North Coast nurses need more work in GP clinics

SYDNEY'S top hospitals are more likely to take on North Coast nursing students who have done the ground work in local GP clinics, Southern Cross University has found.

A work placement at the Bangalow Medical Centre helped secure Gold Coast student Bridget Barnes a spot at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital this week and SCU hopes more local opportunities will be a springboard for future graduates.

Bridget, 21, was part of a Primary Care program which allows students to complete their training in hospitals or clinics.

At the Bangalow clinic she became confident with subcutaneous and intramuscular injections, performed and interpreted electrocardiograms, dressed wounds and learned how to remove plaster casts, triage, develop care plans and refer patients to allied health practitioners.

Bangalow Medical Centre nurse Rhonda West said the more nurses were exposed to general practice, the better the supply of future nurses would be.

She said the mentoring experience was worthwhile and described Bridget as an "exceptional nurse" who became one of them team.

SCU clinical teacher Lissa Ingram called on GP clinics from Tweed Heads to Taree to consider taking on a nursing student and broaden the variety of work placements.

"The GP clinic is a valuable training ground - our student nurses get lots of one-on-one attention from the supervising nurse," Ms Ingram said.

"As well, they get to practise a range of skills, in particular communication skills because the students need to establish a relationship with the patient within 10 minutes."

SCU placements run throughout the year.

GP clinics interested in taking on a nursing student can contact Lissa Ingram on 0447 624 472 or Anna Foster on 0458 761 427 for more information.

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