Specialist education programs to develop Australia’s aged care nursing workforce will be delivered by three providers under a new Australian government initiative.
The University of Wollongong (UOW), the Australian College of Nursing and Aged and Community Services Australia are being funded to establish a three year Aged Care Transition to Practice for registered nurses.
The initiative aims to increase the availability of RNs with the required experience and education in aged care to meet the growing care needs of older Australians by attracting up to 740 new nurses to the aged care sector across all three providers.
The programs will guide new nurses in their first year of clinical practice through mentorship, professional development and specialist clinical education to help them increase their skills and capabilities and encourage them to pursue aged care nursing practice.
Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Adjunct Professor (Practice) Alison McMillan, said the training component would include infection prevention and control, nutrition, falls prevention and wound care, which will be critical for ensuring safe and high quality care for senior Australians.
“Transition to practice programs are common in other parts of the health sector, and their introduction to aged care will go a long way to boosting the sector,” Professor. McMillan said.
“Many graduates don’t realise aged care provides nurses with opportunities for rapid development and career advancement compared to other clinical settings.
“The critical mentorship component of this program will ensure graduate nurses see these opportunities for growth and make aged care nursing a career of choice.”
Nursing Professor, Director of UOW’s Aged Dementia Healthy Education and Research Centre and project leader, Professor Victoria Traynor said aged care was the fastest growing area of clinical practice in Australia’s healthcare sector that urgently needed more and better qualified aged care nurses.
“I am very pleased to have the opportunity to deliver this program to support aged care nurses and ensure older Australians receive the best possible care, “she said.
Work on the initiative will start immediately, with all programs underway from July 2021.