Lumen - The University of Adelaide Magazine The University of Adelaide Australia
Lumen Summer 2014 Issue
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Building a new era in health education

A combined teaching facility for the schools of Medicine and Nursing in the city's West End is designed to place the University of Adelaide at the forefront of international health education.

The new Clinical School building for Medicine and Nursing is being created in the heart of the South Australian Health and Biomedical Precinct (SAHBP) and modelled on some of the world's leading university hospital precincts.

The initiative is helping to transform the city's West End in North Terrace into a world-class clinical hub, building on more than 130 years of collaboration with the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH).

Faculty of Health Sciences Executive Dean, Professor Justin Beilby, said the West End development will take collaborative learning to the next level, supporting over 1500 students and 1000 clinicians and researchers.

"While we have long moved away from the traditional health teaching model to a curriculum that now links science and clinical exposure up front, these new facilities mean we can also, where practical, link medicine and nursing to build a team-based care system we want for the health system of the future," he said.

"It's extremely important to us that students and other key stakeholders continue to inform the co-creation process to ensure we are building facilities that will truly facilitate learning models that resonate with our students while still maintaining our famed academic rigour and ensuring our students are work-ready prior to graduation."

The Faculty of Health Sciences expects to reap benefits across all programs and schools. Initiatives include:

  • The introduction of inter-professional learning to improve outcomes in areas such as communication, infection control, ethics and Indigenous health.

  • New teaching techniques involving online media, simulations and small group learning.

  • State-of-the art wet and dry laboratory space with the ability to link new research to clinical practice.

Professor Beilby said the University is working hard on the West End development to ensure the recreation of the positive culture that exists with the RAH in the current Frome Road precinct.

"It is important for the success of the precinct that there are strong design linkages between the new RAH, the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), the University of Adelaide and UniSA, and that there is a flow that draws us all together--not just as four separate�buildings.

"The West End may not have the Botanic Gardens, but it will have the river and integration with North Terrace and the CBD which will enrich the life and activity within the precinct."

He said the University is designing an environment where health and medical research intersects with students and the community, where researchers, clinicians and students bump into each other in shared spaces, cafes and facilities, and where the community is drawn in, not shut out by a closed door.

"We are all excited by the opportunity to train students across disciplines in a future-focused curriculum that will improve health and patient care in South Australia."

Dean of Nursing, Professor Alison Kitson, said the co-location will provide opportunity for high quality inter-professional learning in key areas such as clinical skills and simulation, and some common teaching of generic clinical�knowledge.

She stressed the importance of the West End development to work as an enabler for the more effective translation of new knowledge into clinical practice.

"Doctors and nurses work closely together in clinical environments. Starting that networking during study and, where appropriate, delivering learning and simulated environments they are likely to experience in the workforce while still at University makes a lot of sense," she said.

"In the end it's all about creating work-ready professionals who know how to use the best evidence in everyday practice."

Professor Alastair Burt, Dean of Medicine, said the new clinical skills training facilities, simulation capabilities and digital learning platforms for students, and the wet and dry laboratory facilities for researchers, are all very exciting.

"Co-location in the building of different research groups and the close proximity of the building with the new Royal Adelaide Hospital and SAHMRI will inevitably encourage cross fertilisation of ideas and increase interdisciplinary research," he said.

"We strongly believe that the integration of teaching and research is crucial for our discovery-led medical program. Our students will increasingly be exposed to world-beating clinical research, enhancing their enthusiasm and involvement in translational medicine."

The West End development will be the largest of the seven Faculty of Health Sciences' seven precincts; the West End precinct, Frome Road, North Terrace, the Women's and Children's Hospital, the Lyell McEwin Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Rural and Remote Areas.

The Federal Government is providing $60 million towards the cost of the project which will be ready for students in 2017.

story by Claire Richardson



Left (from left): Professor Alison Kitson, Professor Justin Beilby and Professor Alistair Burt
Photo by James Field


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