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Universities Accord report recommends paid placements

Universities Accord report recommends paid placements

ANMF welcomes the recommendation that student nurses and midwives should be paid while on placement, as part of tackling ‘placement poverty’, according to  a national university review.

The Universities Accord higher education review was commissioned by the Albanese Government to direct long-term reform in the sector. The final report was released on 25 February 2024.

One of the final report’s 47 recommendations states that governments fund paid placements for nursing, care and teaching students who undertake mandatory placement as part of their degree.

ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick says the recommendation is a long-overdue recognition of the financial hardship nursing and midwifery students face while studying.

‘ANMF has been advocating for a number of years for paid placements for ENs, RNs and RMs so this recommendation is a huge step forward that must be implemented. We don’t want to lose future nurses and midwives because they’ve been financially unable to complete their course.’

‘We thank Professor Mary O’Kane and the panel for acknowledging the huge financial burden nursing and midwifery students face while on their mandatory clinical placement.’

In a 2022 ANMF student forum, student members reported a litany of hurdles to completing their course, especially financial and social impacts of mandatory unpaid clinical placement. The Branch has also been working with the Department of Health seeking  urgent reform in the clinical placement space.

Talking on ABC Insiders, the Minister for Education, Jason Clare, acknowledged the huge financial toll on students.

‘I’ve spoken to teaching students and nursing students who have told me that they can’t afford to do that. They’ve done the theory but they can’t afford to do the prac so they drop out or they end up sleeping in a car because they can’t afford to pay the rent or to pay the bills.’

The Albanese Government will now consider the recommendations. Minister Clare has not released a timeline but says ‘This is a plan not for one budget, but a blueprint for the next decade and beyond.’