Nurse Ianee Plaza becomes ACU’s 100,000th graduate

The kindness a St Vincent’s Hospital nurse showed to her sick mother put Ianee Plaza on a life-changing path that has etched her into the history of Australian Catholic University.

Ms Plaza will take the honour of becoming ACU’s 100,000th graduate when she claims her Bachelor of Nursing degree on Thursday.

It’s a milestone not lost on Ms Plaza who is thrilled to be the 100,000th student to graduate from ACU – a university synonymous with nursing and well-known for its ethical position to make a difference to the most vulnerable.

“It is a great honour and really humbling to be a part of that,” she said.

“Nursing is a very physical, emotional and mentally demanding job but at the end of each shift I feel fulfilled. It’s great to go to work and know that I am making a difference every day.”

Overwhelmed by the compassion and support her mother received as she battled thyroid cancer six years ago, Ms Plaza was inspired to do the same for others.

“The care and support that one particular nurse was giving to my mum planted a seed for me,” she said.

“I knew what my purpose was and I was inspired to follow this path as it is such an honourable and humbling profession. That experience and studying at ACU opened my heart and my mind to nursing.”

Ironically, Ms Plaza now works at St Vincent’s in Melbourne as graduate nurse where she thrives in helping others with their health needs.

“People put their life in your hands and it feels great to be able to help them,” she said. “My desire to help others comes from my very selfless parents who taught us to share our blessings,” she said.

Her story is one of overcoming adversity. As one of four children, her migrant parents encouraged her to follow her dreams.

While at Copperfield College, she secured a place in nursing through ACU’s Early Achievers Program – now known as the Community Achiever Program.

“ACU drew me because it had great opportunities for its nursing students and I liked how I was able to do placements in different areas including ward, theatre and mental health,” she said.

She was later awarded a Scholarship (Emergency Nursing Advocacy Bursary) which helped with financial costs of study.

“At the time my family was really struggling so the scholarship helped me a lot.”

ACU Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Greg Craven, congratulated all graduates on their achievement.

“Congratulations to Ianee Plaza who represents an important milestone for ACU as our 100,000th graduate,” Professor Craven said.

“It is very fitting that as the ACU’s 100,000th graduate Ianee studied a Bachelor of Nursing – a degree that is synonymous with ACU.

“Congratulations to Ianee and all our graduates who have demonstrated the commitment, creativity and talent needed to succeed in their chosen career. We are proud of them and know they will continue to make a positive impact on the world around them in the personal and professional journey.”

Ms Plaza hopes her passion for nursing inspires others to move into the profession.

She joins 4500 ACU students graduating in 18 formal graduation ceremonies across the country as part of the University’s Autumn Graduations. Nursing is the most sought-after course at ACU.


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