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School’s ‘health ward’ a first for Sunshine Coast


School’s ‘health ward’ a first for Sunshine Coast

A simulated hospital ward is giving students at a Coast high school real training and a pathway into a medical career.

As you walk into the Kawana Waters State College model health ward, you could be forgiven for thinking you had stepped into a Sunshine Coast University Hospital room.

Everything from the high-end electric beds to the colour coded switch panels and the accompanying equipment, mirrors the environment qualified health professionals work in every day.

The college received equipment donations from Spotless, the company responsible for kitting out the new SCUH, and has invested thousands in electronic equipment for a nurses station and audio visual gear to allow students to watch as their peers work their way through scenarios given to them by registered nurse and health teacher Helen Knowles.

More equipment, including curtains for the ward, more prosthetic limbs for practising cannulation and computer stations, will arrive in the coming weeks.

This new model health ward is the first of its kind on the Sunshine Coast and allows students to gain practical hands-on experience while studying a TAFE Certificate II and III in Basic Health Care.

Knowles says 10 Year 12 students graduated with the higher qualification last year and this year, 12 Year 12 and 11 Year 11 students will make up a composite class of 23 to study the curriculum in the new setting.

“Health care is more than just nurses and doctors, there are a host of occupations out there that these students will have a head start towards pursuing if they wish,” she says.

“I have been nursing for 34 years and I don’t want to do half a job or romanticise the industry, I want them to be ready and have the increased knowledge and skills they need. This will now be possible with this facility.”

Principal Colin Allen-Waters says the facility provides “a clear employment pathway” for students and a Memorium of Understanding with the University of the Sunshine Coast allows students who complete the Advanced First Aid course and the 18 months’ worth of study for Certificate II and III in Basic Health Care first preference into tertiary health courses to continue their study.

“We are proud of both the model health ward within the school, as well as our teachers making a difference inside the Sunshine Coast University Hospital School as we build the next generation in more ways than one,” Allen-Waters says.

The health ward was opened on June 14 by Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick, Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service chief executive Kevin Hegarty and Mayor Mark Jamieson.

Health businesses on the Coast interested in hosting students for a week of work experience, a requirement for their TAFE qualification, can email Cindy Steele at


Roxy has been a journalist for more than a decade and joined the MWP team at the end of 2016. She is a chocolate-powered writing machine who loves to engage with the Coast community, uncover untold inspirational stories and share information that can help people.

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