New University of Newcastle building set to grow rural health workforce

21 May 2014

The University of Newcastle’s (UON) $19.4 million Tamworth Education Centre is a state-of-the-art education and research hub designed to increase the skills and capacity of the region’s health workforce.
Supported by Commonwealth funding, the centre was opened recently by Senator John Williams and University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen.
Professor McMillen said the Tamworth Education Centre was an investment in the future New England health workforce, providing a technology rich learning environment for tomorrow’s health professionals.
“The Tamworth Education Centre is equipped to provide students with a next-generation learning experience. High definition video-conferencing and tele-health capabilities connect UON staff and students with other campuses and partners across the world.”
The new centre is home to the University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health (UoNDRH) – a leading education and research hub. The centre will provide laboratory, tutorial and study facilities for students in nursing, medicine and a range of health science programs including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nutrition and dietetics, social work, speech therapy and medical radiation science.
The Education Centre also increases UON’s capacity to enhance its support for clinical placements, with an upgrade to existing UoNDRH facilities at the Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital and additional onsite accommodation for more than 50 students.
“Clinical placements are a core component of our world-class health education degree programs, providing the opportunity for students to put the valuable theory they have learned in the classroom into real world practice.  Last year, some 500 UON students completed a clinical placement in the Tamworth region,” Professor McMillen said.
“With Commonwealth support, we have refurbished the UoNDRH clinical training space in the Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital to include an extended clinical skills laboratory, tutorial rooms and a student hub area. This will encourage greater inter-disciplinary learning between local students and clinicians.”
The Tamworth Education Centre has been funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing and Health Workforce Australia. The project includes the refurbishment of the UoNDRH facilities within the Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital, which was funded by Health Workforce Australia.

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