Katie Rae is a born helper, dedicating her life to making a positive impact in the lives of others.
Not satisfied with one degree, the nursing graduate returned to the University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ) to complete a Bachelor of Paramedicine.
Born and raised on a cattle property in Roma before arriving at Toowoomba with her family in 2009, her personal experience with the healthcare system inspired her to pursue a career in health.
“I spent many afternoons after school and weekends with my grandmother (Grace) at the hospital before she passed from bowel cancer,” Katie said.
“Over this time, I became familiar with the role of nurses and how much of an impact they can have on a person and their family.
“I was also able to see a variety of nursing roles throughout her illness, from ICU nurses to community nurses, and this variety was also of interest to me.”
During her nursing degree, Katie completed several clinical placements in different healthcare settings, including the Toowoomba Base Hospital, Roma Hospital and Salem Aged Care at Toowoomba.
But her biggest highlight was participating in the GROW Rural. The Health Workforce Queensland program allowed students to experience clinical practice in rural and remote Queensland communities.
Soon after graduating in 2018, Katie started working as a registered nurse.
She undertook a graduate program in a respiratory and infectious diseases unit which included a high-dependency unit within the ward.
But Katie craved more.
She knew there was more to experience and learn, so in 2020, two years after obtaining her Bachelor of Nursing, the former Concordia Lutheran College student returned to UniSQ to tackle a paramedicine degree and boost her medical skills.
Katie said it was an easy decision to enrol with the University again.
“Coming back to UniSQ was an obvious choice for me,” she said.
“I felt well supported throughout my nursing degree, and the practical experiences prepared me well for when I transitioned to work.
“When I started studying paramedicine, I was thrilled to find we could book practice spaces and use the equipment we use throughout classes and on the road to practice.
“My lecturers know my name, and they could tailor classes to suit the group's needs as classes were small, which I found beneficial.”
Like when she enrolled in nursing, a cancer diagnosis led her to paramedicine.
“My mum (Liz) being diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, was one of the driving factors for me to study paramedicine,” she said.
“When I wasn’t at work, I would spend as much time as possible with her in the hospital.
“It was emotionally taxing, but it also helped me find an area of health care where I could continue my passion for high acuity care outside of a hospital setting.
“I love the challenge of applying lateral thinking to figure out a problem when working in an ambulance.
“Paramedicine is a truly unique environment that is incredibly rewarding.”
With two degrees now under her belt, Katie is looking forward to contributing more to the healthcare industry.
“I find so much joy in bringing comfort to others when needed,” she said.
“There's an undeniable warm fuzzy feeling that often comes from simple assistance or a listening ear.
“Hollywood is quick to glorify all the glitzy skills and lifesaving interventions, which are all imperative. But the satisfaction doesn't have to be born out of those adrenaline-rushing moments.
“Often, it's simply holding a hand or having a brief chat to brighten someone's day.
“I'm grateful to be able to support and guide others throughout their healthcare journey.”
Find out more information about University of Southern Queensland’s Nursing and Allied Health degrees.