La Trobe Opens Mid-Year Amid Health Workforce Crisis

La Trobe University

La Trobe University's Rural Health School will open its doors to nursing undergraduates in the middle of the academic year for the first time in its history as it responds to workforce shortages that are gripping the nation.

Australia is facing a significant health workforce crisis now and into the future, with rural and regional communities particularly impacted by widespread shortages, especially in nursing, and long-term health workforce challenges.

The mid-year intake will allow up to 130 new students to begin nursing undergraduate degrees across all four of La Trobe's regional campuses located in Bendigo, Mildura, Shepparton and Albury-Wodonga.

This forms part of La Trobe University's Health Innovation Strategy, the University's largest ever investment in the health sector, which aims to deliver an additional 4,800 EFSTL (equivalent full-time student load) by 2030 across key areas of nursing, psychology, dental and allied health in Melbourne and regional and rural Australia (taking total EFSTL to around 13,000).

This is complemented by a significant investment in state-of-the-art facilities across all campuses to facilitate additional training capacity and deliver skilled clinicians to where they are needed most.

La Trobe Pro Vice-Chancellor Health Innovation and Dean of La Trobe's Rural Health School, Professor Jane Mills, said the School expects the move will make a difference to the workforce challenges.

"Regional and rural Victorians deserve high-quality healthcare, and we need to do as much as we can to ensure the current workforce shortages are addressed," Professor Mills said.

"Being innovative and flexible in our approach will be key to the sustainability and success of our healthcare professionals in the future."

Nursing and Midwifery Discipline Lead at La Trobe's Rural Health School, Associate Professor Melissa Deacon-Crouch, said she hopes the additional intake of nursing students will help address healthcare gaps in regional communities.

"Our nursing students receive a first-class education from our lecturers and our clinical partners, preparing them to meet the growing needs of regional and rural Australians," Associate Professor Deacon-Crouch said.

"However, the simple truth is there are just not enough nurses available to serve our communities at the moment and we want this to change.

"If you are thinking of going into nursing, this new arrangement means you don't have to wait until next year to start – I really want to spread that message as widely as possible." 

New undergraduates will also benefit from a new placement payment introduced by the Federal Government in the most recent budget, which will begin mid-way through 2025.

This entitles nursing and midwifery students to a $319.50 weekly stipend during clinical and professional placements.

"The payment is very welcome news to our students when cost-of-living concerns are front of mind for so many, and is another reason why now is a good time to think about starting your studies," Professor Mills said.

Applications for the first intake open this month, with the new cohort of students due to begin their undergraduate degrees in mid-July.

Apply through here:

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