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New labs equip next generation of health workers

The ominous tone of a flat line chimes through TAFE Queensland’s Southport campus as student nurses furiously pump the chest of an interactive computer-controlled mannequin in a simulation lab. One nursing student calls out ‘keep going’ as another hovers over the mannequin's face with an oxygen mask. All while a teacher watches on from behind a glass panel, controlling the patient’s symptoms and assessing the students' responses.

This high-fidelity simulation room is a critical component of a nursing students training and is one of the highlights in the new $10 million clinical labs at TAFE Queensland’s Southport campus.

This state-of-the-art facility is a 64-bed replicated hospital environment including two four-bed simulation training rooms.

“Walking in is like stepping into a real hospital supplied with all the equipment you need to treat and care for patients,” said nursing student Sally Davis.

The Director of Health and Nursing at TAFE Queensland on the Gold Coast Deb Blow, said health students couldn’t be more prepared for the workplace after training at the Southport campus.

“Students are learning in a lifelike medical environment that will prepare them for employment when they go out into the industry. They will be well versed with the equipment and familiar with the setting,” she said.

Ms Blow said one of the most exciting additions to the new clinical labs is the augmented reality equipment with hologram patients.

“Students can put on a headset and see inside the human body as far as looking into the heart or a vein to get a deeper understanding of what they're learning in the classroom,” she said.

Not only do the new facilities cater for nursing students but also other areas of the health care industry including community, aged, disability, allied health, pathology, primary health and hospitals.

A specialised rehabilitation training room is complete with a medical rehabilitation treadmill, recumbent bicycle, stationary bicycles, parallel bars, practice stairs for rehabilitation, a diverse range of mobility aides, as well as ceiling and mobile hoists. There are also two training bathrooms with capacity for student participation and observation.

These new facilities have allowed TAFE Queensland to cater for the increasing student numbers at the Southport campus, with nursing and allied health enrolments up by 40 per cent over the last financial year with more than 3,680 student enrolments.

TAFE Queensland’s Diploma of Nursing (HLT54115) is the minimum level of study required to become an enrolled nurse in Australia. According to Seek data, the industry is currently booming with the national job growth for enrolled nurses predicted to increase 11.9 per cent by 2024.