Nursing and teaching students join forces to influence the future of healthy ageing in Australia

ACU’s future nurses and educators will be challenged to consider innovative solutions to the unique problem of Australia’s rapidly ageing population through an online program in leadership development.

In collaboration with Common Purpose, a non-profit organisation that delivers leadership programs worldwide, future nurses from ACU’s Ballarat campus will join forces with aspiring educators from ACU Blacktown to develop innovative solutions to caring for ageing Australians.

The Common Purpose Global Leader Experience, which will run online from July 5 to 8, will see 76 ACU students work in cross-disciplinary teams to develop original solutions to the grand challenge: “How do we advance healthy ageing in our communities by strengthening inclusion and access?”.

While exploring new opportunities to advance healthy ageing in Australia, the students will receive expert input from dozens of community organisations, including Blacktown City Council, Ballarat City Council, Better Foundation, Orange Sky, local health care services including BHS and SJoG Healthcare, among others, who will offer insights to students to determine the key drivers of healthy ageing across both regions and more broadly the nation, such as the impact of isolation, substance abuse, and homelessness.

Students will also hear a keynote address from former human rights commission, ACU Thomas More Law School’s Adjunct Professor Chris Sidoti, for a global perspective on promoting human dignity through leadership.

ACU Provost Professor Meg Stuart said future nurses and educators in Australia would play a significant role in determining the best outcomes for all, but their influence could begin well before they graduate.

“We know that nursing and educational professionals play a vital role in the overall health of a community, beginning from birth right through to end-of-life care,” Professor Stuart said.

“Health and education professionals in particular make significant contributions to the longevity phenomenon we have been experiencing in Australia. However, engaging in the perspectives of young people, that is, our future nurses and educators, should lead to positive outcomes for ageing into the future. This is especially relevant where young people are becoming one of the dominant demographics, as shown in the 2021 Census data.

“ACU’s partnership with Common Purpose will give our students valuable insight into the needs of their local communities in Ballarat and Blacktown and equip them to make meaningful changes in the lives of all Australians.

“ACU has a proud tradition of producing agile, empathetic, and influential graduates, and our partnership with Common Purpose seeks to strengthen this resolve.”

Healthy ageing is defined by the World Health Organisation as “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age” and is a priority for ACU research, with the recent appointment of Professor of Healthy Ageing Laurie Buys.

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