More than one third of the new specialist mental health nursing places announced today by the Prime Minister will be available through the University of Newcastle.
The University welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement of the 50 new commonwealth-supported places commencing in 2009.
Targetted specifically at postgraduate programs in mental health, the new places will allow
the University to train more nurses in an area of national need.
Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University's Faculty of Health, Professor Mike Calford, said the new places were a significant boost for nursing education in the region.
"Today's announcement is a vote of support for the University's commitment to nursing education," Professor Calford said.
"That the University has been allocated more than one third of the 130 new places for specialist mental health nurses, is a positive reflection on the quality of our programs."
Two new programs - a Master of Mental Health Nursing and a Master of Mental Health Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) - will be introduced next year as a result of the announcement.
Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery and Professor of Mental Health Nursing, Mike Hazelton, said the introduction of the new programs offered an opportunity for Registered Nurses to take their career to the next level by furthering their knowledge and advancing their skills.
"The new programs will give nurses the opportunity to become specifically trained in the critical area of mental health and help address a serious shortage of professionals in this area.
"It will also allow the University to further strengthen its partnership with Hunter New England Health in the development and delivery of programs and training relevant to needs of the mental health sector.
"As a mental health specialist nurse myself, I welcome the Australian Government's commitment to addressing the needs of people sufffering from what can be an extremely debilitating conditions."