#NextGen nurses saved from COVID-19 wrecking ball

Monash University nursing students are being supported to complete clinical placements disrupted by COVID-19, thanks to collaboration from registered nurses, nurse practitioners and general practices throughout Victoria.

Impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions at hospitals and aged care facilities, some settings were unable to offer their usual placements, so Monash Nursing and Midwifery (MNM) and the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) came to the rescue, organising placement alternatives for 400 student nurses.

Clinical placements are an integral part of Monash University's Bachelor of Nursing course, with students needing to complete approximately 840 clinical hours during the three years of the course in a variety of clinical and health settings.

APNA enlisted help from across the Victorian healthcare sector to host the MNM students so they could continue to accumulate the required hours of clinical practice during the Bachelor of Nursing degree.

Thanks to the program, next-generation nurses like Grace MacKay are getting the opportunity to hone their clinical skills while experiencing the diversity of primary health care.

Grace, a second-year MNM nursing student, is doing her placement this month at the Ti-Tree Family Doctors practice in Mt Eliza, where she is being supervised by experienced registered nurse Georgie Schonfelder.

APNA Founder, Samantha Moses, says her members are proud to support the next generation of Australian nurses so they can successfully complete their degrees.

“This program shows students the exciting and diverse work you can do as a nurse in primary health care – everything from minor surgical procedures to chronic disease management and everything in between.”

“You become such a part of the community, too, seeing mothers with babies having their first immunisations all the way through to helping older people navigate the health system. We believe experiences like this will influence future career choices.”

Senior Lecturer and Lead, Work Integrated Learning for MNM, Danielle Najm, says a significant benefit of the program is for students to see for themselves just how important a nurse’s role is in health promotion and care.

“Collaboration between Monash Nursing and Midwifery and APNA has enabled us to shape and develop clinical placement opportunities in the primary health care space that in the past has been under utilised,” she said.

“It has opened the door to clinical placement experiences that showcase primary health care and the important role nurses play in those settings.

“Students have enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside their nursing colleagues as part of the multidisciplinary team, to influence patients’ health outcomes.

“We are also undertaking important research on the program which aims to explore the experience and outcomes of an innovative primary health care model for work integrated learning. The findings will be beneficial in developing primary care clinical placements for nursing students of the future.”

For information on Monash Nursing and Midwifery courses visit our study page for more information https://www.monash.edu/medicine/nursing/study