Brenden Cooke says people interested in a nursing career have a chance now to be part of this year’s student intake.
Brenden Cooke says people interested in a nursing career have a chance now to be part of this year’s student intake. Tanya Easterby

Window of opportunity now

AN application to Gympie TAFE in the next couple of weeks could be the start of an exciting and rewarding new career in nursing.

Campus manager Corrie McColl and nursing teacher Brenden Cooke said the TAFE nursing course, now entering its third year of existence, has some spare places.

"That means people can apply directly to us for entry, rather than the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre," Mr McColl said.

Brenden Cooke joined the TAFE team more than two years ago, helping start the institute's Diploma of Nursing course.

From there, it is also possible for students to move over to a degree course, with their TAFE qualifications able to count towards a university degree, possibly at the new University of the Sunshine Coast facility, on the TAFE campus.

"A completed diploma, obtained over an 18-month course, can earn 12months credit towards a Bachelor of Nursing course at USC or other universities around Australia," he said. "The subjects we do are equivalent to the university subjects and we will often have TAFE and USC students sharing resources, including clinical laboratories and lecture rooms.

"We offer a nationally recognised qualification which can convert to degree credits at many universities around Australia".

Time, however, is of the essence, with a limited number of excess spaces and a deadline of late February for enrolments.

"We start with orientation on February 25 and people should enrol as soon as possible before then," Mr Cooke said.

Because a lot of students come from out of town, he says the course comes in concentrated "residential blocks", with students required to study from Monday to Friday in a three-week block.

"Then they are clear for some weeks until we have another three-week block.

"This enables them to concentrate their studies and get on with other aspects of their lives.

"We have five blocks of these residential classes and two to four blocks of practical placements, in which students are expected to work in the field, including via clinical placement in hospitals".

Mr Cooke is a widely experienced registered nurse, having worked mainly in operating theatres. "I've worked at Nambour, Buderim and Karratha and in the UK for a couple of years".

Mr McColl says the current surplus of study places is an important career chance for Gympie people.

"It's a good opportunity, right now, for people to become nurses.

"Normally they would have to apply to QTAC but unfilled vacancies can go directly to the community, via an expressions of interest process," he said.

"Nurses work not only in hospitals, but in doctors' surgeries, many workplaces and in health and safety roles in companies," he said.

Mr Cooke says courses can be studied flexibly, according to the student's requirements.

"Students can do the course ad hoc, doing units in whatever blocks they want, doing it in their own time.

"This means they can enjoy their studies and use state of the art equipment".

Students will also be able to access direct internet links to the USC's Sunshine Coast campus.

Importantly, the TAFE Diploma of Nursing is a qualification in itself, giving the student nationally recognised skills, as well as points towards a degree.

Importantly, that works both ways, with university passes also able to count towards the TAFE diploma.

Gympie Times

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