15 April 2014
New scholarships are helping University of the Sunshine Coast Nursing Science students gain experience working in rural and remote areas across Australia.
A total of $10,000, provided by Health Workforce Australia (HWA) as an Australian Government initiative in 2013 enabled six USC students to take advantage of clinical nursing placements from Walwa (Victoria) to Mount Gambier (South Australia) and Tully (Queensland).
Ashleigh Coombs, of Mountain Creek, spent two weeks working with Blue Care Innisfail, providing community services for patients in their homes.
She said the placement taught her the value and rewards of helping people in different environments and she would consider working in a remote area after finishing her USC degree.
“Nurses can face many challenges in rural areas but this allows for growth, development and experience,” Ashleigh said.
HWA Projects Manager at USC Bronwyn Doyle said students were placed in a variety of workplace roles at rural hospitals and community nursing services.
USC Occupational Therapy students also used the recent HWA funding to expand their rural and remote clinical experience.
“HWA clinical training funding is all to do with securing more clinical placement opportunities for our health professional programs, including student nurses, midwives, paramedics, occupational therapists and medical laboratory science technicians,” she said.
“One of the barriers to students accessing rural and remote placements is the expense, so this funding aims to remove that. In the long-term, the idea is that these placements will attract people back to work in the remote areas to help solve the workforce shortages.”
Ms Doyle said further HWA scholarships were available this year for USC Nursing Science students. Interested students can contact Clinical Experience Coordinators for more details.
— Julie Schomberg