ANMF (Vic Branch) has distributed almost $412,000 of its 2018-19 education grants to 128 members, who met the criteria and will use the funds to undertake specialist education in areas of great clinical need.
Branch Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said the union was especially pleased that so many of the allocations had gone to nurses and midwives in rural and regional areas.
About 26 per cent of individual recipients were from hospitals and health care facilities in regional areas, and regional facilities made up almost 40 per cent of the 31 health facilities state-wide where recipients work.
‘These grants show we are investing for the future and giving our members value for their membership package,’ Ms Fitzpatrick said. ‘We take our responsibility to grow the workforce seriously.’
‘We want to be certain that Victoria has a highly skilled and highly educated workforce, and that our nurses and midwives have the specialist training they need to provide the community with the best possible care. That can only happen when the workforce is one of excellence, providing skills that are in demand across the state.’
Ms Fitzpatrick said the $412,000 of grants was allocated from the annual pool of $500,000 which the ANMF provides to eligible nurses and midwives, who want to take on postgraduate or post-registration courses. This is the second year the ANMF has issued fee grants.
The union’s substantial contribution to education funding complements a new initiative by the Andrews government, which has earmarked $50 million over four years for a special Nursing and Midwifery Workforce Development Fund.
The government’s funding, revealed in the state budget in late May, makes good on Labor’s pre-election commitment to boost training, recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives. This commitment was announced by Premier Daniel Andrews at the 2018 ANMF Delegates Conference. The government program will include 400 postgraduate scholarships for nurses and midwives. It will also support enrolled nurses to participate in a formal post-registration program for the first time. The first $20 million will be made available in 2019-20 and the balance will be split evenly over the following three years.
Specialist training is vital to ensure we can staff the ratio improvements, Ms Fitzpatrick said.
Of the 128 ANMF recipients, 30 will study emergency care, 20 intend to pursue further education in critical care courses, 14 in neonatal intensive critical unit care, 15 will study perioperative care, 12 plan to engage in mental health nursing, while 11 will undertake postgraduate midwifery courses.
The ANMF (Vic Branch) education grants are available annually.
‘We welcome all eligible members, who want to pursue a clinical specialty, to consider applying for the 2019-20 grants schedule to open later this year,’ Ms Fitzpatrick said.