The Australian National University (ANU) and The University of Canberra (UC) has officially opened two new clinical training facilities in Cooma and Bega as part of the South East NSW Health Collaborative project.
The facilities will 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, as well as offering amazing potential for collaboration and professional development between health service staff and the universities.
The facilities allow invaluable opportunities for students and professionals to immerse themselves in rural healthcare. The facilities include simulated learning spaces outfitted with state-of-the-art communications infrastructure and seminar spaces.
"We are really excited to be opening these fabulous facilities," said Professor Michelle Lincoln, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health at UC. "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."
UC is also opening student accommodation in Cooma and Bega which will allow students to stay in new, modern, self-contained facilities while they are living and learning about delivery of health, disability and aged care services in a regional area.
"There are 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 the ANU is proud to partner with UC, the Southern Local Health District, NSW Health, Canberra Health Services and the health professionals of 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. "As the nation's university, we are committed that distance should not be a barrier to accessing good services."