Chris Wheat – Father, Carer & Scholar

Chris is the kind of man who takes his responsibilities seriously. In 2007 he became the sole carer for his two young daughters, a few years later he quit his long-term job as a fraud investigator to meet their special caring needs. The next three years saw Chris travelling through remote outback areas while schooling and caring for his daughters.

Chris Wheat & AVCAT CEO Joan Hughes

No longer travelling, Chris has dug in to his first year of study in Diploma of Nursing near Darwin in the NT. He chose to study at a Registered Training Organisation because it gives him the opportunity to study face-to-face. The only other equivalent course on offer was only offered as on online course.

Chris has “wanted to be a nurse since high school however life commitments have always prevented me from being able to study.” Receiving a Long Tan Bursary has enabled Chris to pursue his long-held goal and assist him with his nursing studies.

Now in his second year Chris hopes to work in acute care. Drawn to acute care and emergency medicine by the fast pace Chris said, “The rapid change and turnover of patients means you’re regularly faced with new challenges.”

Once qualified Chris also hopes to have the chance to work in remote areas. “It’s a really different place to work, with a lot of challenges, and intense work in often under-resourced environments. There’s a lot of opportunities for small things to make a big difference.” He goes on to explain there a lot of preventable and manageable diseases causing death in remote communities. He said “Rheumatic fever is entirely a disease of poverty”. The disease can be recurring and cause heart failure in children in their early teens. It starts with a sore throat, and if properly managed at that stage does not develop any further. Chris said, “Your immune system targets your heart valves because they resemble the bacteria present in rheumatic fever. It’s a really preventable disease.”

The whole team at AVCAT wishes Chris every success with his studies, and we hope to keep in touch after he graduates.

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