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Aiming for more AINs

TAFE Western is collaborating with the Western NSW Local Health District (LHD) to develop a new course specifically to train specialist mental health staff.

The collaboration aims to train up more AINs (Assistants in Nursing), to help enrolled and registered nurses who are already stretched to meet a growing demand for their services across parts of western NSW.

"Non-government organisations like Mission Australia or CareWest can now have access to adequately-skilled clinicians to do the job that they are needing to do," said Jason Crisp, LHD Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Services Director. "We're looking at skilling up people across all fields, human services, social services, to be able to ask the right questions about mental health and, more importantly, know what to do with the answers they are given."

The new course will be delivered in seven blocks of one week's duration over a period of 12 months and has been designed to be accessible for students living in various towns around the area such as Orange, Parkes, Forbes, Mudgee, Bathurst, Cowra and Lithgow. The emphasis of the course will be on subjects that relate specifically to mental health.

"We have mental health specialists that deliver the course, and it's all about working in a multi-disciplinary team, communicating well, making sure that the messages are passed on to supervisors such as the registered nurse," said Michael Bourke, TAFE Western Educational Programs Manager. "These people are very much assisting in the care of mental health patients."