Compass set for nursing Down Under
With careers in South Africa, China, Vietnam and Thailand already under his belt, James Bruce of Hervey Bay has set his vocation compass towards nursing Down Under.
The 46-year-old former military man, salesman, restaurateur and English teacher is starting the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Bachelor of Nursing program with plans to work in aged care.
Mr Bruce was among the 100 new students who attended the first day of Semester 2 Orientation in Hervey Bay on 13 July 2015.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, at 20 years of age Mr Bruce was conscripted into the South African Defence Force and served with the Navy in ocean mine warfare.
“Back then we had to do national service. I’ve got no regrets. You make good friends and it gives you time to decide what it is you want to do with your future,” Mr Bruce said.
“I ended up going to university but not enjoying what I was doing so went into the workforce as a sales representative with Panasonic.
“In 1995 I moved to Hong Kong which was still a British colony.
“My father was British so I had an English passport and was able to go straight to Hong Kong where I got a job with a South African company at what was then the new airport. We built the runways and aprons in 1996 and ’97.
“After that, I backpacked around Australia but I didn’t actually live here.
“In 2000 I started teaching English in Hong Kong. I was working for a language training centre and they asked me to go to Beijing because they were moving into the mainland Chinese market and wanted to open a school.
“I moved to Beijing, set up the new school and lived there for three years before moving to Thailand where I continued teaching in government secondary schools.
“The past 10 years I’ve been living in Vietnam where I owned and operated two restaurants, not at the same time.
“In Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) I opened a bar and grill in 2009. Two years later, with an Italian partner, I opened a wine and pizza restaurant that ran for another two years.
“It was a very competitive market with a lot of multi-national companies coming into Ho Chi Minh City making business very difficult for us.
“So I went back into teaching for three years and came to Australia last August.”
Thoughts turn to nursing Down Under
Mr Bruce said he had been thinking about making another career change when he met an Australian friend who now lives in Hervey Bay.
“His wife had completed an aged care certificate and suggested I move here and do the same course because the health industry was growing.
“My mother was born in Bathurst so I’ve always had an Australian passport. In August 2014, I came out here and did the Aged Care Certificate III.
“So that’s how I ended up here at USQ Fraser Coast.”
Where is Hervey Bay?
Hervey Bay is located about 300 kilometres north of Brisbane.
It 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.