A Rwandan refugee who couldn’t read or write is now a registered nurse whose responses to a government survey helped rank his undergraduate course the best in Australia.
Roje Ndayambaje developed good study habits with lecturers and support staff in Avondale University College’s School of Nursing that are now helping as he completes a second degree with clinical honours. “I’m out on my own now, but I’m doing OK.”
He learned to ask for help, particularly with maths and science. Roje never studied the subjects. Raised in a camp in Uganda, he cared for goats while other children went to school. Then during high school, he missed classes to learn English. He could count only in Kinyarwanda. “I had no idea what was going on. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, it didn’t make any sense.”
So, he spoke to his lecturers who regularly gave up their time to explain basic concepts. Laurel Raethel, then a member of the support staff and a trained teacher, showed him new ways to study. “Roje was determined to get the most out of his learning experiences. He sought support when necessary and was open to learning from situations that set him back. His persistence saw him realise his goal.”
Roje and almost 70 of his classmates completed a Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) survey about graduate outcomes. Their responses, released as a report in November, ranked Avondale’s Bachelor of Nursing as number one for overall satisfaction, good teaching and generic skills compared to the 33 other universities and higher education providers offering a similar course.
Results from the QILT survey about student experience, released this month, are just as impressive. The more than 330 students enrolled in the course at the time also ranked it as the best in Australia across all of the indicators (overall quality, teaching quality, learner engagement, learning resources, student support and skills development).
While the Bachelor of Nursing has ranked highly in previous years, Head of School Tamera Gosling describes the 2020 results as significant because they “demonstrate how well we worked together to provide a quality degree in a pandemic.” She is proud of the dedication and commitment of all the staff members, “not only in preparing students for their career but also in demonstrating wholistic care during their degree. Our team went above and beyond to enable study to continue and to ensure graduation would occur.”
The QILT data is “robust,” says acting Quality Assurance Manager Dr Gwen Wilkinson. “It’s funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment, collected from four surveys, and covers the full life cycle of students from enrolment through to graduation and employment.”
Roje graduated in 2019 and is now working at a regional New South Wales hospital. He remains thankful for the personal care he experienced at Avondale. “With small classes and lecturers who are always happy to spend one-on-one time with you, the nursing course is one of the best in Australia.”
Loma Linda University (California, US) school of nursing faculty and staff sent a congratulatory video to Avondale for their achievement.
To find out more about studying nursing at Avondale click here.