Former patient follows her heart to pursue nursing with Mater


Georgia Fuller was just seven years old when she received a life-changing health diagnosis, which set her on the path to becoming a “wonderful nurse” who patients can “rely on”.

The now-18-year-old was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) – a cardiac condition which affects the heart’s upper chambers by essentially “setting the heart racing”.

While a typical heart beats between 60 and 100 times a minute, people with SVT can experience heart rates of between 150 and 320 beats per minute, with episodes generally becoming more frequent and severe over time.

Ms Fuller – who’s sharing her story as part of Heart Week (May 6-12) – said she suffered her first episode during a jazz dance class in 2011 and was terrified.

“I went home and told my mum that my throat hurt, and I couldn’t eat dinner,” she said.

“Dad later felt my pulse and immediately took me to Emergency – at that point I was frightened, and I felt really fatigued and dizzy.

“At the time of diagnosis, my heart rate was 270 beats per minute.

“They tried multiple ways to trigger the vagal nerves in my neck to reset my heart, but it took two to three hours until they could finally reset it to a normal rhythm.”

After a series of cardiologist appointments and recurring episodes, Ms Fuller and her family made the decision to proceed with a surgical intervention.

“It was a procedure known as a catheter ablation,” Ms Fuller said.

“A camera and ablation device were inserted through the femoral arteries in both of my legs to essentially burn off the extra pathway in my heart that was causing the irregular fast heart rate.

“I had the procedure on 13 March 2013 at Mater Children’s Hospital and was recently cleared at the age of 18 by my original specialist, who saw me throughout my entire 10-year heart journey.”

Ms Fuller, of Hillcrest in Logan, said her experience led to her pursuing a career in nursing.

She enrolled in Mater Education’s Diploma of Nursing at the Mater Health Hub, Springfield, starting in October last year.

“Through my own experiences as a young heart kid I understand what patients are feeling – what causes their anxieties – and I think that helps me to empathise with them on a deeper level,” she said.

“I believe it takes a great soul to be a wonderful nurse, and when you have a great soul and lived experience, you become a nurse that the patient needs and can rely on – that’s what I want to be.”

Caring has always come naturally for Ms Fuller.

“I remember walking through shops and smiling at people I thought were sad or lonely – or I’d wave at older people,” she said.

“So, from a young age, my mum knew I’d go into some sort of caring career.

“Then in grade 2, I had a friend that had many medical complications.

“Being so close to her and following her story really sparked my interested in caring for people and wanting to make them feel happier, even if it was only for a second.”

Ms Fuller says healthcare is a family affair, with her mother – who she cites as her greatest inspiration – and her two older sisters currently working in the field.

Learn more about Mater Education’s 18-month Diploma of Nursing Course, which is fee-free in 2024 for Brisbane, Springfield, and Townsville

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