Nursing degree for Fijian expat

nursing degree

A chance find leads to a nursing degree

Was it serendipity or clever marketing that played a part in Devika Gaundar’s choice to study for a nursing degree at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ)?

The Fijian resident knew she wanted to further her nursing career with a university degree but she didn’t know how or where to do that until she visited relatives in Brisbane.

Ms Gaundar said she was in Brisbane’s city area when by chance she found a booklet about USQ, a regional university.

“I worked as a nurse in Fiji for seven years so when I found that booklet I wanted to know more about what USQ offered,” Ms Gaundar said.

“My husband’s brother lived in Hervey Bay so I came up and visited the campus and found out about the course with their help.

“Because I already had a nursing diploma, I was exempted eight units from the 24 units and could do just two years to complete a Bachelor of Nursing.

“I was able to get accommodation in Hervey Bay with my husband’s family. His brother is a doctor and helped me a lot while I was studying.

“My husband was working in Papua New Guinea’s airline industry and was able to visit me every three weeks. His hard work and financial support kept me motivated towards my studies.”

Nursing degree after solid grounding

Ms Gaundar said that while her nursing background gave her a solid grounding on which to build, she was initially overwhelmed with USQ’s online study environment.

“Online was totally new to me as I didn’t use it in Fiji during my studies. I had never worked with modern medical equipment there either so I was really keen to learn about the new technologies in Australia.”

Ms Gaundar completed her studies in November and will graduate at USQ Fraser Coast’s ceremony in Maryborough on May 16.

Meanwhile, Ms Gaundar is doing a 12-month graduate program under Metro North Hospital and Health Services with Subacute and Ambulatory Care Services in Redcliffe, Brisbane.

“I really appreciate the support USQ provides to its students not only to adjust to the University environment but also to achieve higher,” she said.

“Orientation proved very informative and everyone was so encouraging.

“The tutors, student representative officers, learning centre and the library played a huge role in my studies.

“My hard work was recognised and I received an award for achieving the highest GPA in my second year.

“I made a lot of friends and I had casual employment with USQ as a Meet-up leader for international or non-English speaking background students.

“While studying, I also did volunteer work at Fair Haven Aged Care Service, which was really exciting and gave me more experience because in Fiji we didn’t have a specialised aged care facility.

“I thank everyone for their support and guidance in helping me achieve one of my goals”.

Where is Hervey Bay?

Hervey Bay was named by Captain James Cook after Augustus Hervey, Britain’s First Lord of the Admiralty.

Located is about 300 kilometres north of Brisbane, Hervey Bay began as a series of small, seaside villages and now boasts a population of about 54,500 people.

Together with Maryborough, Fraser Island and several nearby townships, Hervey Bay is an integral part of the Fraser Coast region.

With humpback whales visiting its waters between April and October every year, Hervey Bay is known as the whale-watching capital of Australia.

To find out more about Hervey Bay, visit


Photo: Devika Gaundar (centre in white) joins local and other international students at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Fraser Coast gala evening in November 2015.


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