East Grampians Health Service has succeeded in expanding its nursing workforce with the graduation of the first intake of Diploma of Nursing students.
The graduation ceremony was attended by nursing graduates, trainers, family, friends, EGHS staff and special guests, including ACU College executive director Shaun McDonagh, Member for Ripon Louise Staley and EGHS Board chair Nancy Panter.
ACU College’s Diploma of Nursing was an 18-month course, which commenced in January 2017.
Working to the philosophy of ‘grow your own’, East Grampians Health Diploma of Nursing students undertook the entirety of their training, including clinical placements, on site at the health service, through a partnership with ACU College.
Of the 20 students who graduated, 11 were offered positions through the EGHS graduate program, with the remainder taking up positions elsewhere.
The nurses’ graduate program will see them rotate through different departments of the health service over a period of 12 months.
EGHS Director of Development and Improvement Mario Santilli said EGHS and ACU College worked through a number of challenges through 2015 and 2016 to enable the course to commence in 2017, but the success of the course had been worth it.
“We have philosophies of ‘teach and grow’ and ‘grown your own’ at East Grampians Health Service,” Mr Santilli said.
“Six of the trainers who took classes were our own staff who undertook qualifications to teach, expanding and growing the skills of our clinical staff.
“By offering the course locally and attracting local people wanting to become nurses, we are ‘growing our own’ workforce. We are now more likely to retain our workforce, which is crucial to the future of the health service.
“It has proven a success in that 11 of the graduates have taken up positions following the completion of their studies.”
In addition to the support offered by the clinical trainers, the students also received ongoing support from ACU College and in particular course liaison administrator Donna Bradshaw, who worked on site at EGHS.
“Donna’s presence was of great benefit to students, as she was able to offer the day to day support required, particularly to those students who were new to tertiary education,” Mr Santilli said.
The next Diploma of Nursing course will commence in February 2019 at East Grampians Health Service, with recruitment to take place in November/December this year.