Hepsibah “Hepsi” Sharmil is one among the most highly qualified nurses in India. But she is not a woman to rest on past qualifications.
It started with a Bachelor in Nursing at Madurai Sacred Heart Nursing College (for which she earnt top honours), followed by a Postgraduate Diploma in Hospital Administration, a Masters in Nursing in Child Health and also work as an Associate Professor in Pediatric Nursing at Meenakshi University in Chennai.
Keen to continue her quest for nursing knowledge, Hepsi looked overseas … and found South Australia.
“I wanted to explore nursing in its global pursuit,” she says.
“Via the internet I found that Adelaide is one of the best places to live, and to increase my knowledge of nursing I chose the University of South Australia.”
It was a career move she will never forget. “Every single day on the university campus was a memorable day and I treasure it,” she says. “My favorite places were the library, computer pool and the student campus – the library and computer pool were open around the clock and for safety, uni transportation was available all through the night. All these experiences at Adelaide were like a dream come true to me.
“I had great opportunity to mingle and be friends with students from different parts of the world. Faculty staff were so approachable – though the numbers of students were enormous they knew each of us by name.”
Not surprising given her considerable qualifications, Hepsi was offered five nursing jobs across Australia when she completed the Australian Registered Nurses Training Program at the University of South Australia.
She chose the emergency department at Adelaide’s Modbury Hospital.
“What I love about emergency nursing is that it is such a hands-on professional nursing experience, even in crisis and disaster,” she says. “Teaching nursing is also my passion, so I used to teach and guide graduate nurses posted in the emergency department.”
Hepsi had been offered a prestigious PhD scholarship with the University of Adelaide when family circumstances forced a move back home to India.
But her Adelaide studies proved a major stepping stone in her career.
On returning to Chennai, she was first appointed Professor with the HOD Pediatric Nursing Department at Meenakshi College of Nursing and within a year became Vice Principal at MMM College of Nursing (a unit of the world-renowned Madras Medical Mission).
And still she studies – now working on an MBA in Health Service Management at Chennai’s Anna University.
“I always had a deep desire to help people in need and knew that nursing was the best way for me to fulfill that desire. I absolutely love the patient contact,” she says.
“But nursing is not only about personal interaction – it is also about endless learning and keeping up with new information and skills. I am always challenged because there is an unlimited amount of information!
“Anyone interested in challenging work – where you never stop learning – should absolutely consider nursing.”