Nursing In Queensland
Rosalyn Reilly University of Southern Queensland
It was announced in August 2000 that the University of Southern Queensland was the joint winner of the Australian University of the Year 2000-2001 Award, chosen by the Good Universities Guides. USQ received this accolade for its expertise in "Developing the e-university".
In 1999, USQ was the inaugural winner of the ICDE Prize for ON and OFF Campus Excellence, and the Export Category of the annual Multicultural Marketing Awards, run by the Ethnic Affairs Commission of New South Wales.
The Chair of the Commission, Stephan Kerkyasharian, commented, "USQ has a world-wide reputation for attracting to Queensland and taking Australian education off-shore through its highly sophisticated on-line course delivery. This level of success has been achieved not just by advertising overseas, but by effectively using the cultural resources of the staff."
It may be seen from these awards that USQ has a commitment to excellence in distance education and flexible delivery. Nursing students are offered a choice, as they may study either on or off-campus, by traditional distance education and online. This offers accessibility, support, new ways of learning and flexibility.
With more emphasis being placed on nurses to undertake further study, the impact of distance education allows nurses to study at home despite their postcodes or the location of the university. It also allows them to continue in their normal employment with minimal disruption to family life.
Access to lecturers may be gained by several methods. Students can use the traditional methods of ringing or writing, but all students have access to USQConnect, which allows them to e-mail and participate in online discussion groups or chat rooms. Teleconferencing and videoconferencing are used to conduct tutorials.
The concept of distance education is new to some countries, and students can experience some problems in having their academic awards accepted. This is slowly changing, as governments become aware of the advantages. We are experiencing an increase in students from overseas, as distance education has encouraged more nurses to undertake further study with the same opportunities as other professionals. This also means that nurses may study in any area of choice. In the past, nurses did not have this opportunity, and were forced to undertake study in disciplines other than nursing. Distance and online education offers many opportunities to a wide range of accredited courses, which can only benefit nursing.
The Department of Nursing at USQ has been offering distance education for registered nurses for ten years. The Bachelor of Nursing (post-registration) is available for registered nurses predominately by distance education. While this course has attracted large numbers in Australia, it has also proved popular internationally.
Some registered nurses students chose to come to USQ specifically to under- take this course. We have had students enrolled in the Bachelor of Nursing (post-registration) from 21 countries.
Postgraduate courses are offered in a choice of discipline areas at Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Master and PhD level, all conducted via distance mode. The Graduate Diploma of Nursing (Mental Health) and the Master of Midwifery are conducted in partnership with participating hospitals/but have not been offered off-shore at this stage. In 2001/the Graduate Certificate/Master of Advanced Nursing Practice (Rural and Remote) will be offered by distance education. The aim of this course is to prepare the registered nurse for rural and remote settings. The Department of Nursing is committed to nurse education by all modes of delivery.
University of Southern Queensland
Tel: 00 612 4631 2100