Mount Gambier’s hi-tech facilities officially open for business

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd speaks at the opening of the new Mount Gambier Learning Centre. COMMUNITY
UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd speaks at the opening of the new Mount Gambier Learning Centre.

UniSA’s new state-of-the art Learning Centre was officially opened in Mount Gambier last month, showcasing some of the most sophisticated facilities for teaching and learning in regional Australia.

Long time UniSA supporters Bob and Gayle Cowan with Vice Chancellor and President David Lloyd.Long time UniSA supporters Bob and Gayle Cowan with Vice Chancellor and President David Lloyd.

More than 200 guests attended the official opening on April 19, including committed local supporters of UniSA, Bob and Gayle Cowan, who were honoured through the naming of the main auditorium in recognition of their philanthropic contributions to regional education.

The centre includes new collaborative learning spaces and modern teaching facilities all linked through a central piazza where students can relax and interact.

One of the key features is the hi-tech health education facilities; supporting more local nurses to study and stay in the South East of SA and Victoria’s Western Districts.

Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says the purpose-built experiential Horizon Hospital and Health Service is an outstanding aspect of the facility.

“It’s a suite built to replicate an actual functioning hospital and health service staffed by practicing clinicians where students are rostered onto ‘shifts’ and allocated to care for virtual patients,” Prof Lloyd says.

Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd and Associate Professor Judy Nagy with long time UniSA supporters Bob and Gayle Cowan.

UniSA’s Head of School of Nursing and Midwifery, Professor Carol Grech, says students are now able to access real-life simulation resources of the same quality as their metropolitan counterparts.

“Through the use of advanced digital technologies in our simulated Horizon Hospital and Health Service facility our students engage in real-life experiences every time they walk in the door,” Prof Grech says.

“The School of Nursing and Midwifery has created a web-based online learning resource, a kind of simulated city called the City of Horizon. It replicates a typical Australian regional centre with a population of about 30,000 residents.

“Images, audio and video resources depict a group of city residents who share their life histories and health conditions with our students who then get to know these residents as individuals as they would in real world practice situations.”

Prof Grech says being able to stay local is an enabler for students to gain nursing and midwifery qualifications and then take up positions in local hospitals and health services.

Third year nursing student Rachel Stephens lives in Casterton, Victoria, about 45 minutes from Mount Gambier and is very grateful for the opportunity to study close to home and with some degree of flexibility.

Rachel started first year of her studies in Adelaide but transferred to Mount Gambier after struggling to live and study so far away from home.

“Being able to study in Mount Gambier makes things so much easier for me and to be able to study in such a wonderful facility is quite overwhelming,” Rachel says.

““I’ve had sessions in the simulated Horizon Hospital and Health Service and they were great because it is like a real ward.

“It’s wonderful how much has been invested into our practical experience.

“Being a regional centre, we’re lucky with the facilities we have and I would love to stay around the area and nurse, so am working towards securing a graduate positon as close to home as possible.”

Find information about programs available to study at Mount Gambier here.

Watch the launch video.

See photos from the launch.

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