13 November 2020: Two new clinical training facilities in Cooma and Bega were officially opened by Senator for New South Wales, Jim Molan AO DSC today, enhancing regional health services as part of the South East NSW Health Collaborative Project.
A joint initiative between the University of Canberra and The Australian National University (ANU), the projectwill increase training capability and research in nursing, midwifery, allied health and medicine with the project making important inroads into the issue of accessibility to healthcare in regional areas.
It also offers amazing potential for collaboration and professional development between health service staff and the universities.
The facilities will provide invaluable opportunities for students and professionals to immerse themselves in a rural healthcare setting. Facilities include simulated learning spaces outfitted with state-of-the-art communications infrastructure, as well as seminar spaces.
“We are really excited to be opening these fabulous facilities,” said Professor Michelle Lincoln, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health at the University of Canberra.
“They will allow UC to extend our reach for student recruitment, university course delivery and support of our health, disability and aged care colleagues into regional NSW.”
The facilities will provide space for students to work when they are on placement in Southern NSW as well as for staff to work on education and research activities.
“UC nursing, midwifery and allied health students will learn with ANU medical students about working in interprofessional teams and person-centred care,” said Professor Lincoln.
“We will also be able to bring local high school students into the facilities so they can experience what careers in health might be like and hopefully be inspired to study health courses.”
The University of Canberra is also opening student accommodation in Cooma and Bega, which will allow students to stay in new, self-contained facilities while they are learning about the delivery of health, disability and aged care services in a regional area.
“There are currently chronic shortages of all types of health professionals in regional and rural areas,” said Professor Lincoln.
“Supporting students to live and learn in regional areas will assist in addressing these shortages. Students who have a positive learning experience and are able to experience first-hand the benefits of rural living are more likely to seek employment in regional and rural areas.”
Professor Russell Gruen, Dean of the ANU College of Health and Medicine, said that the ANU is proud to partner with the University of Canberra, the Southern Local Health District, NSW Health, Canberra Health Services and health professionals in Cooma and Bega to improve health services for the region.
“This partnership, and these new facilities, provide unique opportunities to train future doctors and nurses together, breaking down the barriers between the professions, and between the city and the bush, to ensure the people in Southern NSW receive the high quality healthcare that they deserve,” said Professor Gruen.
“We are committed that distance should not be a barrier to accessing good services.”