A pivotal moment in Joshua Contaoi’s youth inspired him to commit his life – and career – to helping others.
“Growing up, it was in my nature to help people, so I imagined myself in a caring profession, particularly within healthcare. At the age of 18, I began supporting people who shared personal challenges with me – including self-acceptance, identity and belonging, family dynamics, and the passing of loved ones. A critical moment was when someone revealed that they were thinking of ending their life. As I helped them get through this difficult time, it became a life-changing moment for me, too. It reaffirmed my passion to care for people at their most vulnerable.
I pursued the Bachelor of Nursing at VU after high school – it opened my eyes to so many different fields of nursing. My placements were diverse – they included aged care, surgical, perioperative, community general practice, and paediatric nursing. The most fulfilling placement for me was the mental health placement. The placements at VU give you many opportunities and further avenues for nursing practice; and ‘tasters’ for different specialisations.
The high-tech simulation labs at VU also give students the hands-on experience they need to practice with confidence from day one. We experienced routine nursing procedures, realistic simulated emergencies, ethical dilemmas, and client interviewing. The teaching staff are supportive, approachable, and so experienced – their wealth of knowledge contributed to my nursing practice.
My academic and clinical experiences ultimately led to my current graduate position at NorthWestern Mental Health before I even finished my degree, and I am glad to be working with the organisation that granted me my most rewarding placement.
I love helping people get through challenges and reach their goals through the recovery orientated approach.”