First published 10 February 2012
Fifteen nursing students will start their studies on Monday (13 February), as the first cohort in the new degree being offered in Mackay.
James Cook University, in partnership with the Mater Hospital in Mackay, have launched a three-year Bachelor of Nursing Science (Pre-Registration) in the city.
Associate Professor Lee Stewart, Head of the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition, said JCU was aiming to fill the gap in healthcare services in regional, rural and remote locations.
“JCU’s nursing program is oriented towards educating health professionals for a fast-paced, rapidly changing health care system,” she said.
“This world-class degree will develop a local workforce in the fast-growing Mackay region to serve local healthcare needs.”
Associate Professor Stewart said nurses were the lifeblood of any community, providing physical, mental and emotional care to people throughout their lives.
“Nurses are at the heart of social health and wellbeing of communities, particularly in regional areas of Australia.”
“Our graduates have a specialist understanding of nursing in regional, rural and remote areas, and are highly sought after in many areas of regional Queensland and beyond.”
Mater Mackay Hospital Executive Officer John Nugent said the initiative was unique in Queensland.
“It is the first time a University will be offering the Bachelor of Nursing Science in partnership with a health facility with students located on site at a health facility throughout their program,” he said.
“The proposal is the culmination of a shared vision that students require not only a quality education but also a feeling of belonging to a health care organisation.
“Students will receive lectures, tutorials, clinical simulation and professional experience placements at the Mater Hospital, and we look forward to contributing to their experience to become valuable members of our workforce.”
Mr Nugent said the Mater would be constructing an Education Precinct in a partnership with JCU to support the initiative.
“A new 2 storey building will be constructed to provide tutorial and study facilities to support the increased clinical training of medical, nursing and allied health students at the Mater. The new building is expected to be completed by October this year.”
Mackay-based JCU Nursing lecturer Alan Ramsay said he was looking forward to welcoming the very first intake of students next week.
Mr Ramsay said there had been considerable interest in the course, particularly within the greater Mackay region.
“It’s great to see such an interest, particularly as many graduates will be locals and may choose to stay in the region, which will help address the historical shortage of nurses in this part of Queensland.”
Mr Ramsay said he would be aided by two clinical educators at the hospital to deliver the nursing training and education.
The students will be based at the hospital for at least the first Semester of their studies before gaining experience at various other locations.
Associate Professor Stewart will be in Mackay on Monday, along with Karen Wade, the Director of Nursing at the Mater, to officially welcome the new students.
The event is one of the first activities on the JCU Mackay Orientation Week program.
Date: Monday, 13 February, 2012
Time: from 9am
Location: Mater Misericordiae Hospital Mackay, 76 Willetts Rd
Contact details for interviews/photos:
Associate Professor Lee Stewart 0458 406 517
Mr John Nugent: 07 4965 5425
Mr Alan Ramsay: 0415 622 169
JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175.