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The North West Academic Centre, which was established in December 2016 is based on the grounds of Bourke Hospital.

Dr Tara Walker, the Centre’s Director, welcomed Jackie Davis as the Education Support Officer in February. Jackie will be responsible for providing logistical and other supports for our students, supervising clinicians, as well as a first point of contact for universities interested in sending their students to experience the unique training opportunities offered in communities across the northwest region of NSW.

The Centre team is now working with the Western NSW Local Health District to manage the allocation of routine student placements requested through ClinConnect. The interest and support from local health services and clinicians is already delivering dividends as the number of students booked in for clinical placements is increasing. Furthermore, the Local Health District is now offering new graduate nursing positions in the region. It is important that our students are well-supported and welcomed into the community to ensure they have a rewarding placement and look favourably on returning to the region after graduation. We have already delivered the first round of clinical supervisor training across the region for local clinicians. Special thanks to staff from the Western NSW LHD who joined our teaching team.

Over the next 12 months we will be consulting with health services, other agencies and community groups across the region to help align training programs with community need. Already we have agreed to invest in allied health placements in partnership with the Walgett Aboriginal Health Service, trialling interdisciplinary nursing, speech pathology and occupational therapy placements at Bourke and Walgett. In addition we are investigating the potential to place oral health students across the region, in collaboration with Western NSW LHD and Charles Sturt University.