Nursing courses, meeting a constant skills shortage and carrying high social value, are an ever-popular vocational field, with an array of programmes and pathways available.
At Curtin University, Philippa Wharton enthuses, “The School of Nursing and Midwifery is committed to the education of graduates who will be leaders in the profession. Our courses of study are focussed on the development of highly skilled professionals who are empathetic, caring and respectful of diverse values and beliefs.” The first school of nursing in a Western Australian university “has continued to set the pace for nursing education in our region”, she says, and students benefit from high-tech stimulation and clinical skills laboratories.
Wharton outlines the array of options: Bachelor of Science (Nursing), in four streams with a variety of clinical placements; Bachelor of Science Nursing RN Conversion, building on professional knowledge; Master of Nursing Practice, emphasising close integration of evidence-based theory and clinical practice; Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing, focussing on clinical leadership approaches; and Master of Nursing, for advanced clinical practice.
Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, is “an outward-looking and culturally inclusive university that meets exacting national and international standards in both teaching and research,” says Paul Saeki. “The Bachelor of Nursing comprises topics in nursing (including clinical practice), ethics, law, and the biophysical and psychological sciences. The course aims to prepare nurses who are reflective about practice and have well-developed clinical reasoning skills.” A postgraduate programme is also offered, allowing students to proceed to master’s or doctoral studies. A stand-out feature for overseas students is, Saeki says, an academic linguist specialising in ESL support, including the development of online games to enhance English skills in nursing.
In the postgraduate field, the School of Population Health at the University of Western Australia (UWA) has, attests Rosemary Suanders, “adopted a flexible teaching and learning approach with smaller teaching groups, interactive teaching methods and highly qualified staff at the top of their field”. Saunders explains the Master of Nursing Science is designed for any university graduates who wish to change careers to become a registered nurse. “With close teaching partnerships between the school, two major hospitals and a major care group, students are able to develop a sense of ‘belonging’ and ward staff are able to get to know the students,” she says, adding the two-year degree includes at least 890 hours of clinical practice plus numerous placements.
UWA’s Master of Nursing Research provides nursing degree-holding students “with the knowledge and skills to conduct research in their field and to contribute to the body of evidence on which nursing science is based”, with “strong grounding in the disciplines of biostatistics and epidemiology, as applied to clinical research”, says Saunders.
Anglia Ruskin University, UK, offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in International Nursing Studies, with options to include the 30-credit Overseas Nursing Programme (ONP), informs Alejandra Vicencio. “This means that eligible students can now gain an undergraduate or master’s degree in International Nursing Studies and obtain registration with the National Midwifery Council in the UK.” Alejandra lauds “state-of-the-art clinical skills facilities that have been built in collaboration with the UK National Health Service”. The labs specifically mirror working environments in UK hospitals. Students also have chances to visit centres of excellence units such as cardiac care, burns and palliative care.
Omni College specialises in preparing foreign-trained nurses to become job-ready for the Canadian workforce, says President, Jade Burke. Courses bridge gaps including cultural awareness, hands-on practice and critical thinking skills. “One of the most sought after components of our programmes are the Workplace Preparation and Nurse Licensing exam preparation modules which maximise a student’s chance in passing their Canadian regulatory examinations.” Burke attests, “In 2011, 84 per cent of our students who wrote the nurse licensing exam successfully passed, and 100 per cent of our graduates found jobs within one month.”
Omni graduates are eligible for the Postgraduate Open Work Permit, advises Burke. “Most of our students find work in Canada with the intent of applying for permanent residency,” she says, adding that many students take their experience home, “where they are able to obtain tremendous career advancement”. Flinders graduates are eligible to apply for registration in Australia and overseas, and Saeki explains many students stay, although he notes a growing trend of students working in Australia for a few years and then returning home.
Markets and recruitment
Anglia Ruskin University, UK, has attracted applications from 22 different countries for its September 2012 nursing courses, notably from Africa and Asia, advises Alejandra Vicencio. Meanwhile, Paul Saeki at Australia’s Flinders University, which uses several recruitment agents, lists China, South Korea, Japan, India and Malaysia as strong recruitment regions. International students have constituted as much as 28 per cent of the nursing intake at the University of Western Australia, says Rosemary Saunders.
At Omni College in Canada, the largest group of international students come from India, advises Jade Burke, with Asia, Eastern Europe and Brazil also cited. “Agents play a large role in our international recruiting strategy, especially when it comes to opening up new markets. We are always open to signing good agents from new, as well as existing established markets,” she says. Philippa Wharton at Curtin University, Australia, reports Asia as its key recruitment ground. “We are increasing articulation agreements and diversifying our marketing activities to new countries. Agents are welcome to contact Curtin International.”