Shaydeen Stocker is currently undertaking her graduate nursing year in Perth after successfully completing her nursing studies.

However, the journey to becoming the registered nurse she is today wasn’t straightforward for the proud wife and mother of three, involving a brave change of her career path.

“Prior to having children, I worked as an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Advisor in the Mining and Oil and Gas Industries,” she said.

“I decided to try nursing while I was on maternity leave from my OHS job as I enjoyed the ‘health’ side of my role and was eager to gain practical skills as a health officer. As I wasn’t sure if nursing was a good fit for me, I went with the shorter course and completed the Diploma of Enrolled Nursing in 2015.”

Shaydeen then went on to become a registered nurse while she was pregnant with her third child.

During her Bachelor of Nursing Degree, she applied for The Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme which encourages and assists Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students in health- related disciplines* to complete their studies and join the health workforce.

The scholarships, which are administered by the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) thanks to funding from the Australian Government Department of Health, are available for entry level or graduate entry-level courses and are worth up to $15,000 per year for full-time study and $7,500 per year for part-time study.

Shaydeen identified receiving the scholarship as a pivotal point in helping her achieve her dream of becoming a registered nurse.

She is one of several health students across Australia who have benefited from the support it provides in navigating the challenges of university study.

“Juggling young children with study was certainly challenging, but the Puggy Hunter Scholarship gave me financial security to assist with childcare, books and other study materials,” she said.

“My advice for others who are thinking of starting a career in health or are currently studying is to never give up and keep chipping away at the course work. It took me longer than I anticipated to complete my RN course, but I got there in the end!”

“I have wondered why I didn’t start nursing sooner! I am really keen to get started and am sincerely grateful for the support from The Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme!”

Scholarship applications are currently open for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students intending to study an entry-level health course in 2022, and close on 11 October 2021.

More information, including a full description of eligibility criteria, can be found on the ACN website or by contacting the ACN Scholarships Team on 1800 688 628 or via [email protected]

*Eligible health-related study areas include:
– Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care
– Dentistry/oral health
– Mental health studies **NEW
– Nursing
– Midwifery
– Medicine
– Allied health

** Additional places for mental health related studies have been made available for the 2022 intake!


By Rory O’Sullivan, ACN Communications Officer