Career dream comes true for courageous Madeleine
ATTAINING your dream career always takes hard work but for Lismore's Madeleine Thompson a hefty does of courage and tenacity was also needed.
Ms Thompson, 20, had dreamt of becoming a nurse when she was a child, but faced challenges after being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism/Aspergers when in primary school.
While she struggled with understanding social cues and maintaining friendships throughout her school years, including having to change schools due to bullying, Ms Thompson's focus never wavered.
Now she is thrilled to have reached her goal having recently secured a permanent role as an Assistant in Nursing at St Joseph's Nursing Home in Lismore.
"I'm really enjoying it," Ms Thompson said.
"I'm on nights three or four shifts a week which has taken a bit of adjustment."
Looking back on those challenges, Ms Thompson said although her autism was mild, "the ADHD did affect my ability to focus on schoolwork."
However, after she joined the National Disability Insurance Scheme when it rolled out across the Northern Rivers region in 2017, she's found support by local NDIS partner Social Futures.
"I spent most of my high school years at a school where they gave me a lot of educational support but the therapeutic supports I receive through my NDIS plan have been really good for my social skills," she said.
After finishing school she enrolled in a six-month TAFE course to gain her Health Services Assistant in Aged and Acute Care Certificate while working part-time.
Her course included a week's work placement at St Vincent's Hospital in Lismore and another week at St Joseph's, before graduating in December 2019.
"The aged care manager at St Joseph's asked me at the end of my work placement whether I would consider applying for a job there," she says.
"Now I'm aiming to work in my current role for a year, then study registered nursing at Southern Cross Uni in Lismore while continuing to work part-time."