Distance no barrier for 'next-gen' nurses
Published on 07 September, 2012
Along with other CQUniversity Nursing students enrolled via distance education, Narangba's Tanya de Silva has an enormous responsibility ahead.
With a recent Health Workforce Australia report projecting a shortfall of around 110,000 nurses in the nation's hospitals, nursing homes and mental health facilities by 2025, this next generation of healthcare workers will be critical to the long-term future of Australia's health system.
CQUniversity Nursing student Tanya de Silva is confident Australia's healthcare future is in safe handsHowever, after meeting a bunch of Bachelor of Nursing students at a two-day Noosa Campus residential school recently, Ms de Silva is certain they are up to the challenge.
"I met some students who are single parents with three or four children and the self-motivation they have to push themselves along is just amazing," the high distinction student and single mother said.
"Each person is different but I think most of us respond well to the discipline of self-paced learning and just get on with it.
"A lot of us are mature age students with life-skills that we can bring to our studies and then in our professional lives as well.
"We are certainly helped by the high standard of support and resources CQUniversity provides - our lecturers are always willing to help and we support each other through online forums and social media."
CQUniversity lecturer Nicholas Ralph, who recently won the 2012 Australian Nurse of the Year award for innovation, was also optimistic about nursing standards over the next decade.
"Because nursing is such a hands-on, personal profession, students are required to come to campus for these short residential schools - which also gives us a chance to meet them face-to-face," Mr Ralph said.
"I've been very impressed - what some of our external students have to go through to balance their study and personal and working lives, there's no doubt they are headed towards great things.
"The feedback from lecturers is astonishing - students always seem to leave us with a determined, professional attitude and a renewed energy.
"They are the future unsung heroes in our communities and I think this sort of professionalism will help us rise above the looming nursing shortage and meet the challenges of the future."
Mr Ralph said at CQUniversity it was a priority for the external nursing program, as well as the new internal program at Noosa, to train students in their own communities.
"Nurses educated in their local area are more likely to work there, which provides a big boost to local communities - something that is very important to us," Mr Ralph said.
"A lot of our time goes into working with the students by phone, email or internet to make sure their learning is facilitated in the best possible way.
"This is demonstrated with our strong track record of employment for our graduates who have a wealth of opportunity available to them following their educational experience at CQUniversity."