NEW BEGINNING: USQ Chancellor John Dornbusch, graduate Sheralee Storey and Vice-Chancellor Geraldine Mackenzie on Sheralee's graduation day.
NEW BEGINNING: USQ Chancellor John Dornbusch, graduate Sheralee Storey and Vice-Chancellor Geraldine Mackenzie on Sheralee's graduation day.

Sheralee's lifelong nursing dream a reality at 58

SHERALEE Storey had goosebumps when she put on her cap and gown and prepared to join some 600 others in graduating from the University of Southern Queensland last month.

The Dalby grandmother of seven, at 58, had achieved her life's ambition to become a qualified nurse.

"I still didn't feel it was real until then," Sheralee said.

"Even though I knew I'd passed everything, I still couldn't believe it - I couldn't throw away any of my notes because I thought, 'what if they've got it wrong?'"

They hadn't.

It had taken Sheralee 4.5 years and a lot of hard work and dedication to complete the three-year course while still working part-time, but she had made it.

Sheralee said she had wanted to be a nurse since she was a child, but when she applied for nursing after finishing Year 10, she was turned down as too young.

She was 16 and you had to be 17. By 17 she had her first child with high school sweetheart Larry Storey and marriage, family (including another two kids) and life in general meant nursing was put on the backburner.

Having cleaned houses, done night fill and been extremely successful in a party plan business, repeatedly earning the title of Australia's top salesperson, but basically working around the family's needs, Sheralee decided it was time for a change.

After completing her Assistant in Nursing certificate and working for some time in aged care, Sheralee decided to take the next step and do her nursing degree.

"I decided it was my turn to do what I wanted to do now, and it didn't matter what anybody said," Sheralee said.

And, despite feeling intimidated at going back to study after such a long period, nothing was going to stop her - not even smashing into a kangaroo during her first week of placement at Cunnamulla.

Sheralee's also lost 50kg during her nursing journey, deciding to have gastric sleeve surgery because it was "too hard to carry around all that weight" while being on your feet nursing all day.

"I feel great. I wish I'd done it 10 years earlier," Sheralee said of the surgery.

But it's nursing which has really changed her life and the lives of others.

Carrying out care plans at Cunnamulla, Sheralee said she had helped people be diagnosed for diabetes and kidney problems, and get the treatment they needed.

She's still doing care plans four days a week at Western Downs General Practice in Dalby and doing hands-on nursing each Friday.

"It's very satisfying," Sheralee said.

"If it's a passion, and you want to do it, do it.

"You are never too old to study and certainly never too old to do what you want to do."

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