RDN supports a future fit and rural ready nursing workforce with surprise scholarships
1st August 2022
Students participating in the Far West Extended Nursing Placement Program (FWENPP) were surprised with a scholarship from RDN last Thursday during a Civic Ceremony hosted by Broken Hill Mayor Tom Kennedy.
Each of the seven students received a $1,000 scholarship from RDN to support their participation in the program which aims to develop a future fit and rural ready nursing workforce.
The program is a collaborative initiative that has been co-designed by regional and university stakeholders to address the challenges confronted by student nurses undertaking short-duration placements and their host sites. Final year nursing students live and undertake their studies and clinical placement for a period of 20 weeks in a rural or remote region.
Current students are all from the University of Notre Dame Australia (Sydney Campus) and are the second cohort to ever participate in the program following a successful pilot in early 2022 with students from the University of Sydney.
Director South West Academic Centre Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health Danielle White (RN) has praised the program for offering a real opportunity to create workforce outcomes.
“The program offers a solution-focused mindset and gives students the opportunity to form a real understanding of the depth of rural and remote nursing and the communities they are placed in,” she said.
“Amongst many things students learn about advocacy, community engagement and literacy, culturally respectful care and health literacy. They gain an understanding of Primary Health Care settings and the complexities of rural health.”
Current students who have just started the program are excited to be part of it. Student Jaya Kander said coming from Sydney, the opportunity is out of her comfort zone, but she knows that that’s where she learns best.
“This program has given me an opportunity to experience something I may have not had the chance to. I see it is an adventure,” she said.
Fellow student Kirra Jackson said rural and remote work has always intrigued her so when the program came up she thought it would be the best way to experience it.
“I love the idea of working in rural and remote regions, in either Australia or overseas,” she said.
“I love to camp, and the outback, the landscape here is extremely different. I think this will be a chance to get to know these communities, the different cultures and the health care services.”
Registered Nurses are the largest and most geographically dispersed health profession in Australia and play a crucial role in influencing health care access and the health outcomes of rural and remote Australians.
“We are grateful to RDN and all our partners who see the value of this program. We were very excited to surprise the students with their scholarships which will help support them during their stay in our region,” said Danielle White.
“We hope to offer the students a positive experience that will bring them back to our communities and an appreciation of rural health care that they can take into their future practice and workplaces.”
RND’s Regional Manager for Western NSW Mark Muchiri said RDN believes in supporting the future workforce by giving students the opportunity to gain meaningful work experience in the region.
“We want to expand their networks and their professional and personal learning to make Western NSW a region of choice,” he said.
The aims of FWENPP are to:
1) Enhance the education, clinical practice and community engagement outcomes of participating nursing students.
2) Improve access to quality placements for nursing students and host sites.
3) Enhance the provision of quality, safe health care for rural and remote communities.
4) Promote student confidence to transition to rural and remote practice post-registration.
5) Contribute to the development of rural-ready nurse graduates.
Danielle White is confident the program will continue to grow and is excited by the prospect of working with more universities in the future.
“A student who completed the first program told me afterwards, ‘I have found my home – this is my community now’. That is a wonderful outcome to know the positive influence the program has had on their life. We welcome the opportunity to form future collaborations and to partner with more universities in the future for the benefit of students and rural and remote communities.”
The regional stakeholders involved in the success of this program include representatives from the Far West Local Health District, Robinvale District Health Service, Coomealla Health Aboriginal Corporation, Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation, Murray Valley Aboriginal Co-Operative, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia South Eastern Section.
University stakeholders include the University of Notre Dame Australia (Sydney Campus) and the University of Sydney, Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery and the Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health.
FRONT (L-R): Katharine Gibson, Gemma O’Grady
BACK L-R: Jaya Kander, Jess Mair, Kirra Jackson, Sophia Lising, Eloise Daggar
Notre Dame University, Sydney, nursing students who have just started the ENPP program