COUPLE CELEBRATE GRADUATION
A husband and wife from Shoalwater have twice as many reasons to celebrate after joining more than 2000 graduates at Edith Cowan University graduation ceremonies this month.
Evan and Rezia Neal have both received Bachelor of Science ( Nursing) degrees after a four- year journey, sparked by a career change and a trip across the country. he couple were living in Cairns four years ago when Evan’s work as a welder started to wind down.
“My wife Rezia was working as an enrolled nurse so she inspired me to retrain as a carer in aged care and disability,” Mr Neal said.
A snap decision to house- sit in Perth for six months could have derailed his plan but undeterred, he enrolled at ECU within weeks of arriving in the city.
“The plan was for me to study while Rezia worked as an enrolled nurse but after about 12 months she decided to join me at ECU to become a registered nurse,” Mr Neal said.
With a young son, full- time study and financial constraints, the journey has been far from easy for the couple.
“Balancing our study, family and work commitments all on a very tight income has been very difficult,” Mr Neal said.
For Ms Neal, trying to fit in clinical placements around each other’s already packed schedule was a challenge.
“The placements were hard but they were made much easier by ECU’s clinical placement team, who put us in different rotations so someone was home for our son, Tajh,” she said.
Despite the challenges, the couple looked to each other for support.
“For me, the best part of this journey was that we could support each other whenever we experienced difficulty during study or exams or clinical placements,” Ms Neal said.
Since completing her studies, she has secured a job in aged care and hopes to specialise in renal dialysis before eventually becoming a nurse educator. Mr Neal plans to build his experience in local aged care facilities before hopefully working in regional and remote indigenous aged care.
The couple hope to travel more, particularly to regional and remote Australia where their skills will be in demand.
Evan and Rezia Neal.