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Global pandemic doesn’t stop Cabrini graduates from finishing final year


Story by Holly McKay

From the moment he set foot inside this hospital, Bernard Pelpola knew there was something special about Cabrini.

Just a few months later, while working as an enrolled nurse in aged care and studying his Bachelor of Nursing, Bernard decided to apply for our Transition to Professional Practice (Graduate) Program, and was successful.

“One of my closest friends had been diagnosed with cancer and was being treated at Cabrini,” Bernard said.

“At the time she had two young children and no one to watch them during treatment so I would meet her at the hospital to help. I felt something while I was there, I wanted to work there. There was just something special about Cabrini.”

The 27-year-old said most of his placements were in orthopaedics and paediatrics and although he had anticipated his preference would be paediatrics, the reality was different.

“After my rotation I realised I was a bit sensitive to paediatrics, it can be hard,” he said.

Not long after he worked in acute cardiac services, and it was there he found his passion.

“I found it so interesting – it’s all about improving ourselves and it’s really fast-paced,” Bernard said.

“After doing that rotation I thought this (cardiac) was what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Bernard, who is originally from Sri Lanka, said while undergoing his graduate studies during a global pandemic wasn’t ideal, the team at Cabrini made sure every student felt connected and was able to complete their tasks – whether on site or remotely.

“We were given a very thorough orientation into Cabrini, but participating in the program through COVID-19 pandemic was a bit different,” he said.

“We had study days online instead of in person, but they put in so much effort and kept in touch with us the whole time.”

Bernard was one of 62 successful graduates in 2020, and his advice to this year’s intake is simple: “Be confident, ask questions and make friends.”

“It’s not about outsmarting people, it’s about learning and developing friendships along the way. Everyone is there to help you, they are a real team.”

Bernard is now permanently part of Cabrini’s acute cardiac services team, and we’re thrilled to have him.

For more information on our Transition to Professional Practice (Graduate) Program, click *here*[].