From baking bread to saving lives

Deakin news
28 February 2017

Nathan Bowman has gone from baking bread to saving lives, and he couldn’t be happier.

For fifteen years, Nathan helped to feed people as a Camperdown baker and pastry cook…now he saves lives as a nurse in Melbourne.

The turnaround has been life-changing for Nathan who completed his Bachelor of Nursing at the Deakin University Warrnambool Campus from 2013-15.

He now works in the acute surgical work at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne but he sometimes saves lives before even reaching the nurses’ station.

During his graduation year placement, Nathan received a nursing service excellence in patient care award for his quick action in saving a man who collapsed while entering the hospital.

“I got to work early about 6 o’clock in the morning and I was walking through the corridor and found the guy was face-down near the lifts,” Nathan said.

“There was no-one else around. He’d had a cardiac arrest so I started doing CPR and called out for help.”

A worker at a nearby coffee shop heard the alarm and organised a rescue team while Nathan continued CPR.

After the man, who had been going to hospital for dialysis treatment, was rushed to the intensive care unit, Nathan continued on to his job without fuss.

“It didn’t really sink in at the time till I got the call from the registrar saying that if I hadn’t been there and helped, this guy might have died. He just said thanks, you saved his life.”

The man recovered and Nathan thanks good timing and his good training for his successful intervention.

“Warrnambool prepared me well,” he said.

The course has given Nathan, 41, the opportunity to `think young’ and find a job he loves.

“My unit manager is 26 and it’s great working with young people,” he said. “They’re still going out on the town and talking about buying houses and I really enjoy it.”

He’s pleased he’s taking the initiative to follow his dream, proving it’s never too late.

“I’d been a baker and pastry cook for about 15 years before working for four years as a personal care worker at Lyndoch Living,” he said.

“I really enjoyed that and wanted to take it to the next step and to do that I needed a university degree. I had one child and another on the way at the time but I thought I’d have a go at it. I didn’t even know how to turn on a computer when I went to Deakin but it all worked out perfectly.”

Nathan was shortlisted for another award at the Alfred for outstanding achievement in nursing and was also honoured with awards during his course. He’s also been invited to join a graduate nursing program review board where he hopes to emphasise the importance of training in country areas.

Nathan has moved to Melbourne with his wife Jai and children Jesse and Airlie and has plans for more study with post graduate training in critical care.

“It’s very fast paced but I enjoy it.”

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