'From the West, In the West and For the West', the $4.16 million Health Workforce Australia (HWA) funded program - a collaboration between Victoria University (VU), Mercy Health and Western Health - has been realised.
Comprised of five projects looking at capital works and a review of placement processes, the program, managed by the University under Dan Boariu, will accommodate nursing and midwifery student growth and expand the clinical training capacity of Werribee Mercy Health and Western Health.
The program will boost clinical training networks in western rural, regional and outer metropolitan areas of Victoria by producing graduates with increased attributes and capabilities and combating recruitment and retention shortages of health care professionals.
The completed capital works projects and improved placement processes will provide enhanced clinical training and support the needs of Victoria University's diverse student body. Students will be immersed in interprofessional clinical training that will assist in the development of work-ready graduates able to meet the needs of the expanding communities of Melbourne's western region.
Professor Greg Blatch, Dean of the College of Health and Biomedicine, chaired the committee that oversaw the program. While acknowledging the challenges of a project involving large organisations, multiple partners and a combination of capital projects and process reviews, Professor Blatch is pleased with how the component projects were rolled out - all within budget and projected timelines.
"With the support of the different people involved, such as project managers like Dan Boariu, we were able to keep the momentum going; people stayed connected, and we made sure that we delivered on the various projects."
Capital works projects included:
- renovation of VU's Clinical Learning Office at the St Albans campus
- construction of a purpose-designed building at Werribee Mercy Health, comprising student accommodation and a learning precinct (with a clinical laboratory)
- upgrade to ICT capability at Western Health, linking the Melton South, Footscray and Williamstown campuses with each other and with VU.
The program also focused on improving processes and meeting KPIs in relation to increasing the number of nursing and midwifery student placements.
"By improving our current processes, we're able to give our students a better learning experience and, on the flipside of that coin, increase the number and quality of the opportunities available to them." Associate Professor Hartley, Director of Learning & Teaching for the College of Health & Biomedicine