“Being a nurse is a dream come true”, says Carolyn Kiromat Australia Awards PNG alumna.

“My village is located in a remote area where most of my relatives lost their life along the way when seeking medical assistance.” Carolyn recalls seeing patients in line at the hospital for two or three hours before being attended to when she visited in her high school years. This inspired her to become a nurse, believing she could help to shorten the queues and provide health care to rural areas in need. “This motivated me to be who I am today,” she states.

Carolyn graduated from Lae School of Nursing in 2021 and has been working in the surgical section at Lorengau General Hospital since February 2022. “From this one year of work, I have many memorable experiences with my patients and their families, providing care and support during some of the most challenging times in their life. My most memorable experience comes from a patient’s recovery from a serious illness. This made me feel honoured to be able to make a difference in the life of my patient.”

Seeing patients recover “from being bedridden to taking their first shaky step” is the most rewarding part of Carolyn’s role. “A simple thank you and smile from a patient gives me the strength and energy to continue doing what I love most. Knowing that we have given our best in taking care of our patients fills us with a sense of pride and fulfillment.”

“As a nurse, I’m proud of the ability we have to make a positive difference in the lives of patients, whether that means helping a patient recover from illness or injury, providing comfort and support during difficult times or simply being there to listen and offer advice.” She sees her role wholistically: “A nurse is more than a caregiver, a nurse is an advocator, an educator and a bridge between the doctor, patient and the family members.”

The Australia Awards scholarship means a lot to Carolyn and her family. “I’m grateful to have had this scholarship as it really means more to me than anything.” She believes it was a great opportunity and a privilege, having watched her brothers struggle to get a good education. Her advice to others considering a scholarship is: “Apply for it! Never look down on yourself, everyone will get a chance and you might be one of the many.”

In the future, Carolyn wants to be an acute care nurse working in an Intensive Care Unit and providing care for patients in a critical condition. She believes being a general nurse is her first step and plans to apply for further studies after gaining experience.

For her country, Carolyn would like to see improvements to healthcare infrastructure, addressing the shortage of health workers, particularly in rural areas, with better training and incentives to work remotely.