Do you want to have an essential and impactful career in the health sector? Learn about the Bachelor of Nursing at RMIT, and find out how it will prepare you to work in a hospital and any other healthcare setting as a registered nurse.
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Hi, everyone. My name's Karen Livesay, and I'm the Discipline Leader of the higher education nursing program here at RMIT. Nursing has two entry points to practice, the diploma of nursing, which is also available through the vocational education college here at RMIT, and that leads to registration as an enrolled nurse. Or the bachelor of nursing, which leads to registration as a registered nurse. Today, I'm going to be telling you a little bit about the bachelor of nursing in the program here at RMIT. Students complete this program, and then apply for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia to be able to work as a registered nurse.
[Wominjeka 00:00:45]. This means welcome in the Victorian Aboriginal language of the Warundjeri people. Before I start, I'd like to acknowledge the people of the Woiwurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin nations, on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the university. RMIT respectfully acknowledges the ancestors and elders past, present and emerging. And while we conduct our work remotely, I want to pay my respects to the wider unceded lands of this nation.
Okay. We're going to spend a little bit of time now looking at the bachelor of nursing program and talking about how this program will prepare you to work in a hospital or any other healthcare setting as a registered nurse. I want to spend a bit of time looking at some of the features of the program and talking about how they mesh together to help you to learn all of the various skills and attributes that you need. Graduates complete this program and they have both theoretical knowledge as well as clinical skills. Often students think to themselves that clinical skills is all that it takes to become a good nurse, but really a good nurse can't begin to make decisions and think critically and apply clinical reasoning if they don't have sound theoretical knowledge. So the program's designed around you developing both. You need to be able to think like a nurse, understand what you're doing, but also have the psychomotor skills in order to be able to produce excellent nursing practice.
So what do we do?
Well, there's clinical practice in every single year of this program. Students don't go out on clinical practice placements in the first semester because you clearly need to develop some skills and be safe as a practitioner in a clinical setting. But from the second semester onwards and in every semester after that, you will have a clinical practice experience in a healthcare setting. And those healthcare settings we use are around a whole range of metropolitan and rural areas. So you get really wide experience of what nursing practice looks like in a range of different contexts.
In order to get you ready for that practice, we also give you time in what we call clinical laboratories. We have brand new study, the clinical laboratories at Bundoora that have just been opened. They are as close as it's possible to get to a real healthcare setting. And this is a space in which our students learn and practice and work with our facilitators, many who are in fact currently practicing nurses themselves, and start to develop their foundation skills. This is a safe place for you to learn and a safe place for you to get better, make mistakes if you need to, where no patients get hurt, but it's a great space to learn.
Now, what do we use instead of patients?
We have state-of-the-art computerized, what we call mannequins. They're actually life-size human simulators that do all sorts of incredibly clever things to help you practice your nursing skills in those labs.
But it's not just about acute care settings in hospitals. So you'll have opportunities to learn about mental health in this nursing course, as well as indigenous health. So that we're thinking about the indigenous health requirements for people in our communities, as well as think about professional development support for you as you move towards graduate employment.
The entry requirements for the program look kind of complex I know. Obviously for those of you who are coming from secondary school, we're looking at ATAR in the range of about 65, but we also need you to have completed certain subjects. For the bachelor of nursing, you need to have unit one and two, a satisfactory completion in any of the mathematics, as well as at least a study score of 30 in English, or 25 any of the other English language courses.
English language is a really important prerequisite, I suppose, requirement for nursing and the governing authorities for nursing have required universities across Australia now to ask students to provide evidence of them meeting certain English language requirements. That you need to either sign that you meet those requirements or provide proof or undertake an English language test to demonstrate that you meet those requirements. The details of them are misspelled out across our website and you really should take some time to read those and familiarize yourself with them because they can seem to be quite complex. But it is an important aspect that all nurses can communicate adequately with all patients, regardless of their ethnicity or language group. And therefore, we all need to demonstrate that we've got an adequate grasp of English language.
For other requirements, if you're not a secondary school graduate, then you need to have a look and see what the requirements are on the website. But they include things like entering into our program with diploma or coming in and doing the RMIT foundation studies program in order to demonstrate post-secondary level qualification.
There's two ways you can enter into the bachelor of nursing program. You can come directly into the bachelor of nursing program, and it's a three-year degree. For other students who come in via the diploma program... Remember, I spoke in the introduction about the two levels of nursing practice in qualifications. If you come in via the diploma program and become an enrolled nurse, and then pathway, as shown in this slide, pathway B, into the bachelor of nursing, then you do the diploma in two years, and then you do the bachelor of nursing in a further two to two and a half years. Now we put those two-year levels down there because if you enter the program at the start of the year in February, then we would expect that you would complete it in two years. If you enter into the mid-year intake for second semester, which commences usually in late July, then it will take you two and a half years to complete the program because of the sequence of the courses in the program.
Speaking about the sequence of the courses in the program, here is a map of what the program looks like. And I'm just going to spend a moment going through some of the features of that, so that they make sense to you. I've already alluded to the fact that in your very first semester, and you're reading the table here across ways, you'll do an introduction to nursing studies and start to learn some basic skills. This is stuff that enables you to go out into practice and work like a nurse. For example, measuring what we call vital signs, blood pressures and pulses and respiratory rates and things like that. Learning about the basics of infection control. That's pretty timely at the moment as we think about infection and control and the importance of it. And obviously we would never put a student out into practice until they'd learned those basic skills for their own safety, as well as the safety of the people that they would be caring for.
Then if you look at the second semester, more nursing skills, some additional ideas around systems physiology, as we start to build up that theoretical knowledge, and now a practical experience. On this occasion, three weeks, generally in an aged care or subacute setting. In second year, it becomes much more about acute care settings. So medical surgical nursing, and we also start looking at mental health nursing. Because in pep two, which you'll see on the third line, you start to do practice in areas like major metropolitan public hospitals and inpatient mental health units. That continues in the second semester of second year, where we also study medical surgical nursing, and now we look at complex mental health conditions, trauma, and recovery. And once again, we follow that up with a placement in an acute care style of setting. Those placements, as I said earlier, it could be in metro areas, they could be in rural areas or they could be in regional. And we also look at the indigenous health unit in that year and semester.
In the final year, we're talking about complex patients, as well as starting to think about preparing you for practice. So making that transition from being a student, to being a practitioner. So complex nursing care, preparation for practice and leadership, another clinical placement there as well. Typically in an area with quite high acuity, so where the patients are quite sick. And then in the final semester of the course, we look at healthcare informatics and research critique. How do you be a consumer and use research to inform your practice? There's lots of digitalization in healthcare these days, and we spend a bit of time looking exactly at that.
And one of the other benefits we have at our new labs that we've just opened in Bundoora is that we've fitted a digital health medical record system. We think at the moment, we're the only university in Australia who's providing students with a builtin medical record system. And that reflects exactly what's happening in our key public hospitals at the moment.
We also spend some time looking at transcultural primary and community health. So these are some of the other areas that have an impact on health and the places that healthcare practice occurs. And we finish with a longer clinical placement, a consolidation clinical placement, where students really, really get an idea of working at the level of a registered nurse immediately before they enter practice in the following year, in a graduate nurse program usually. Students get one elective at that point in time as well, and there's a range of electives that you can choose from. So they may have a focus on mental health, on acute care, on specialty nursing like pediatrics, or they might be focused more on the way healthcare is delivered in Australia.
I've mentioned our nursing simulation labs or our nursing labs already in this presentation, but this is that space and really wanting to focus on that, that you get to practice. Now, we never get good at doing things just by learning them once or doing them once. And we know that students need to go back into this area and repeat practice until they feel comfortable and confident and able to carry out the procedures that we're teaching them. And that's the beauty of these simulated spaces where you can go in and practice over and over and over and hone your skill and your confidence. Think about it a little bit like learning to drive or learning to swim. You would never ever just have one lesson and then head out and do it by yourself. And nursing practice requires, like I said, the use of theory and critical thinking, as well as certain, what we call psychomotor skills. That's the ability to make your hands do dextrous things that they need to do in order to perform procedures. And all of that is the stuff you'll practice in these simulation labs.
I'm just focusing here on how students feel when they emerge as graduates. And we've got just a profile here from Elizabeth, who is one of our past graduates. And she says, "The skills I learned at RMIT were immeasurable and have allowed me to step into a nursing position with absolute confidence." And let me tell you, that is exactly how we aim for all of our students to feel on graduation. And this is why we put such importance on this crossover between theory and practice and bringing them together and not having a so-called theory practice gap, where you're left feeling strong in one and not in the other. It's all about the partnership of both of those components of this program.
Now we do have a lot of industry involvement in our program. It is extensive and we think that's incredibly important. Let me tell you why we think that's important. Healthcare changes rapidly. Healthcare is a moving dynamic environment with lots and lots of innovation. And whilst all of the people who work in our program are qualified healthcare practitioners and have connections to practice by having very close ties to industry, what we make sure of is that the program we're teaching is always contemporary, always reflects what's going on in practice so that what we're teaching you is exactly what is being practiced in the real world. We do that by working closely with our clinical partners. We invite healthcare agencies from a really broad cross section of where our students practice to come and meet with us and participate in what we call industry advisory groups, where they get to review the work we're doing and tell us what they'd like to see different, or give us feedback on what things may be coming up as changes in their environment that need to be incorporated into our course.
They also teach in our program. We use clinical practitioners who are working in practice to teach into our program in places like the labs. So you could have the same lab teacher who teaches you in the labs and then works with you in practice when you're out doing a placement. And we think that crossover is important as well because it helps our teachers and our students have good bonds, good relationships, and good expectations of where they should be at, at any given time in the program.
Where can nursing take?
Well, everyone thinks about nursing happening at a bedside in a hospital. And it does. A lot of nursing happens at bedsides in hospitals. So of course, acute care public and private hospitals rehab units, but we want you to know that nursing happens in lots of other environments, aside from hospitals. So graduates from our RMIT's bachelor of nursing end up working in community and public health settings. They work in schools, both primary and secondary. They work in all sorts of industrial places. So big factories, as well as small ones. Places like maternal and child health if they specialize in those fields. They might work in remote areas like the Royal Flying Doctor Service. We have a colleague and one of our teachers who works in an indigenous area, way out in the outback at the moment. Nurses work in tourism, they work on cruise ships, they work in the defense forces, they work of course, in places like mental health, both in the community and in inpatient settings, as well as working in people's homes with them. So don't think of nursing as just a space where you can work in a hospital, work shift work, and work at the bedside because it's way broader than that in terms of the career outcomes.
Now, I want to just mention some of the important dates. Generally, for our year one and three students, orientation and semester one commences each year at the end of February, early March. So for 2021, we're looking at the 1st of March. The last day to enroll is generally the 8th of March. That is one week after the semester commences. That may seem like it's quite strict, but it's really about you not wanting to miss out on any content and we not wanting you to miss out on any content by arriving any later than that. For year two, because of the way our clinical practice units work, the students actually come in and start a little bit earlier. So the commencement date is generally around the first week of February, and we communicate that to all applicants who are contemplating coming into year two. So if you've got a diploma of nursing or for those students who are moving from year one to year two, and they get those dates confirmed in the year beforehand. So we expect that to be the first week of February.
That covers everything that I'm going to say about the bachelor of nursing. Thanks very much for listening and hope to see you soon.
Let me end by saying thank you for taking the time to hear about our fantastic nursing programs at RMIT. And for more information about the nursing programs, check out our website or call study at RMIT on 9925-2260. Take care and have a lovely day.
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