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Reaping the benefits of postgrad qualifications

Nurses should seriously consider continuing their studies to advance their careers, writes Maxine Duke

The importance of postgraduate education for nurses and midwives should not be underestimated.

Advanced development of knowledge and skills underpins the status of the profession, ensures nurses and midwives practise to the highest evidence-based standards, and preserves the quality and safety of care delivery. High-quality patient care depends on nurses continuing to advance our discipline through research and education.

The completion of a postgraduate qualification brings professional, personal and financial rewards to nurses. Such courses can usually be claimed as educational expenses for employed nurses and midwives. There are also some Commonwealth supported places available in the Master of Nursing Practice, including speciality programs. Most students are eligible for a higher-degree allowance on completion of the course, and in addition, many achieve promotions to become clinical nurse specialists. Postgraduate education is a great investment for nurses professionally and personally.

The postgraduate programs in the Master of Nursing Practice at Deakin University’s school of nursing and midwifery are particularly suited to registered nurses and midwives wishing to enter a speciality field of nursing, midwifery or research. Specialist programs are available in diabetes education, intensive care, cardiac care, emergency care, critical care, and perioperative and perianaesthesia nursing. These programs prepare nurses/midwives to provide comprehensive care and meet the challenges of contemporary healthcare environments. The unique structure of Deakin programs enables specialist nurses to develop high-level critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Each program offers a professional platform for building evidence-based practice, leadership and change-management skills.

All these courses have been developed in collaboration with our industry partners to ensure the curriculum is relevant to the healthcare needs of our communities. Most courses offer a superior located experience on campus at Burwood that can be videoconferenced to rural and regional areas. These classes are also recorded digitally for later review by students if desired. Classes include the use of team-based learning, a premium campus-based interactive, energetic learning experience that enables students to develop teamwork and communication skills while applying their knowledge to complex clinical scenarios. Each course is also offered via cloud learning, giving rural and regional students access to a quality educational experience in their own time and location.

Deakin’s courses are taught by highly experienced staff who have been recognised for their expertise as clinicians as well as teachers and researchers. As a result, student satisfaction with the experience and skill development is very high. The research programs of the teaching staff are related to not only critical care outcomes but also best practice in teaching and learning. Critical care suite course leader Associate Professor Judy Currey, Associate Professor Julie Considine,

Associate Professor Diane Phillips and Dr Bodil Rasmussen have all received prestigious teaching awards from Deakin University, as well as national recognition by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council for outstanding contributions to student learning.

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