THE CORONAVIRUS pandemic won't affect how many nurses attend to Ararat and Wimmera residents in 2021, according to Federation University.
On Friday, a spokeswoman for the higher education and TAFE provider confirmed the pandemic forced them to change the placements some Diploma of Nursing students need to undertake to satisfy their course requirements.
"In some cases, such as when operating theatres closed due to restrictions on elective surgery, students were allocated alternative placements," she said.
"However, it is not anticipated the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the ability of regional nursing students to compete the placements required to graduate in 2020."
It followed East Grampians Health Service director of development and improvement Mario Santilli saying some students of Diploma of Nursing Course at Federation University TAFE had had mental health placements cancelled due to the pandemic.
"They do the placements at Allied Health or psychiatric services in region, and my understanding is the course requires 80 hours of placement (in mental health)," he said.
"We have 20 Diploma of Nursing students this year. I don't know how many of those have completed their mental health placements."
The partnership with Federation University forms part of a two-year arrangement under the state government's Free TAFE initiative, designed to secure the region's nursing workforce.
Mr Santilli said the "expected timeframe" within which nursing students completed their studies was December this year.
Mr Santilli said the medical service was looking to employ some of the graduates of the diploma program starting in 2021.
"Some of those (students) are already working for us in a different capacity and will be able to continue some of those while we are waiting on further information about when graduation may be able to occur," he said.
"The pandemic is affecting placements across the board. We would probably expect to see some more of that now with Melbourne in lockdown and students (with no) ability to travel from metropolitan centres to placements in rural and regional setting."
Most of Federation University's undergraduate and postgraduate services are being delivered online, while TAFE has resumed with mixed modes of delivery.
The Mail-Times has contacted Federation University for comment.
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