Former soldier goes from war zone to study room
FORMER British Army soldier T J Kroezen has gone from hanging out of helicopters in Afghanistan to sitting in a USC Fraser Coast lecture room, studying to become a nurse.
The Bachelor of Nursing Science student said after a "severe life-changing injury on duty” in 2015, he had to re-think what he was able to do, and what he wanted to do.
The South-African born former soldier enrolled mid-year as an international student at the Fraser Coast campus.
"Nursing was the option that would give me job and life satisfaction,” Mr Kroezen said.
"In both the army and nursing, you work to make sure that somebody's loved one goes home to them, and I saw this new career as giving something back to my friends who didn't make it out.”
Despite the challenges he faced in daily combat, the former weapons operator said he was initially nervous about starting his degree.
"I didn't know what the cohort would be like, if I was going to fit in, or how I would be getting my head back in the books again,” he said.
"I need not have worried as I found others were in the same situation. They had made life-changing career decisions as well, and I mean if I can do it, anyone can do it.”
Mr Kroezen, whose mother is a nurse, is interested in working in emergency medicine when he graduates and believes his army experience suits the fast-paced environment.
"In combat, you never knew what was going to happen from one minute to the next,” he said.
"It is like the hospital ED, where you never know what is going to come through the door and you have to always be prepared to help patients and your colleagues as well.”
Now in the second year of his degree and working as a ward assistant at Hervey Bay Hospital's Emergency Department, the 38-year-old said he was enjoying his study experience at USC.
"USC Fraser Coast is a very good campus,” he said.
"It is smaller, which is beneficial because the lecturers have more time to spend with students, and the style of how they present the program is in-depth and student-focused.”
FOR more information about the University of the Sunshine Coast, go to www.usc.edu.au.