Nursing and midwifery are careers of the future, according to our former Health Minister Jill Hennessy.
And she’s right. As our new Health Minister Jenny Mikakos takes over the reins of a huge health infrastructure and reform agenda, the system is going to need a lot nurses and midwives.
The 1100 plus nurses and midwives needed to fill the improved and new ratios that will be introduced over the next five years are the tip of the iceberg (once the legislation has passed). We’re going to need thousands more to staff the new hospitals, the hospital expansions and the new community hospitals.
People are understandably asking where they will all come from.
The answer is the Andrews Government has a $50 million workforce development plan. This includes macro and micro initiatives all designed to build a robust future workforce.
The free diploma of nursing course starts this year at Victorian TAFEs. And we’re going to get better at transitioning enrolled nurses into practice. One hundred places will become available this year in the first statewide enrolled nurse graduate program.
These enrolled nurses will be vital, particularly if our national campaign to make nurse/carer to resident ratio law in private-for-profit and not-for-profit residential aged care is successful.
We need to ensure the popularity of nursing and midwifery courses continues amongst school leaving and mature age students.
We’re also doing more to nurture our student nurses through the Registered Undergraduate Students of Nursing (RUSON) model. First embraced by Premier Daniel Andrews when he was health minister in 2010, this pilot program has been reinvigorated to learn how we can better prepare the next generation as they transition from student to graduates.
Applications were rolling in late last year for 20 partial scholarships for registered nurses and midwives to undertake postgraduate qualifications in addictive behaviours.
ANMF is also providing financial assistance to enrolled nurse, registered nurse and midwife members totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars to help them undertake post registration and postgraduate study. All applications are welcome, but are particularly encouraged in clinical specialities including perioperative, mental health, palliative care, renal, critical care, intensive care, emergency, and neonatal intensive care.
We will also start to hear more about 400 Andrews Government-funded postgraduate scholarships for current nurses and midwives to upgrade their skills, 400 places in programs such as the Postgraduate Midwifery Employment Model and refresher programs for 800 nurses and midwives who are registered but not practising. Plus, there will be $10 million for grants, scholarships, graduate jobs and refresher programs for rural and regional students and current nurses and midwives.