Health in March as part of her Diploma of Nursing, Ms Wolk said the COVID-19 crisis was front and centre.
As a diversional therapist, Ms Wolk said she was also learning the ropes of a new job.
"I gained a lot of confidence from that nursing job," she said.
"I learnt how to communicate better with dementia patients too; this was something that always made me nervous until then."
With the border closure in July and original 50-kilometre travel limit, Ms Wolk completed her training at Albury and District Nursing Home.
She said her experience with dementia patients served her well.
"I want to be a paediatric nurse so it's funny that I have started my training at the other end of the lifecycle," Ms Wolk said.
"It showed me that each individual is so different.
"It is a privilege to be able to support people nearing the end of their lives and their families, knowing they're at peace. It does pull on the heartstrings though!"
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Now studying her Bachelor of Nursing at La Trobe University Wodonga until late 2022, Ms Wolk will soon join the team at Murray Valley Private Hospital in Wodonga.
Albury-raised, Ms Wolk said it was a natural choice to do nursing but her career pathway helped her study and learn on the job too.
"Since I was a young child I have wanted to be a nurse," Ms Wolk said.
"I recently found a photo of myself at preschool with a stethoscope."
Ms Wolk gained the 2020 Aware Super/Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Victoria Branch: Diploma of Nursing Student of the Year Award for Wodonga Institute of TAFE.
Wodonga TAFE's Nursing Program coordinator Tracey Frampton said Ms Wolk was an exceptional candidate.
"Eboney was an outstanding student with all the traits we would like to see of a professional nurse, including empathy, compassion, respect and understanding," she said.
Claudia Bryan gained the 2020 La Trobe University Wodonga Student of the Year Award for the Bachelor of Nursing. She did her diploma at Wodonga TAFE.