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Innovative training facility boosts rural health in Queensland

Innovative training facility boosts rural health i
Photo: SQRH Charleville (photo supplied by SQRH)

A new training facility designed to boost nursing, midwifery and allied health skills in some of Queensland’s most remote communities has officially opened in Charleville.

University of Queensland health students are among those who will gain professional qualifications at the new Southern Queensland Rural Health (SQRH) Clinical Training Facility. 

UQ Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences Executive Dean Professor Bruce Abernethy says the centre is a significant achievement from the government, industry and university collaboration.

“It will enable us to deliver a high-standard health workforce and provide students with invaluable opportunities to immerse themselves in rural healthcare,” says Professor Abernethy.

“The facility improves healthcare access and is expected to lift the numbers of students who return to practice in rural and regional areas.”
A clinical simulation lab, telehealth studios, clinical consultation rooms, videoconference training rooms, meeting rooms, offices and an outdoor education area are included in the new building.

SQRH Director Associate Professor Geoff Argus says students will have a range of clinical placement and training opportunities.

“We look forward to continuing our support and training of nursing, midwifery and allied health students in the state’s South West from our new premises,” says Professor Argus.

“The co-location on Charleville Hospital grounds will further enhance experiences for these students.

“SQRH’s collaboration between the higher education sector and the health sector has delivered a strong foundation for growing the rural health workforce and is an excellent prototype for other parts of Australia to replicate.”

SQRH Interprofessional Practice Co-ordinator Dr Flora Rolf says the facility brings the best resources and knowledge to rural communities and students training to provide their care. 

“The bush presents a lot of challenges for clinicians, and resources are often tight.

“Our facility allows students to practice clinical skills and scenarios as they would in a large city facility, as well as learning in the unique context of a remote community.”

One of the most exciting aspects of the facility is the interprofessional learning provided to health students, explains Dr Rolf.

“The students come together from a number of professions, and learn and work together to problem-solve complex patient scenarios and deepen their understanding of each other’s contribution to patient-centred care.”

Dr Rolf says she hopes the facility will provide an appreciation for the experiences a rural health care career can provide.

“We have strong, vibrant communities out here and we want skilled, engaged clinicians to help us care for our people.

“Offering students the opportunity to learn and develop in a world-class facility in remote Australia is an exciting and unique opportunity.

“We hope that students will consider the diverse and rich practice environment that bush communities offer when they become qualified health professionals.

“Remote clinicians are a resilient, creative and forward-thinking group of people, and we want to encourage the next generation of clinicians to join us in caring for our communities out here.

“Oh, and we have lots of kangaroos and galahs waiting to greet us every morning. It’s a pretty special place!”

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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.

Haley also has extensive experience as an SEO Content Writer and Digital Marketing Strategist.