Inspiring Nursing Graduate Triumphs Over Difficult Past

Tiffany Zimmermann is a firm believer in pursuing academic dreams.

This Saturday (April 24), when the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Master of Mental Health Nursing graduate steps onto the stage to accept her Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Award for the highest grade point average, it will be a triumph over a difficult childhood and troubled teenage years.

“Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the life I have now or the achievements I have made, it blows me away,” she said. “I would never have considered that one day I would have a Bachelor’s Degree, a Master’s Degree and be working towards a third degree.”

Tiffany, 36, a mother-of-two who was born in Toowoomba, describes her past as “somewhat gruesome.  I was raised by a single parent and moved around a lot – 10 moves and nine schools by the time I was 14,” she said.

“I was put in the care of the Department of Child Safety Services at 14 years old, kicked out of home at 16, unemployed and living in a caravan in Miles at 17 and pregnant at 18.”

At 20 years old, Tiffany undertook a natural therapies course and discovered she had a passion for women’s health. “I decided I wanted to be a private midwife and repeat Year 12 so that I could go to uni.”

Since then, Tiffany has undertaken study in pregnancy counselling, completed a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing Science and a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Nursing, and is currently enrolled in a Bachelor’s Degree in Midwifery. “I am also planning to train as a doula later this year,” she said.

Currently residing in Cairns with her husband Rene (a doctor), daughter Ivory and son Raven, Tiffany said her dream was to work as a private midwife, providing community and home-based intrapartum care and birthing services to women and their families.

“I would like to find a way to meld my mental health training with midwifery training,” she said. ‘”I have a particular interest also in perinatal mental health and am part of the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health group in Cairns.  I would like to do a doctorate one day and maybe write a book about hyperemesis gravidarum (a severe form of morning sickness) for Australian women.”

Tiffany will join more than 1100 Sciences and Education students celebrating the conferring of their degrees during USQ’s Autumn Graduation Ceremonies at the Clive Berghofer Recreation Centre this Saturday,  April 24.

The Faculty of Education graduation ceremony will be held at 10am and the Faculty of Science graduation ceremony will get underway from 2.30pm.

Nursing graduate Tiffany Zimmermann has overcome many challenges to achieve her academic dreams.

Submitted by Madeleine Tiller, USQ Media, +61 7 4631 1163, 0400 025 429

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