A decade ago, Queensland's healthcare sector had a skills shortage – so a plan was put in place to address the problem.
Since then, more than 1,500 trained nurses have graduated from a collaborative course based at Greenslopes Private Hospital (GPH) that has subsequently rolled out to 19 Ramsay Health Care facilities around the state.
The group's partnership with TAFE Queensland Gold Coast began in April 2008 with the Diploma of Nursing program at Greenslopes, one of Australia’s largest private teaching hospitals.
“The specific goal of GPH was to successfully continue to grow their workforce,” said Debbie Blow, the education provider's regional director of faculty CSH and nursing, executive leader health and nursing.
“Many of the initial students who were trained in 2008 are still working at GPH and will be credited for long-service leave for their commitment to Ramsay Health Care,” she added.
Twice a year, in January and July, 35 students are trained by TAFE Queensland Gold Coast Region’s nursing educational team. The July 2018 group will bring the number of graduates to 1,540 at the end of the year.
There is also an advanced diploma course specifically tailored for the hospital's staffing needs.
“The integrated model of training on offer at GPH prepares students for the reality of a career in healthcare,” said Terry McLaren, director of clinical services at Greenslopes, the only private hospital in Australia with a fully-fledged clinical school on campus.
“Hospital employees contribute significantly to the theoretical and clinical learning of the students throughout the duration of the training program. The students have the opportunity to rotate through areas and gain valuable experience through exposure in clinical areas as opposed to block placement,” she added.
Ms McLaren said students are able to “hit the ground running” after graduation thanks to a staff mentoring system which includes them in the nursing team.
“We find this of great value as the student nurses grow, qualify and then become permanent employees,” she said.