Not many people can say the start of their career was part of history.
Nursing student Jessica Marshall, however, will be able to tell her grandchildren she began her career in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 24-year-old TAFE NSW Shellharbour nursing student was in the final months of her Diploma of Nursing earlier this year when she was offered an opportunity to work at the Max Vaccination Hub in Liverpool, then the epicentre of a COVID-19 outbreak.
Ms Marshall said she thrived in the high-pressure environment, and shared the story of her "baptism by fire" at being thrust into the COVID-19 frontline.
"It's definitely been challenging," Ms Marshall said. "But I felt driven to do something to contribute to the fight against COVID. It's been an incredible experience."
It wasn't the only challenge she faced during the course of her studies. Ms Marshall said a series of injuries had an impact on her mental health.
Ms Marshall has now enrolled in a Bachelor of Nursing at University of Charles Sturt University, determined to become an emergency nurse, specialising in mental health.
"I want to help people who are struggling because of the help I received," she said.
Australia is currently in the midst of a nursing shortage, with Health Workforce Australia estimating the nation will need an additional 100,000 nurses by 2025 to meet demand.
TAFE NSW Team Leader of Nursing Andrea Purnell said nurses are in high demand at the moment.
"Virtually all of our Diploma of Nursing students already have a job to go to when they graduate," she said.