Ms Wendy Johnson
Clinical Education Coordinator
School of Nursing and Midwifery
- Phone: (02) 40553311
Shaping the nurses of tomorrow
Wendy Johnson is passionate about providing student nurses with quality clinical education. Her goal is to help produce highly skilled graduates through an exceptional educational experience.
In her role as Clinical Education Coordinator, Wendy Johnson is helping to shape the next generation of nurses by providing quality clinical placements for the University of Newcastle nursing students each year.
“These students require a total of 4800 placement opportunities per year, so my role is to ensure excellence in the provision of those placements.”
Wendy’s role is largely dedicated to developing relationships and placement capacity in clinical and community facilities. In addition, she manages university educators that support students on placement.
Placements are mainly situated in NSW and are pivotal to imparting students with experiential learning and skills development. The majority are in affiliation with large partners such as the Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD), the Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) and the Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD). There are significant private partners involved too including aged care facilities and private hospitals.
Wendy’s high-level goals are two-fold: to increase the quality provision of clinical placement opportunities and to improve the clinical facilitation students receive. These are crucial to delivering an exceptional educational experience which, in turn, develops exceptional nurses.
“Clinical education is the cornerstone of our program; we can’t produce excellent registered nurses without it, and our healthcare system and the wellbeing of our communities depend on this.”
Laying solid foundations
Wendy has worked for 23 years as a nurse in a variety of roles, predominantly with a clinical focus in haematology. As an individual of high personal standards, she understands what makes a good nurse and is committed to providing upcoming registered nurses with practical experience that equips them to excel.
“As a clinical nurse, I have significant experience in acute care management providing care for our community when they’ve needed it. This experience has ensured that I have a great understanding of what skills and capabilities students need when they become employed.
“My focus is on translating my professional experience as a registered nurse into preparing our students’ professional outlook and the reality of a clinical workforce.”
Wendy champions workforce development; she knows its value and promotes its benefits by ensuring the next generation of registered nurses receive essential training that lays solid, pragmatic foundations. Thirteen years of managing an acute clinical unit at a large hospital in the Newcastle region has given her firsthand knowledge of the varying levels of competency graduate nurses enter the workforce with.
Some skills, Wendy states, can’t be taught in a classroom or perfected without practice, which is why good clinical placements matter so much.
“Unless we invest in quality clinical education, we are not going to graduate registered nurses that are life-ready with the skills and capabilities to be a good health practitioner.
“Succession planning is crucial in nursing and we need enough qualified and accredited nursing staff to provide excellent care. Nursing is a great career, but to be a really good nurse requires practice and real-world experience.”
Wendy’s clinical background has instilled in her a comprehensive understanding of the roles and responsibilities in the healthcare workforce. It’s knowledge that guides her in recognising effective contact points for communication and enables the development of mutually beneficial relationships with clinical partners.
"Strong relationships lead to quality clinical placement opportunities as both the students and partners have clear expectations regarding what each can bring to the opportunity.”
In securing these placements, Wendy offers students an incredible opportunity that enhances their journey and often excites them about their future career. None of it is possible though, without healthy partnerships.
“When we support and invest in our partners, they will provide a great learning experience for the students.”
Shaping the next generation
When Wendy takes stock of her own career, there are several defining moments she’s extremely proud of.
“I have always found it very satisfying when there has been a really difficult situation for patients, and I have provided leadership to my team in creating a positive outcome.
“It’s very rewarding when students see that this is possible by drawing on their skills, knowledge and experience."
Looking forward, Wendy is particularly excited about growing the next generation of nurses. They are integral to the health workforce, which makes her even more passionate about helping students find their fit and about developing high-calibre professionals.
“The career of a registered nurse is very challenging and offers a broad scope of experiences. My focus is to enable students to find the part of being a registered nurse that excites them.
“If we can give students a variety of professional experiences that help them find their place in the clinical workforce, then we will succeed. “