UniSA campus provides perfect training for a nursing career

Whether you're a student or a tutor, the UniSA Mount Gambier campus is an ideal place to undergo a nursing career due to its accessibility, supportive staff and thorough training.

Belinda Romer and Sonia Holmes are two nursing students from Naracoorte, with Belinda commuting to Mount Gambier a few days a week, and Sonia being enrolled externally.

For Belinda, being able to study whilst in a familiar environment has been beneficial. 

"I highly recommend studying at UniSA in Mount Gambier to anyone living in Naracoorte for many reasons," she said. 

"The first is having your family around, something I know I wouldn't have had studying three hours away in Adelaide. Their support while studying at university has released any financial pressures I believe would have impacted negatively upon my degree.

"Additionally, earning an income while studying is another reason. I'm currently still able to work in Naracoorte a few days a week between travelling to Mt Gambier for uni."

Both Belinda and Sonia have also been assisted by the staff at the campus during their degrees.

"I have found that when I have attended the site, the Mt Gambier UniSA staff have been very helpful and supportive," Sonia said.

"The staff have extended me invitations to attend workshops in Mt Gambier, despite me being an externally enrolled student. Tutors onsite have also said they were available for help if I needed it, which is lovely.

"I found all the staff very approachable, and helpful in helping me through orientation and understanding the online learning portals."

"The staff at UniSA Mount Gambier are all very supportive and helpful," Belinda said. 

"During my time here my tutors have always allowed for 'one on one' time when I've needed it. Being in smaller classes at a regional campus allows for these opportunities.

"I've been able to build relationships and get to know my teachers, they're always happy to help me whenever they can."

UniSA's training facilities have also prepared students for the practical realities of having a nursing career. 

"The facilities at the campus are very beneficial to my learning, helping me understand what it will be like working as a Registered Nurse in the 'real world'," Belinda said. 

"The nursing area is modelled on facilities in the new Royal Adelaide Hospital and Mount Gambier Hospital."

Belinda was also the recipient of a Naracoorte Health Advisory Council scholarship which assisted her in purchasing a uniform and textbooks.

Lyn Rabbetts is a staff member at the Mount Gambier UniSA campus, and with the rest of the staff develops and coordinates courses across other regional campuses, and records lectures for internal and external students.

As many students who live outside of Mount Gambier only attend tutorials and clinical workshops on campus once or twice a week, online learning modules are continuously updated.

Lyn herself is a Naracoorte resident, who commutes to Mount Gambier three to four times a week.

"The nursing students are community members first before they come to the university," Lyn said.

"The students bring with them their local knowledge of health care needs in their community."

Lyn has found that students either have a Diploma in Nursing and are working as enrolled nurses, or they're going straight into a Bachelor of Nursing to become registered nurses. 

UniSA Mount Gambier now offers a Bachelor of Midwifery, and there have been some students who have taken that extra step in that studies once they finish their nursing degree. 

"As an academic lecturer and a long term resident of Naracoorte, having a regional campus has allowed me to extend my nursing career into academia and nursing research," Lyn said.

"I commenced working at the Mount Gambier in 2011 and have thoroughly enjoyed the many opportunities I have had. I love teaching our students and inspiring them to provide quality nursing care wherever they choose to work after they graduate.

"There is great sense of professional fulfillment to see our students working locally, throughout the southeast and Western Victorian regions, as well as in metropolitan Adelaide and beyond.

"I am current undertaking my own PhD which has the focus on nursing in rural communities. I don't think I would have ever considered undertaking a PhD in nursing research had I not come to work at this wonderful regional campus of the University of South Australia in Mount Gambier."