The perfect start
When her younger sister was born with complex congenital heart disease, Jessica Taggart became a frequent visitor to medical clinics and hospitals.
From a very young age, she knew the positive difference nurses and doctors were making in the community.
“I remember feeling like nursing was just something I wanted to do," Jessica said.
"I would watch all the nurses with their equipment, and how they would talk to the patients.
"When I look back, I don’t think I ever wanted to do anything else."
At age 17 and in Year 11, Jessica commenced an Australian School-based Apprenticeship to get a head-start on her nursing career.
“I knew I wanted to be on a path that would lead to nursing and the medical sciences so the Certificate III in Health Service Assistance was a perfect start for me," she said.
“Studying for my HSC, doing the traineeship and being involved in other school activities made it hard to balance things at times.
"Every Thursday I would wake up at six am and be ready to start my shift on the wards by seven am.
“But I got to experience the real side of nursing.
"Working amongst health workers and being able to help provide a similar level of care made each day more and more worth it."
Rewarded for her success in her studies, Jessica was awarded the NSW Trainee of the Year Award and was runner up to the Australian Apprentice (Trainee) of the Year Award at the 2012 Australian Training Awards.
Jessica is now at the University of Newcastle and studying for a Bachelor of Nursing.
“From learning the anatomy of the body to taking a patient’s blood pressure, my passion for nursing became stronger every day," she said.
"Because I learned so much on the job, I am now achieving really high results at University."
Jessica has this advice for young people still at school considering their future career options.
“If you are in high school and thinking about a career, try an Australian School-based Apprenticeship – there are heaps of different courses in a range of different industries. Ask your careers adviser how you can do it!” Jessica said.