LaTrobe course a boost to local hospitals’ staff

By Clare Quirk
Updated November 6 2012 - 4:16pm, first published January 3 2010 - 10:59pm
International student support services co-ordinator Grace White Feather chats with Indian nursing students James Kutty Thomas (left) and Elizabeth Francis. Picture: ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN

TWENTY-FIVE international nurses will have the opportunity to work in Australia, thanks to a new course at La Trobe University. Twenty-two of the nurses are from India, with one from Japan and two from the Philippines, and all are registered nurses in their home country.La Trobe regional campuses associate director Victor Rajeevan said recent attacks on Indian students had not impacted on the number of international students wanting to study in Australia.“A large cohort of the students are from India,” he said. “It’s probably come back to media hype.“We’re expecting international numbers to increase significantly in 2010.”The 13-week IRON program will give the students first-hand experience in Australian health care and provide them with accreditation with the Nursing Board of Victoria.Course co-ordinator Dr Sharon Kendall said once the students have accreditation they’ll be eligible to work anywhere in Australia.“Given that nursing is listed on the Federal Government skills shortages list, it’s likely that they won’t have too much trouble finding employment,” she said.“They’ll have clinical placement in an acute care setting at Bendigo Health or St John of God, and I know they will be looking at it as a recruitment process.”To qualify for the course the students needed to be a registered nurse and pass English language requirements.Dr Kendall said the challenges facing the students would differ depending on their experiences and their country of origin.“Disadvantaged areas obviously have different levels of technology and equipment,” she said.The course will include a week of intense theory in Australian health care, one week in aged care in Bendigo and clinical placement in acute care.Dr Kendall said the course was unique because it had an early option for students that demonstrate competency.‘’They’re required to do 400 hours of clinical placement, but if they demonstrate competency at 200 hours then they could complete their course within seven weeks,” Dr Kendall said.