Sixteen mature-age students from The University of Western Australia are celebrating their success having made the decision to change their career choice and become the first to complete a two-year full-time degree course to become Registered Nurses.
UWA's Master of Nursing Science, developed in response to a desperate shortage of nurses both nationally and internationally, accepts graduates who have completed a first degree from any educational background.
The first cohort of 16 graduates range in age from 26 to 50 years and have come from a diverse range of backgrounds including Arts, Commerce, Education, Medicine and Science.
Melanie Montgomery (31) was an Arts graduate (Politics, Philosophy and Sociology) with a Postgraduate Diploma in Research Methods before deciding to pursue nursing.
"I enjoyed working in research, but I wanted to do something more practical. I know there are opportunities to do research in nursing, so in the future I might combine clinical work and research.
"I now have a one year graduate position at Fremantle Hospital to gain clinical experience which will help me decide which specialty to go into.
"I enjoyed studying with other mature age students and I made some good friends during the course. I also found the wide variety of clinical placements really interesting and rewarding," Melanie said.
Course Coordinator Associate Professor Rosemary Saunders said the Master of Nursing Science course had provided students with the preparation needed to meet the challenge of care delivery in a changing environment.
As part of this intensive and comprehensive degree these graduates have undertaken over 800 hours of clinical practice in the course including during the summer and winter university breaks in the acute, paediatric, mental health, community, aged care and rural sectors, as well as interprofessional clinical placements. Two students were also able to participate in a clinical practicum to Tanzania as part of the Western Australia Department of Health Global Health Alliance," Associate Professor Saunders said.
The new UWA Masters of Nursing Science graduates have gained employment in Graduate Nurse programs at Princess Margaret, Hollywood, Fremantle, Sir Charles Gairdner, Royal Perth and Graylands Hospitals.
Registered Nurses can work in a range of areas and specialties including intensive care, paediatrics, theatre nursing, community nursing, health promotion, medical specialty nursing, surgical specialty nursing, aged care, remote community nursing, and nursing research.
The Masters of Nursing Science, which allows people to switch career paths without having to do another undergraduate degree, is run by the School of Population Health, within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, in partnership with Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.