Country’s first cohort completes the Graduate Certificate in Australian Nursing

Published in the May 2017 issue

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Southern Cross University was the first in Australia to offer a Graduate Certificate in Australian Nursing, with the first cohort of internationally qualified registered nurses now graduated from the 12-week course.

The first intake at the Gold Coast campus in November coincided with the Queensland Government’s International Education and Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016-2026 (Strategy).

Maria Advincula

The government has committed $25.3 million over five years to promote Queensland internationally, enhance the student experience, grow the regions and connect industry.

Course Coordinator and senior lecturer Dr Christina Aggar from the School of Health and Human Sciences said the first cohort completed the Graduate Certificate program in February, with the majority of students securing employment.

“The need for nurses in Australia and around the world is continuing to grow, with trends showing there is going to be a shortage of nurses by 2020,” Dr Aggar said.

“The nursing workforce in Australia is ageing, with more than 50 per cent of employed nurses in primary health care now older than 50. There is a shortage of nurses working in aged care and chronic disease management, particularly in regional and rural areas. So this program is a great opportunity to address some of those gaps in our health care system.

“Southern Cross University is very well placed to provide this education to international registered nurses with state-of-the-art facilities, teaching and industry collaborations. The Gold Coast campus location is particularly attractive.”

Entry requirements include an undergraduate nursing degree equivalent, English test, criminal record check, immunisation requirements and visa certificates. International registered nurses are assessed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (APHRA), who also certify graduates with their Australian registration after successful course completion – a new Australian regulation for nurses trained internationally.

“Our first cohort came from countries including India, Philippines, Netherlands, UK and China with varying knowledge and levels of experience, many of the students were learning new communication and leadership skills, particularly during their eight-week supervised clinical placement at Tweed Hospital,” Dr Aggar said.

“One of the great collaborations as a result of the initiative was having Bupa contact us interested in these particular graduates. Some have secured employment there with visa support and their relocation expenses covered.”

Course graduate Maria Advincula, 27, from the Philippines secured employment at Bupa Aged Care at New Farm.

Graduate Certificate in Australian Nursing first cohort

“I really admire how Southern Cross University has taken care of us from enrolment, throughout the course and helping us secure work at the end, which is what I appreciate most,” she said.

“I wanted to come to Australia as it is a multicultural country not too far from home with first-world health standards. Southern Cross Uni offered this course in such a perfect location, I feel very lucky to be part of the first cohort in Australia.

“The course trained us in medication and manual handling and helped us to be aware of Australian culture in the healthcare setting, including Indigenous culture and multiculturalism.

“The practical clinical setting helped a lot too, especially as most of us had finished our nursing education more than four years ago – for the last five years I had been working in a surgery clinic in the Philippines.

“I recommend the course very highly – I already have some of my friends applying for an upcoming intake.”

The program consists of a four-week intensive theoretical component, with on-campus lectures, tutorials and simulated learning, followed by a facilitated eight-week professional experience placement within the local health area.

Southern Cross University’s Graduate Certificate in Australian Nursing program for internationally qualified registered nurses (IQNs) is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) and accredited by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMAC).

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