Desley Fletcher often passes her former students in the hospital corridors.
After a career as a clinical nurse educator, Desley has seen many students come and go but it is the Diploma of Nursing students from UOW College of whom she takes the greatest pleasure when she sees them applying their knowledge and skills in the real world of health care.
“I was originally a clinical nurse educator at Wollongong Hospital but decided I wanted to educate nursing students to pass on my years of knowledge and experience to the next generation of nurses,” she said.
Six years ago, after completing a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, Desley began her role as a trainer at the newly launched Diploma of Nursing program at UOW College.
The 18-month program educates students to become Enrolled Nurses and offers those students who want to continue into the Bachelor of Nursing a pathway with 48 credit points for prior learning.
“I had previously been involved in simulated work with the Registered Nurses at the University of Wollongong and realised I really enjoyed teaching students clinical skills. When a position was advertised at the College I jumped at the opportunity to change career paths” Desley said.
“I think seeing a student from the start of their training right through to the end is a great privilege. I also facilitate students out in clinical settings, so I run into a lot of our previous students, and it is satisfying to see how well they are doing and where their careers are taking them.”
“You get to know them in the classroom and in simulations and then out in the clinical settings,” she said.
“Student experience is important to the College, we develop a professional trusting relationship with the students. Therefore, the students feel comfortable in approaching the trainers with any questions regarding their studies.”
The student cohort is also very diverse, said Desley, which adds to her enjoyment of helping students achieve their goals.
“We get school leavers, 17-year-olds straight out of high school, as well as mature aged students, people in their mid-40s who have decided to follow a different career path. I have had a mother with five young children who decided to do her EN training as well as international students who may have been Registered Nurses in their country, but their qualifications are not recognised here in Australia and they were required to complete the Enrolled Nurse qualification in order gain entry into the Bachelor to complete their training”.
The Diploma of Nursing students must complete 400 hours of training in a clinical setting, from hospitals to community health centres, aged care facilities and GP practices, which Desley said provides them with a comprehensive overview of possible job opportunities in healthcare.
“When they graduate from the Diploma of Nursing program, our students are workplace ready and have current industry knowledge” she said.
Some students come to UOW College from out of area because of the industry reputation, ex graduate recommendations and links to the University of Wollongong. The benefit of studying their nursing degree this way is that they can work as an Enrolled Nurse while studying to be a Registered Nurse (RN).
“While working in the clinical role as an Enrolled nurse, they are developing and improving their nursing skills. This compliments and supports them in their RN studies.”
UOW College Australia