11 December 2008

More than 1000 new health professionals will join the workforce following graduations at The University of Queensland this week.

This includes around 280 new doctors, 115 nurses and more than 50 dentists.

UQ graduates will also boost the ranks of practitioners in the fields of audiology, dentistry, health sciences, exercise science, medicine, nursing, oral health, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, pharmacy, physical education, public health and speech pathology.

The total number of UQ health graduates is almost 1200, including postgraduate coursework and research higher degree students across a range of disciplines, including mental health, advanced pharmacy practice and sports coaching.

Despite the current economic downturn, job prospects for the new health graduates were excellent, according to Faculty of Health Sciences Executive Dean, Professor Peter Brooks.

“There continues to be a shortage of health professionals and despite tightening in some areas of the job market, very few UQ health graduates will have difficulty finding employment," Professor Brooks said.

Professor Brooks said preventive health was an emerging area that was likely to see employment growth.

“Currently only five percent of our health budget is spent on disease prevention and health promotion. The increasing number of people with chronic disease requiring healthcare is placing a burden on our health system and sending a clear message that we need to keep people in good health, not simply treat them when they become ill,” he said.

Nursing students and the first graduates of the new Bachelor of Health Sciences program attended ceremonies at UQ’s Ipswich campus on Monday. Most health students will graduate this Friday at ceremonies at the St Lucia Campus. The ceremony for students in the schools of Dentistry, Human Movement Studies, Pharmacy and Population Health will be held at 11am. School of Medicine students will graduate at 2pm and Health and Rehabilitation Sciences students at 6pm.

Media: Faculty Communications Officer, Marlene McKendry (0401 99 6847).