Be Your Best: support and acceptance

Saturday, April 06, 2024 be your best
Be Your Best: support and acceptance
Carl's curiosity paid off and Bendigo Health turned out to be “the best place to work”.

At first, the Adult Acute inpatient facility in Bendigo Health’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Service was the last place Carl Tongco could envision himself.

But his curiosity paid off and it turned out to be “the best place to work”.

“I want to be in a dynamic and challenging environment. And when I was offered to give this a try, I immediately responded, why not?"

CarI’s career path is unique as he started off his working life in a completely different industry.

“I grew up in the Philippines and I studied Bachelor of Science in Agriculture,” he said.

“After Uni, I had a decade of experience as a salesman in an agriculture company where I believe I gained confidence in listening and helping people achieve their business goals.”

After migrating to Australia, Carl learned about Bendigo TAFE's Diploma of Nursing.

“I decided I would like to care and look after people. And when I was a student at Bendigo TAFE, I began to think of working as a nurse for Bendigo Health as my new dream job,” said Carl.

“In Mental Health, you have to be a good listener. You don’t need a degree to listen to a person’s story and listen carefully.”

Carl said he felt empowered by the support his team provided after he realised working in mental health was different to studying it.

“At first, when taking bloods, or finding something on the ward I needed for a patient, I had zero confidence,” he said.

“But through support, I gained that confidence and now I believe it’s the best area of nursing.

“Any way they need to be helped, I can work. And any time I need some help, someone will come and help me.”

For Carl, his best experiences as a nurse have been the recognition he’s received from patients, from colleagues “and even in my own community when they learn I am a nurse.”

“It’s fulfilling. I’m looking after someone, caring for an individual who is distressed, who is vulnerable, and I’m there for them," he said.

“Every shift I show up and I feel happy.”

Carl said he enjoyed the work culture within his adult unit team due to the diversity in backgrounds and nationalities.

I attended Graduate Year Enrolled Nurse rotation in Adult Acute Unit in 2019 where I received support and acceptance from everyone,” he said.

“I have colleagues, like me, who came from Philippines, South Korea, India, from Canada.

“With different people, different stories to share and different support they can offer, it can be a good support for a patient.

“It can be a topic of conversation and it’s great to see different colleagues from different places working together under one roof.”

Carl is now working in AAU while finishing his Bachelor of Nursing studies at La Trobe University.

“I’m looking forward to learning more from different rotations of Mental Health during my graduate year this year,” he said.

 “I enjoy living in Bendigo – there are different places to go to for coffee and to eat on my day off, you can walk around as everything is just a few blocks away, and Bendigo Health is in the middle so 360 degrees around it you can go in any direction. Bendigo is a nice place, that’s why I’m here.”

Learn more about nursing pathways at Bendigo Health: Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Programs

To find out more about Carl’s experience with LaTrobe Rural Health School here: