Nursing program comes of age with major expansion

Thursday, 25 November 2010

The University of Adelaide's nursing program is celebrating its 15th anniversary tonight, with plans to become a fully fledged School from 1 January 2011 and significantly boost student numbers within five years.

Since its formation as a Discipline in 1995 in collaboration with the Royal Adelaide Hospital, the Nursing program has grown to more than 550 students across a whole suite of programs.

In 2011, Nursing will become a stand-alone School within the University of Adelaide's Faculty of Health Sciences, investing in clinical research and helping to shape the future of health care in South Australia.

Professor Alison Kitson, the Head of the Nursing Discipline, says the transition to a School will raise its profile and strengthen existing partnerships with industry, contributing to improved, clinically-focused teaching and research.

"We have plans to double our intake in the Bachelor of Nursing program from 100 new students per year in 2011 to more than 200 by 2015," Professor Kitson says.

"We are also introducing a new Graduate Entry Masters program for graduates who want to pursue nursing as a profession. This will appeal to mature students with different life experiences."

The University has expanded its nursing programs beyond Adelaide, with a Bachelor program offered in Singapore, and postgraduate coursework degrees delivered online in a flexible program to suit working nurses.

"We are also building strategic alliances with nursing colleagues at universities in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam," Professor Kitson says.

An increasingly popular postgraduate course is the Master of Nurse Practitioner, which gives registered nurses the skills to perform specialised clinically-based functions, such as prescribing, ordering pathology tests, medical imaging and referrals in some cases.

"This qualification will enable nursing care to be more integrated and centred on the needs of the patient, not to mention being more cost effective for the health service."

The anticipated demand for these skills, particularly in rural and regional areas, is expected to see nursing student numbers at the University of Adelaide grow substantially in the next few years.

"From the start, the Discipline of Nursing has endeavoured to be one of Australia's most progressive nursing departments," Professor Kitson says. "We are committed to building an enviable reputation for our development of clinical practice and high-quality research."

The Discipline will host a Crystal Celebration tonight at the National Wine Centre to mark both its 15th birthday and the transition from a Discipline to a School in 2011.


Contact Details

Professor Alison Kitson
Head of Nursing
Faculty of Health Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0511
Mobile: 0488 549 696

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762