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SCU Plans New Nurse Education Initiatives for Port Macquarie


16 July 2003
Southern Cross University is in discussions with Port Macquarie Base Hospital on a package of initiatives to assist Port Macquarie students studying nursing at SCU, including incentives to stay in the region after graduating. The package includes a traineeship program, scholarships, work placements and guaranteed jobs on graduation.

SCU initiated the discussions after launching negotiations for establishment of a Coffs Harbour branch of SCU’s School of Nursing and Health Care Practices. The Coffs campus would deliver both undergraduate and postgraduate programs in nursing across the Mid North Coast Region. In the past, students have had to travel to Lismore.

The Executive Dean of Health, Professor Jenny Graham, said today that as part of a comprehensive approach to regional nursing issues, head of SCU’s nursing school, Ms Chris Game, was also negotiating with North Coast Institute of TAFE to establish a bridging program to allow Enrolled Nurses (EN) in Port Macquarie to enter the Bachelor of Nursing and complete the award in less than two years. Assistants in Nursing (AIN) would also be able to undertake a foundation studies program to guarantee a place in the Bachelor of Nursing program.

“Southern Cross University is one of Australia’s leading schools of nursing. We have been working with hospitals and health care agencies from Coffs Harbour to Taree since 1985,” Professor Graham said.

“We have also established successful, on-going relationships with other research and teaching institutions,” she said.

“We work with the University of Sydney to support the Northern Rivers University Department of Rural Health (NRUDRH) which is involved in research, as well as multiprofessional education and practice throughout the North Coast,” she said.

“The Department of Rural Health has already conducted training for clinicians in Port Macquarie and is working with colleagues at SCU to extend the range of programs offered from the Coffs Harbour campus.

“We have also recently formed the Aged Services Learning and Research Collaboration (ASLRC) with the School of Rural Health at the University of New South Wales. This is a major research, education and development project looking at aged services on the Mid North Coast, including Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour,” Professor Graham said.

SCU’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, Enterprise and International, Professor Angela Delves, said that the nursing and health care initiatives announced today reinforced the university’s commitment to the region and to development of higher education opportunities in the region.

“We are a key member of the Hastings Higher Education Consultative Group, and we endorse the work being done by that group on education initiatives generally,” Professor Delves said.

Further Information: Chris Stewart 0418 431484