The nursing labs, together with new wet labs for biomedical science teaching and research, will cost $5.8 million, with La Trobe contributing $2.5 million to the initiative.
The new facilities will help address the increasing demand for local nursing and healthcare workforce, and will allow the University to introduce a new Bachelor of Biomedical Science from 2024.
La Trobe Vice Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO said the funding is testament to the role the University plays in building a strong regional health workforce.
“Regional communities like Mildura are crying out for more nurses and other health care professionals – and this investment in modern, high-tech facilities to complement our strong links into partner healthcare organisations across the region means La Trobe will be even better placed to ease some of that pressure,” Professor Dewar said.
Professor Dewar said new facilities will also open the door to further opportunities for local students seeking to study science and rural medicine.
“Not only will the new biomedical wet labs allow us to establish a Bachelor of Biomedical Science in Mildura from 2024, they will also bring us one step closer to realising our ambition to establish a new rural medical training pathway in the Mallee region,” Professor Dewar said.
“We thank the Australian Government for its investment, and for Dr Anne Webster MP’s local advocacy. La Trobe looks forward to continuing our discussions with government on the opportunity to train future rural doctors in the region – a program that has already been very successful at our Bendigo and Albury-Wodonga campuses.”
Dean of La Trobe Rural Health School Professor Jane Mills said the new facilities will further cement La Trobe’s reputation for world-class rural health education, including in nursing.
“These new facilities will give our Mildura nursing students the best possible start in their careers, allowing them to learn in an environment that closely resembles a hospital or other clinical setting,” Professor Mills said.
“Nursing students will have the opportunity to practice the skills and techniques they will need in a real-world situation, while being safely supported by skilled teaching staff.”
Construction of the new facilities will begin later this year. The campus currently trains around 120 nurses at any time, across the three-year degree.
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Image, left to right: Professor Jane Mills, Dr Anne Webster MP, Sandra Connor, Professor John Dewar AO, the Hon Bridget McKenzie MP