Thousands of kilometres from her home near Melbourne, Bachelor of Nursing student Jennifer Jeremic gently inserts a catheter into her plastic patient “Frank”.
The third-year student has joined fellow students from across Australia to complete a clinical training block at Charles Darwin University's (CDU) new Alice Springs training facility.
At the official opening of the new facility on April 22, Dean of the Faculty of Education, Health and Science Professor Graham Pegg said CDU’s mix of online delivery and block intensives appealed to time-poor students.
“It’s one of the few programs in the country that allows people to study nursing in their own time. In many cases it’s easier for people to enrol with us than their local university down the road, and still meet their work and family obligations,” Professor Pegg said.
CDU’s nursing program has been an outstanding success for the University, attracting more than 1000 students through its flexible online lectures and excellent local hospital placements.
Students from across Australia come to the Northern Territory to complete a week-long intensive clinical program at the University’s Darwin or Alice Springs campuses.
CDU student Jennifer Jeremic began her nursing career in the Kissi Highlands of Kenya, where she promoted allied health programs under the guidance of an Australian nurse.
“I was assisting in fundamental health care to house orphans and promoting mass hygiene programs, but realised how much more I could do with nursing behind me,” she said.
Encouraged by her mother, Jennifer chose CDU because of its strong Indigenous focus and external delivery, which allowed her to continue studying in Kenya, a country she regularly visits.
“The internet can be a bit slow in Kenya, but it’s great to merge my experiences with the course material,” she said.
Professor Pegg said the University’s new $500,000 clinical laboratory was a significant step towards a long-term goal of offering full medical training facilities in the Northern Territory.
“We enjoy a close relationship and shared vision with Flinders University in South Australia to develop future doctors with the trans-disciplinary skills needed in the bush,” he said.
Used for both vocational and higher education courses, the facility expands nursing resources at the University, which includes association with the jointly-managed CDU/ Flinders Centre for Remote Health in Alice Springs.