Two universities have joined forces to help attract more health students to rural areas, including Bega.
It is much broader than just the hospital.The University of Canberra's executive dean for the Faculty of Health Sciences Professor Michelle Lincoln
Construction began this week on a new federally funded joint-venture between the University of Canberra and the Australian National University, right next to the South East Regional Hospital.
Set to be completed in April next year, similar health training centres for UC medical, nursing, midwifery and allied health students will also be built in Cooma and Moruya.
The University of Canberra's executive dean for the Faculty of Health Sciences, Professor Michelle Lincoln, said the idea for the new training centre arose after consultations revealed the difficulties of attracting health professionals to the region.
She said students who experience rural life are more likely to forge a career outside metropolitan centres.
"The other thing for us is we are hoping that having a physical presence here will help attract local students who want to study," Professor Lincoln said.
Professor Lincoln, herself a trained speech pathologist, said a 12-bed residence will house students who will gain experience "across the whole community", not just at the hospital. Visiting clinical staff will also use the accommodation.
"It is much broader than just the hospital," she said.
The two universities bid for the $17million in federal funding together, announcing in 2015 that construction would commence in 2016.
The ANU has trained rural doctors in the region since 2006, and head of the university's rural clinical school associate professor Malcolm Moore said while the joint venture has been "very slow taking off" it will prepare students for Australia's health system of the future.
"Because healthcare in the future will be about working as a team, particularly in aged-care and rehabilitation, it is important for students to learn together. It helps breed teamwork," he said.
"Having seen the planning process it will create a great place to do plenty of training.
"When I was studying there were no hi-fidelity manikins. You learned in the emergency department, in real scenarios.
"You can practice on a manikin and it's okay because they come back to life.
"So, we are looking at doing more simulation training, because students are understanding it is okay to make mistakes."