How returning to study can help take your career up a notch

The University of Melbourne’s healthcare program is designed to give graduates the confidence and leadership skills to get where they want to be.

The number of people undertaking tertiary education in Australia is growing, and the majority of employment growth over the past five years has been in areas with workers who hold tertiary qualifications. But as the population and jobs market grow, so do education options. Between Australia’s 43 universities and their tens of thousands of courses, having the right qualification is now far more important than having one at all.

Every institute delivers different skills, knowledge and tools to help students excel, but knowing which skills are the most in demand in any field is crucial for graduates to achieve their goals.

“To become a nurse, some key qualities stand out across all nursing specialties,” explains Inês, an ICU nurse and alumna of the University of Melbourne’s Critical and Emergency Care program. “Being proactive, constantly reading, following journal articles, seeking out the latest research and doing evidence-based practice are a big part of good nursing.”

Inês always knew she wanted to be a nurse, and started her career on the general ward. “Before I got into the ICU, ICU nurses were like the superwomen of the hospital,” she says. “That’s what made me go into the ICU in the first place.”

To get there, a more in-depth understanding of a specialised area of nursing was needed, so she decided to go back to university.

“You need to make sure you have a deep knowledge of what you’re doing,” says Inês. “That's why I think all nurses should choose a specialty, choose a calling that best speaks to their skills and interest areas, to help them to be the best professional they can be.”

The University of Melbourne’s healthcare program aims to instil confidence and leadership skills in its graduates to help them get ahead.

Dr Kudzai Kanhutu, a graduate of the Specialist Certificate in Clinical Leadership, says the most valuable thing about her course was the opportunity to focus on building leadership skills, which she says are vital to her future career aspirations. “I have since successfully applied for a new role and felt a lot more confident about articulating exactly what I want from career," she says. "Not only the why but the how.”

Targeting clinicians from all disciplines, the Clinical Leadership program teaches them how to best support colleagues, patients and organisations through developing and implementing change initiatives and promoting treatment quality.

As well as working as an infectious diseases physician, Dr Kanhutu is also a telehealth clinical lead, and Deputy Medical Information Officer at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. In February 2019 she was named a Superstar of STEM, a nationwide award celebrating the top women in science, and in July was the chair of the Health Informatics Conference (HIC), Australia’s largest digital health and health informatics conference.

Since gaining her clinical leadership qualification, Dr Kanhutu is not only kicking goals and making a name for herself, she says her mindset has changed. “I feel a lot more capable of communicating my needs and building my career plan around learning goals and identified areas for growth.”

Explore our health courses