Flinders University’s teaching resources have been bolstered with $5.4 million in Federal Government funding for buildings, equipment and clinical placements.
Federal Minister for Health, Nicola Roxon, today announced that five separate grants would be made to Flinders to support the University’s new optometry course across the State, and medical, nursing and allied health training in Daw Park, Mt Gambier and Murray Bridge.
Ms Roxon made the announcement while officially opening a new lecture theatre complex for Flinders School of Medicine at Bedford Park.
Flinders Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Barber, welcomed the Federal Government funding and applauded its commitment to the higher education sector.
“Coupled with the $6.5 million in Federal funding that largely paid for the lecture theatre complex we are opening today and the $5 million in rural education infrastructure funding announced earlier this week, the latest $5.4 million from the Federal Government will underpin a range of teaching programs in medicine, nursing and allied health,” Professor Barber said.
“The Federal Government’s commitment to new teaching spaces, equipment and clinical placements is a significant investment in teaching resources that will increase the number of badly-needed medical, nursing and allied health professionals graduating from Flinders University,” he said.
Flinders new optometry course will receive $1.5 million to support the clinical placement of students during their studies. In collaboration with optometry group, Specsavers, and a group of independent optometrists, the new funding will equip clinics with the specialist equipment required for eye testing and prescription decision-making.
Foundation Chair of Optometry and Vision Science at Flinders, Professor Konrad Pesudovs, said the new grants “will fund the building and equipping of 26 consulting rooms in optometry practices in metropolitan (17), regional (8), and remote (1) areas of South Australia”.
“This will provide sufficient infrastructure to supply over one-third of our training needs in the clinics in which students gain hands-on experience. The budget also includes funds to train optometrists as clinical supervisors through a modified Flinders University Graduate Certificate in Clinical Education,” he said.
The Federal funding will also support:
- An extension of a building currently under construction at the Repatriation General Hospital at Daw Park include more space for allied health, medicine and nursing students,
- Construction of a new building in the grounds of the Murray Bridge Soldiers Memorial Hospital site to include a clinical skills training space with a tutorial room, consulting rooms, office and amenities.
- Extension of an existing building in Mt Gambier to add three offices, two parallel consulting rooms, tutorial room, student common room and upgrade existing video conferencing equipment.
The Executive Dean of Flinders Faculty of Health Sciences, Professor Michael Kidd, said the latest funding from the Federal Government further strengthened Flinders rural network of medical, nursing and allied health training facilities.
“The Federal funding will provide infrastructure for the delivery of the new Flinders IMMERSE program (Integrated Multidisciplinary Model for Education in Rural Settings) in Mt Gambier and Murray Bridge,” Professor Kidd said.
“Flinders IMMERSE is a new program enabling students from a variety of allied health disciplines to spend a full year on clinical placement whilst continuing their academic studies. Based on the successful PRCC (Parallel Rural Community Curriculum) model, Flinders IMMERSE will attract allied health students to rural practice and up-skill and retain rural clinicians with an interest in teaching,” he said.