Soon-to-be nursing graduate Jordan Bate knows a great deal more than textbooks can teach him about caring for patients. In a sense, he’s been training for the role most of his young life.
Jordan was only a few days old when doctors diagnosed him with Alagille Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects multiple organs.
The condition which affects his liver, heart, lungs and causes brittle bones, also left him feeling sick most days and in hospital too often to count. Although unable to do a lot of normal childhood things like playing sport, he found musical theatre and dance was a place where he could just feel normal or at least act like it, for a while.
By 14, Jordan’s health was deteriorating, and he was listed for liver transplant surgery. Early one morning halfway through his senior year of schooling he finally received “the call’’ that was to change his life forever. He was 16.
The Princess Alexandra Hospital holds a special place in Jordan’s heart. It is not only where he received the gift of life in the form of a donated liver, but also where he truly came to appreciate why nursing is a calling rather than just a job.
“Up until that time, I was thinking I’d pursue a career in teaching, perhaps as a performing arts teacher,” Jordan said.
“But then things got really rough. I’d just been given the best gift of my life (my transplant) and I didn’t really think I was going to live much longer, to be honest. It was the nurses who really got me through.”
Around a week after Jordan’s liver transplant, he suffered a rare complication which resulted in a herniated bowel. Doctors were forced to remove a full metre of his bowel and recovery was not guaranteed. By the time he reached his 17th birthday, Jordan was still in hospital, looking skeletal (around 36kgs), and battling depression.
“That’s when it really got to me how much those nurses brought to their profession. I woke up that morning and the room had been completely decorated for my birthday and they were just so caring, so giving. They’ll probably never know what this meant to me at the time.”
Looking back, Jordan says that’s when he decided he wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives through Nursing too. Now completing his final units of his Bachelor of Nursing through Griffith University, he says he is looking forward to supporting others on their own journey of healing as a Nurse on the ward, and in his continuing capacity as a Community Champion for DonateLife Queensland.
“DonateLife Queensland is currently raising awareness of the need for organ donations as part of DonateLife Week from Sunday 26 July to Sunday 2 August,” Jordan said.
“You can help people like me in urgent need of organ donations by letting your family know you want to save lives as an organ or tissue donor and registering online at www.donatelife.gov.au.”