HATS OFF: Young couple’s shared graduation joy
THEY enrolled in the same degree, found jobs at the same hospital and now have graduated together.
Andrew and Kirsten Beer have taken their ‘til death do us part marital vows more seriously than most couples.
The Ipswich pair celebrated their graduation on Wednesday, after completing nursing degrees during the past four years.
“This was a huge achievement for us,” Kirsten said.
Meeting in 2012 and marrying three years later, the couple enrolled in a bachelor of nursing at the University of Southern Queensland.
Although they began their studies at the same time, different pathways led them to university.
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In early 2016, Andrew, who worked in the Army, was deployed to Fiji to help with recovery efforts following Cyclone Winston.
“I did some work in a hospital and when I got back I told Kirsten how much I enjoyed it and wanted to study something in the medical field like nursing,” Andrew said.
“Kirsten had also been interested in studying nursing for a while so we both decide to do it together.”
Taking the same subjects and classes meant Andrew and Kirsten were able to lean on each other for support and work together to understand the trickiest parts of their lessons.
“We enjoyed studying together,” Andrew said.
“If one of us was struggling in a particular area or couldn’t grasp a concept, we would work it out together. It was like having a permanent study mate living with you.
“I don’t think we could have done as well as we did without the other one.”
Part-way through their degrees, the pair decided to start a family but the arrival of baby Audrey did not hinder the couple’s studies.
A medical condition meant Audrey was born five weeks premature.
“The midwives threw it on us unexpectedly, saying ‘you will be having your baby today’ and I remember the first thing I said was ‘but I have exams coming up’,” Kirsten said.
“I was thinking about dropping the exams but I felt I had done enough studying so I decided to discharge myself and drove straight from the hospital to the exam room.”
The duo landed jobs at Ipswich Hospital and, though they work in separate departments, they’re pretty close.
“We actually work across the hall from each other,” Kirsten said.
“We joke that Andrew should be an anaesthetic nurse so we could work in theatre together, but I think we need some distance between us.”
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