Elsie pursues nursing with all her heart
Elsie Morton has at least five good reasons not to set foot in a hospital.
Having had five rounds of open heart surgery – two before her fourth birthday – the Australian Catholic University student is now returning to familiar territory to pursue her childhood aspiration to become a nurse.
It is in fact due to the compassion shown by the many nursing staff who took care of her, that the teenager wanted to give back some of that kindness.
Emblematic of her life travelling the full circle, the first year Bachelor of Nursing student has commenced prac in the same hallways at Brisbane’s The Prince Charles Hospital where she was operated on as a baby.
It was in those wards where she was first inspired by the nurses’ empathy, care and kindness.
“I spent a lot of time in hospital. All the nurses were lovely and made my time in hospital much happier,” she said.
“So, when it came time to think about what I wanted to do, I thought about that and wanted to be able to do the same, to be able to give something back to patients like they did for me.”
Elsie was diagnosed by The Prince Charles Hospital paediatric cardiologist Dr Chris Whight in utero at 22 weeks with Tetralogy of Fallot which is a cardiac anomaly that refers to a combination of four related heart defects. She was born blue and has since endured open heart surgery five times, including three procedures in nine months at the age of 14.
While she has experienced more nights in hospital than she can recall, the 19-year-old first year student is for the first time savouring what it feels like work as a nurse.
“I’m really enjoying it. Before I came here I expected it would be quite nerve wracking,” Elsie said.
“Everyone’s so supportive so it’s nowhere near as daunting as I thought. If there’s anything I’m not sure about the nurses always help and that really helps with my confidence.”