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ACU receives $1.9M for nurse training ward

ACU receives $1.9 million for nurse training ward
Photo: Dr Rett Quinney Deputy Head of School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedicine
The Australian Catholic University (ACU) has begun construction on a $1.9 million-dollar nurse training ward in Ballarat, doubling the university’s capacity for pre-clinical training of nurses.

The new nurse training ward is funded by the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund – developed to offset the impact of the pandemic on the tertiary sector – and is set for completion next year.

This funding boost will also see the refurbishment of existing facilities to cater for students with special needs at the regional campus.

Dr Rett Quinney, Deputy Head of School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedicine Ballarat, said the ward would provide students and teaching staff with more opportunities.

“The expanded and refurbished training rooms will both double student capacity and allow space for extra teaching staff.
“This would allow us to bring in experience from hospitals like the Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital.

The new facilities will also help nurses engage in real-world learning experiences and may even ease transition shock.

“The state-of-the-art facility will take training to a whole new level, including the chance to better engage students online.

“This opportunity to step-up training facilities will undoubtedly improve performance and longevity in the profession.

“Up-to-date equipment means students are better prepared for clinical practice, and it dulls the culture shock when on placements.

“The upgrades will allow for real-time learning experiences with nursing schools in Chicago, Boston – and we also hope to expand this with other partner schools in northern American – which will allow students to compare expectations and innovations,” said Dr Quinney.

The nurse training ward is one of five projects and part of ACU’s 8.7m funding package, which also includes health research and IT.

The package also includes:

• $2 million to acquire research equipment to develop new therapy treatments for people living with life-threatening conditions like obesity and diabetes.

• $1.4 million to create culturally safe spaces for learning and support at the Ballarat campus for Aboriginal and CALD students and those who have accessibility requirements.

• $1.6 million to transform existing learning spaces at the Melbourne and Ballarat campuses to support flexible education, including technology like virtual reality.

• $1.8 million to upgrade the secure IT network at the Melbourne and Ballarat campuses to support remote learning and allow for better integration between campuses.

Professor Zlatko Skrbis, ACU Vice-Chancellor and President, said the funding would allow ACU to make important progress on the road to post COVID-19 recovery, with applied research, research partnerships, and important infrastructure works.

“We are Australia’s largest educator of nurses, and at this time — when the importance of our frontline health workforce has been so strongly highlighted — we are committed to meeting the growing demand for nurses, paramedics and other healthcare workers,” said Professor Skrbis.

“One of the ways we are doing this is by bringing world-class nurse training facilities to Ballarat to develop our simulation ward to increase our capacity to train pre-clinical nurses and boost our status as the leading provider of nursing graduates.”

Dr John Ballard, ACU Associate Vice-Chancellor (Victoria), said the funding would allow ACU to further develop key partnerships in health, education and other priority research areas.

“We have formed a strong collaboration with the St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, and we are very pleased that — with the State Government’s support — we will be able to cement that partnership and continue to conduct leading-edge research with real-world impact.”


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Haley Williams

Haley Williams has a Bachelor of Communication in Journalism and over a decade of experience in the media, marketing and communications industries.

She is a widely published journalist with a particular interest in writing magazine features on parenting, health, fitness, nutrition and education.

Before becoming a freelance journalist, Haley worked as a writer for NeoLife (a worldwide nutrition company), News Limited and APN News & Media.

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