Published on 29 February 2012
29 February 2012
A bid to provide greater access to clinical training for students in health-related degrees at the University of the Sunshine Coast is quickly gaining momentum following a $3.43 million grant to USC last year.
The Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering last Wednesday staged the first of a series of workshops with local community health organisations to discuss the Health Workforce Australia (HWA) Program.
HWA is an initiative of the Council of Australian Governments. It will provide USC with $3.43 million over three years to help develop more on-the-job training for students in Occupational Therapy, Paramedic Science, Medical Laboratory Science, Clinical Psychology, Nursing and Midwifery.
The University’s HWA project manager, Bronwyn Doyle, said last week’s workshop was a key step in boosting clinical placement opportunities for USC’s nursing students.
“We currently have about 165 nursing students who will undertake practicum next semester at community health organisations,” she said.
“The challenge for us is to grow our clinical placements in line with the growth that is being experienced across USC’s entire health discipline.
“Each discipline has specific projects in place to do this and is committed to working with key stakeholders.”
Mrs Doyle said fostering relationships with representatives of the six organisations that attended the workshop, including Blue Care, the Sunshine Coast Division of General Practice and Eckersley Medical Centre, would help in meeting future workforce demands.
“The average age of a nurse is approximately 46 and there is going to be a mass exodus of nurses from the workforce in the near future,” she said.
“USC is producing the people who are going to replace them.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for employers to be able to handpick from a pool of future nursing staff.”
In other health-related news, St John’s Ambulance cadets and volunteers have hailed USC’s Paramedic Science facilities as first-class during a CPR training event last night.
USC Paramedic Science Lecturer J amie Peetz said the self-funding charitable organisation, which had recently become active in Caloundra, was still waiting on their own equipment.
“This is the first time we’ve done anything with St John’s Ambulance so it was a great opportunity to showcase the University’s paramedic health facilities while supporting such a valued provider of community services,” he said.
“For the purpose of what they were doing, they were blown away by the equipment we had on hand here.”
— Michelle Widdicombe