GP clinics could help with the shortfall in places for student nurses.
GP clinics could help with the shortfall in places for student nurses. Iain Curry

GP clinics should employ intern nurses, uni says

ACCORDING to Southern Cross University (SCU), there is a great demand for GP clinics in the Tweed and surrounding areas to open their doors for nursing students.

Due to the higher than usual number of students enrolled in nursing, the demand for placements has dramatically increased.

SCU clinical teacher leader Lissa Ingram said students had to complete a certain number of industry placements each year to successfully graduate.

"In their first year they complete two, in the second year they complete three and in the final year they must complete placements for a six week stint," she said.

"Placements give them a valuable training ground and open their eyes to essential medical soft wear.

"Students get the chance to be mentored by a professionally registered nurse and obtain hands on experience.

"With the limited number of GP clinics recruiting students, we are faced with a challenge.

Ms Ingram said GP clinics would benefit from taking on a student.

"They are committed to the job and are hard workers.

"By third year they can pretty much perform at the same level as a registered nurse and can be pretty helpful in the clinic," she said.

"It's an opportunity to 'try before you buy' for employers too.

"A lot of our students walk straight into a job after their placement due to the great relationship they build with patients and staff."

Healthcare was said to have much more of a primary focus nowadays and the more nurses that were exposed before graduation, the better their skills would be in the future.

GP clinics that are interested in engaging a nursing student are encouraged to contact Lissa Ingram on 0447 624 472.

A work placement at a GP clinic has helped secure Southern Cross University nursing student Bridget Barnes a graduate position at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

The University is encouraging GP clinics across the NSW North Coast (from Tweed Heads to Taree) and the Gold Coast to consider taking on a nursing student to help broaden the variety of clinical work placements on offer

The students choose to complete primary care in a hospital, community health or general practice (GP) setting

"The GP clinic is a valuable training ground," said Ms Ingram.

"Our student nurses get lots of one-on-one attention from the supervising nurse. As well, they get to practise a range of skills, in particular communication skills because the students need to establish a relationship with the patient within 10 minutes."

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