A state-of-the art clinical nursing laboratory, a joint project of Southern Cross University and North Coast Institute of TAFE, will be officially opened in Coffs Harbour on Monday July 31, 2006.
The building will be opened by the Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, Tony Abbott and the NSW Parliamentary Secretary for the Education and Training Mr Paul Mcleay. Mr Mcleay is representing the NSW Minister for Education and Training Carmel Tebbutt.
The $1.2 million purpose-built laboratory at the Coffs Harbour Education Campus includes two, four-bed simulated wards.
Southern Cross University contributed $850,000 towards the project from funding allocated under the Commonwealth Grants Scheme.
The Commonwealth Grants Scheme is the Australian Government’s main contribution to the cost of delivering Commonwealth supported places, including general capital works.
The North Coast Institute of TAFE contributed $350,000 from the New South Wales Government’s TAFE Minor Works Program.
Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker and Southern Cross University Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Clark welcomed the opening of the new facility.
Professor Clark said the facility would allow the ongoing development of the nursing program, which was introduced at the Coffs Harbour campus in 2004.
“Nursing has been identified as one of the national priority areas in education and we have had a strong demand for the program since its introduction. The students who graduate from Coffs Harbour will play a key role in addressing the national shortage of skilled nurses,” Professor Clark said.
“The completion of this facility is a tribute to the strong relationships we have with our partners at the campus - North Coast Institute of TAFE and the Coffs Harbour Senior College.
“This co-operative approach has allowed us to add significantly to the excellent education facilities on this campus, which cater for the needs of students throughout the Mid North Coast region and beyond.”
Mr Hartsuyker said the new facility reflected the Australian Government’s commitment to educating more nurses in regional areas.
“Nurses who are able to study in regional areas are more likely to practice in regional areas and the Australian Government remains focussed on increasing nurse training places at regional university campuses,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“In July 2004, I announced an additional 164 nursing places for Southern Cross University and the opening of this facility complements the ongoing investment in training nurses on the North Coast.
“This is also a further example of education continuing to be one of our region’s major growth sectors.
“That growth is creating extra options for local students and delivering tremendous outcomes for families and communities,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
Executive Dean of Health and Applied Science Professor Jenny Graham said the facilities allowed nursing students to gain practical experience in an environment that mirrored actual clinical practice.
The laboratory includes electronic mannequins, electrocardiograph (ECG), and other diagnostic equipment such as sphygmomanometers, electronic thermometers, suction, lifters and other nursing equipment.
“This comprehensive facility, combined with clinical placements in hospitals and health care facilities throughout the region, will give our students the best possible training in clinical skills,” Professor Graham said.