Claire’s mum was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, but stoically fought on, even graduating from a psychology degree at Flinders nine months before her death.
The care Gaye received from fellow nurses throughout her treatment reinforced to Claire the importance of person-centred care and going the extra mile to treat patients with dignity and respect.
For the first time Claire was inspired to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a caring and compassionate nurse.
“I would sit with Mum when she was getting her chemo and the way the nurses would interact with her, it made me feel more supported and I thought, I could do that for someone too,” Claire says.
“My mum was my best friend. She always used to say that you’re never too busy to make a Milo or cup of tea for someone, it can make all the difference.”
On 2 January 2016 Gaye sadly died. Claire was about to head into her second year of the nursing degree when it happened.
The grief soon became too much as she tried to juggle university, motherhood and work commitments, so she ended up withdrawing from her studies before it counted as a fail.
Over the next three years Claire would withdraw without fail twice more, her marriage would be tested, and she would doubt her ability to finish the nursing degree.
But with the help of a good psychologist and support offered through Flinders’ counselling services, she got through the tough times.
“It came to 2019 and I knew I could do it again, so I decided to enrol full time. Flinders has been really good about being adaptable to our experiences,” she says.
“I didn’t even finish high school and I’m here. It hasn’t been easy, but I have to egg myself on.”