With a shortage of nurses in regional and rural areas, Charles Sturt University is trying to combat the issue by offering on-campus positions for international students interested in pursuing a career in the industry.
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From 2024, 16 international students will have the opportunity to study a Bachelor of Nursing on campus, commencing in the session one cohort.
Charles Sturt University Vice-Chancellor Professor Renée Leon said she was really excited to launch the international students nursing program for the Dubbo campus on Monday, August 14.
With four campuses already offering the international program, Ms Leon said she hoped this would help support the health workforce in the Dubbo district.
"We already have a very substantial nursing presence here, it's one of our flagship courses across all of our campuses and we're really pleased to be extending it to international students," she said.
"There's such a demand from the community to increase the number of people studying nursing and Charles Sturt University is really happy to be making a contribution to the important shortages of nurses in our workforce."
Charles Sturt University has had roughly 1500 nurses graduate in the last five years and tens of thousands of health care professionals over the last 30 years.
Ms Leon said the Bachelor of Nursing on-campus offering for international students had already received a strong response from prospective students.
"We've already had 10 put up their hands to express interest - so we're feeling confident that we'll fill the places," she said.
Third year nursing student Emma Solomon moved from Sydney to Dubbo to undertake the Bachelor of Nursing.
"Coming to Dubbo seemed like the obvious choice really," she said.
"I love it, it's been a great change from metropolitan life, it's just so lovely to be out in the regions and the Dubbo campus is wonderful."
She was very excited that Dubbo would be opening its doors for international students.
"I think bringing them into our classroom will really enrich our learning as well, so I think it's a great move," she said.
"It's a win for everyone."
With her eyes set on becoming a nurse practitioner, Ms Solomon will continue to work hard to achieve her dreams.
"The lecturers in Dubbo are fantastic and the students are just lovely, it's really nice, I call them my uni family," she said.
Head of the School of Nursing, Paramedicine and Healthcare Sciences, Associate Professor Linda Deravin was one of the original initiators of extending the program to Dubbo.
"I recognised that we've got some critical shortages for our rural and regional nursing workforce, so some of the opportunities that we're providing by extending the Dubbo campus and Bachelor of Nursing to include international students will hopefully contribute to that sustainable rural nursing workforce," she said.
"This is another strategy to help build that workforce for the future because there are shortages across the nation but more so in regional rural areas."
With the hope of opening international students in 2023, Ms Deravin said it has taken time to get approvals through the Australian Nursing Midwifery Accreditation council.
In 2024, Ms Deravin hopes students can become exposed to what regional and rural areas are life and have and realise that Dubbo is a great community to live and work in.
"They will actually stay within these local communities and help build our health workforce in these areas," she said.
Director of Global Engagement Ms Eleanor Mitchel said the Bachelor of Nursing was the number one course for international students studying on campus with 50 per cent of international students studying for the degree.
"So it's been a huge success story for the university and for our international student population and it's a fantastic opportunity to be able to offer it at another campus," she said.
Each year there has been between a 180 to 250 per cent increase in terms of international students studying for the degree.
"The demand is there from students and Charles Sturt University remains number one in Australia for the sixth consecutive year for undergraduate employment outcomes," she said.
"So students are looking at those courses that are going to prepare them for a career in their chosen discipline and for international students that's a really important decision making factor.
"They want to study something that's going to get them the strongest career opportunities possible - so being number one in Australia, six years in a row, pretty much gives them that guarantee."
With Dubbo's large multicultural population, Ms Mitchell said that was a "huge attraction" for international students.
"The top three nationalities in Dubbo if you exclude the UK and New Zealand are India, Nepal and the Philippines and those are our top three source countries for international students for the Bachelor of Nursing," she said.
"It aligns perfectly that those students will see the connections to already existing multicultural communities and know that they'll have a way to get settled in."
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