Unitec opens new campus at Waitakere Hospital
21 May 2012
Health campus opens at Waitakere Hospital linking education and health care in the west.
A new and innovative joint venture between Unitec and the Waitemata District Health Board will provide opportunities for learning, innovation and collaboration for health practitioners, community agencies and more than 1000 Unitec health science and social practice students in Waitakere.
The Awhina Health Campus, which was opened by the Hon Paula Bennett, Minister for Social Development and Youth Affairs, is based in the heart of Waitakere Hospital.
“This link between education, research, innovation and health is vital,” says Minister Bennett. “It ensures that the health care provided is of the highest standard and helps to achieve better health efficiencies and more integrated services for the community.”
Unitec and Waitemata District Health Board have each contributed significant funding to refurbish the ground floor of the Snelgar and Health West buildings on the Waitakere Hospital Campus. The refurbishment creates a whole floor dedicated to student and staff inter-professional education, simulation, research collaboration and innovation.
Unitec’s Executive Dean, Faculty of Social and Health Sciences, Wendy Horne says the Awhina Health Campus is a progressive step for both organisations and signals a strong commitment to the Waitakere community. “Unitec has a long standing relationship with Waitemata but this initiative takes the relationship to a higher level.”
The building is already home to the Nursing Simulation Centre, which Unitec nursing students have been using since 2006. It will soon however, become a physical and virtual hub that works alongside community organisations to encourage and promote collaboration and develop the future health workforce in West Auckland.
Awhina Director Dr Janice Chesters says collaborative spaces are at the ‘heart’ of the health campus. “We want educators, researchers, learners and others to come together in groups for projects, problem solving and opportunity identification. The open spaces have been designed to encourage creativity and enable access to local, national and global resources.”
Students and staff will benefit from a brand new 164-seat multi-purpose space with full audio visual facilities linked to the simulation lab has been developed to house training, conferences and lectures. The building also features refurbished staff offices and common areas, with vastly improved IT connectivity. Student areas that connect to a wireless network have also been created to provide comfortable learning spaces and rooms to hold practical training and examinations.
“Unitec is committed to enhancing the student experience and meeting the needs of its communities,” says Unitec’s Chief Executive, Rick Ede. “The Awhina Health Campus will contribute significantly to Unitec's and the region's wider strategy for regeneration, workforce development and community engagement. We believe this investment will generate great value for our students, staff and community.”
Since Unitec opened its doors in Henderson ten years ago over 3000 students have been trained in health related programmes. Many of these students have had the benefit of having practical training at the Waitakere Simulation Centre and in Waitakere Hospital.
Waitemata District Health Board CEO, Dale Bramley says, “The new campus will provide a stimulating learning, teaching and research environment that will meet both educational and workforce needs. When health and education providers work together everyone benefits, from the students and health professionals to the wider community.”