The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has announced two recipients of the new $10,000 Argent Indigenous Nursing Scholarship.

Leilani Greene and Ketisha Gill are both studying double Bachelors in Nursing and Paramedic Science with the hope to work in regional communities.

The pair met in orientation week back in 2017 and have been friends ever since.

The Faculty of Health scholarship, supported by Brisbane education philanthropists Shelley Argent OAM and Don Argent, will assist with the financial costs of students in their final-year practical placements. These placements take place within selected communities in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Gill, 24, grew up in regional Western Australia and is the eldest of four sisters.

“I have big dreams to work in rural and remote nursing after I graduate,” Gill said.

“Nursing is just such a great way to get to chat to people and hear their story and contribute to their lives.”

“I love that nursing is becoming more holistic – it’s not just about medication, it’s ‘what can we do for you, what do you need, how can we help you be the healthiest person you can be?’”

“We’re looking at the big picture of nursing and I think it’s really cool to be part of this changing workplace atmosphere.”

Gill initially thought about pursuing neuroscience in WA, however, wanted a more hands-on career.

“The scholarship is going to be so much help for me financially because we have to pay our own travel costs for the practical placements, so it will mean I can dedicate more time to my studies and placements,” she said.

“I’m really grateful to the School of Nursing and Professor Patsy Yates [Head of School] for their support.”

Greene, 23, was born and raised in Cairns, but moved to Brisbane in 2017 to start her QUT journey.

“Nursing didn’t come to me until later, I knew in high school I wanted to do something health-related,” Greene said.

“When I started, I knew it was for me. It was in allied health, it was holistic, there’s a follow-through – so when you get your patient it isn’t just about treating them and them going to the hospital, it’s … [building] a relationship with your patients.”

With many of her family working in health, Greene is the first in her family to take-on university education. The scholarship will enable her to succeed without financial burden.

“The money that I have got will be going towards my [practical placements] that I’ll undertake in my final year of study. To have that financial burden relieved was the most exciting part of it, so I’m very, very grateful for the School of Nursing, to QUT and to the Argent family who sponsored the scholarships.”

Both women are student ambassadors with the Oodgeroo Unit, QUT’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander success unit.

In their roles, the women visit high schools to share their experiences and inspire younger generations. Oodgeroo has given both women immense support.

“I hadn’t thought university was an achievable goal because of the difficulty of moving away from my strong family and community connections in Cairns,” Greene said.

“This is something I know a lot of Indigenous kids struggle with. But the Oodgeroo Unit became my home away from home.

“The sense of community that they have built here at QUT and the amount of support that the Oodgeroo Unit and School of Nursing offer their students, and continue to offer me, is the reason I’m here four years later and about to graduate university.”

By Rachael Knowles