News and Events
November 23, 2022

From policewoman to nurse

In her free time, Ricarda Steiner is drawn to difficult walls, high peaks and steep descents. Professionally, she decided to make a new start a few years ago: After a successful career with the police, she decided to study Health & Nursing at the FH Salzburg.

©Michael Grössinger Photography

Ricarda Steiner is one of those courageous people. Not only because she loves to be in the mountains and is not afraid of difficult routes and steep gullies. She also has the courage to question herself time and again and to steer her life in new directions. Like five years ago, when she began her Bachelor's degree in Health & Nursing at the FH Salzburg. At that time, the 29-year-old, who grew up on a mountain farm in Styria, had already been in police service for ten years. "I really enjoyed the work, I was even definitely placed and could have stayed until I retired," Ricarda Steiner says.

But somehow that was too little for her as a perspective on life. And so she left the comfort zone and became a student. "Today I am glad that I had the courage to do so," says Steiner:

"The education broadened my horizons much more than I ever thought."

In the meantime, the 34-year-old works as a nurse on the ward of the UK of cardiac surgery at the University Hospital of Salzburg and, in addition, as a rules and journal club officer, makes sure that current research results are incorporated into everyday nursing care. For the past semester, Steiner has also been studying for a master's degree in nursing science at the PMU/Institute for Nursing Science and Practice. She has reduced her working hours somewhat so that she can balance her job and her free time. Nevertheless, it is very demanding to study part-time.

Police work and nursing have a lot in common, says Steiner. Much of what she learned in her former profession benefits her now, she says. You have to be stress-resistant, take responsibility, keep a cool head in dangerous situations and work in a team. Studying has changed her perspective. She has learned not to reduce the patients to their illness, but to see them holistically and thus also to use their own resources. Looking for new perspectives and critically questioning what already exists is also something she has consolidated during her studies. The scientific orientation of the study programme helps her every day in her nursing work, the graduate says.

One of the most formative experiences was an internship abroad in Tanzania. She was deeply impressed by how little resources are used to provide good care in this African country - and it made her realise how fortunate we are in Austria.

When she finished her Bachelor's degree in the summer of 2020, Ricarda Steiner allowed herself some time off. For two months she travelled by bus to climb the mountains with her partner, whom she recently married. As a reward for the courage she had to make a new start in her career.