Nursing education under review

The federal government has announced a review of nursing education will start this year.

The last independent review of nurse education was in 2002.

Minister for Regional Services Bridget McKenzie said the Educating the Nurse of the Future review would examine the preparation and education of nurses to ensure they continued to meet the expectations of the community and maintained their professional standards.

“The review will look at issues like making sure the nursing profession remains an attractive career option for students; ensuring that our nursing education system is internationally competitive and that career pathways for the enrolled, registered nurses and nurse practitioners are relevant.”

The review will also determine nursing requirements of regional Australia which was critical to increasing the number of health professionals outside of metropolitan areas, the Minister said.

The terms of reference for the review are to examine:

  • The effectiveness of current educational preparation and articulation between enrolled and registered nurses and nurse practitioners in meeting the needs of health service delivery.
  • Factors that affect the choice of nursing as an occupation, including for men.
  • The role and appropriateness of transition to practice programs however named.
  • The competitiveness and attractiveness of Australian nursing qualifications across international contexts.

28 Responses

  1. This is all good. However,They need to make training for new nurses affordable as well. Young nurses or new trainees at this point need parents to support them while training and that is not always possible. I believe this is a major reason for the drop in aust nurses.
    Supporting young people in accommodation, costs for tuition at university and general life expenses can be crippling for parents and young people. At least while trained in the hospital they earned an income as well as experience.

    1. I agree the costs should be looked at, but not inly from a young persons perspective. I did my degree as a middle aged parent of two and couldn’t afford to stop working to study. I would now like to look into a specialty but can’t afford to drop my hours to undertake the study with busy family life. The HECS-HELP benefit I found to be very helpful in reducing my tac burden as a parent but has been scrapped. The unlimited meal and entertainment fringe benefit made the career more appealing but this too now has a cap on it. I used to see this fringe benefit as a reward for the long hours and hard work undertaken by healthcare workers around the clock. The ability to go away on a family holiday and take a well earned rest, helping to prevent burn out.

    2. International students pay 10 times the amount of local students do. And they never complain. Just hard work.

    3. Having been there I can appreciate what you are saying,however,the sense of entitlement from societies youth doesn’t allow for the hard miles to be conquered.
      I worked whilst at uni to pay accommodation and living expenses,living with in means is key.
      Deferred HECS until I finished uni,long haul of repayment,then a strict regime of saving for the pleasures of life.
      It’s a hard road,but it builds resilience and character.
      Life’s not easy.

  2. What about going back to the days of hospital based training for nurses.
    Sitting in a class room really doesn’t prepare you for on the ward. I’ve learnt so much more working on the ward .
    So many other professions only spend maybe a few days a month in class , the rest of the time it’s hands on!!

    I’m an EN and if I could do on the job training for my Registered nursing I’d jump at it.

    1. As an EN I completely agree! I’ve attempted my Degree 3 times over 15 years but found it a great challenge studying while working full-time and other life commitments, not to mention the weeks of (unpaid) clinical placements!
      Hospital sponsorship to transition from EN to RN would be a great welcome for me.

  3. Student nurses and midwives should be paid for doing ‘prac’ instead of being used as free slave labour in understaffed hospitals.
    Many are having to work to support themselves as well as paying excessive university fees.

  4. As an ICU Nurse with two years experience teaching nursing in the academic and practical setting. There needs to more stress and resilience training. Too many nurses and students are suffering from their work and the pressures from management and organizations. We must change the culture and open our minds to new strategies that will help individuals to not only be healthy themselves but to be supported in their persuit of doing so.

  5. There should be a job based training program to transition from EN to RN. The amount of unpaid placement hours is ridiculous when you already work in the industry and already have way more experience than some RNs. The pay gap is too high between ENs and RNs also.

  6. Please consider funding support for education and training of experienced nurses who had left the profession for various reasons and now want to re-enter nursing, requiring clinical currency and industry update. It is one way of addressing workforce shortage, by capitalising on re-training.

  7. I agree with all the above. I’m an EEN working and studying my RN. The need for more on the job training is needed. Not only it expensive with having to take leave from my job and doing RN placement which I am all for, but why are we not being funded by the government in the form of traineeships like trades??? Let me know if I’m wrong but dont the hospitals get paid to take us on as students for our placements?? Also the Uni’s and government need to the look at the credits given for EEN’s as we are repeating units that we pay registration for and can practice. I personally think EEN’s should be placed in the final year of RN course and have more in the job training. I really hope the government looks at it rationally.

  8. There is an expectation that new graduates will be employed. Unfortunately, they are left to compete for graduate programs, which are often part time positions. The hospitals won’t take the new grads without experience. The hospital will fill the position with experienced overseas nurses.
    We are left with disappointed grads, who are keen to convert theory to practice, but face unemployment instead.
    If contracts could be developed between universities and hospitals to take the grads and allow them to gain experience, is one suggestion.
    Another suggestion is the student does each placement at the same hospital and this is followed up with an automatic grad program.
    Fostering relationships between the university and the hospital, will enhance communication between all parties to focus the training of the students to always evolving role of the nurse.

  9. As an experienced icu nurse, and manager, I am appalled at the level of anatomy and physiology understood by some 3rd yr students… their response to most questiong ‘ the uni didnt teach us that’…
    The ‘hands on’ clinical placement that students receive , and the support from the uni’s is abysmal. They need more clinical time and more clinical support for these students… don’t just dump them on a ward to be buddied with a RN who is already run off their feet.

    1. As an educator of ICU and ED nurses, I’m disillusioned at the lack of basic A&P and pathophysiology of nurses in the critical care areas. Nurses that can’t articulate the physiology of shock, hypoxia or even basic biochemistry.

      It’s a concern that third year students are lacking these fundamentals, but more worrying that the RNs mentoring them are in the same boat.

  10. I’m hospital trained – and since the training has gone to Uni based it seems nurses are getting dumber and dumber (sorry, but it’s true). I am shocked that a patient now can be left lying in a bed for days after an accident in the cattle yards, waiting for transfer out, and not be given a sponge at all for 2-3 days. Or parents are handed antibiotics for their children which haven’t been reconstituted; so many cases of nurses not knowing how to wrap a snake bite; an RN disconnecting an ICC during a check because ‘it has to be swinging and bubbling and that’s how you get that happening’; pans left for days in the pan room not cleaned – the list goes on and on and on. I recently did my Grad Dip in Health and was shocked at how little I learned except how to reference. I was not able to provide any free thinking from my observation over 30 years – because I couldn’t reference my experience. I’m glad my health service paid for it because it was a total waste of money. Take the training back into the hospital and pay the student nurses so they can live while they learn.

  11. I think we need to have more hospital based on the job training for both EN and RN students and opertunities once qualifications are completed .

  12. About time. Spent 21k on a degree in 2017. My registration expires in May and I won’t be renewing. Waste if time and money. No jobs.

  13. I agree with all that is said. I’m a new EN Div 2 and have been finding it hard to find work as most places want experience. How can anyone just out of nursing school get Work experience. How about universities and local tafe organise work experience with a hospital or agecare place when they finish to get the experience that is needed. I also think that when students go out on placement they should be given some sort of wage to help students get through their placement so they can live. I am now enrolled in doing my RNs because I think sometimes their is no work as an EN and more work as a RN.

    1. It’s so strange that new RNs can’t get jobs. An occupation that needs staff 24 hours a day, that needs so many workers. It hasn’t bothered the hospitals in the past that new RNs lacked experience, so why now.
      If the hospitals can get away with something they will, and that includes not committing to new grad nurses.
      Just the way they treat agency nurses badly, because they know agency nurses don’t have any rights.

  14. There are so Many E.NS’s out there with a wealth of knowledge and untold experience . They should be able to convert to R.N without the huge amount of time, money and sacrifice that is expected at present

  15. I believe it’s absolutely appalling that a university trained RN who completed new grad 12 month program in general then worked general nursing for long period took respite for a few years and tried mental health can’t re enter central because they are deemed to have been out of general to long.
    One would ask why.
    Why don’t hospitals employ
    Why isn’t there a fast track refresher..
    At uni level this would be only done as a money making venture l.
    Two week to one month for those that have completed and worked in general need.

  16. We fully support this initiative, but further call for transparency on the quality of “after market” CPD seminars by nurse education providers . There are just no standards to govern CPD and anyone with no educational experience/quality system or passion for teaching evidence based practice in this country can set up
    A company to “sell” their version of education to ENs and RNs. What is needed is an education standard, that CPD providers must meet to allow them to issue CPD certificates. An AHPRA or NMBA “accreditation stamp” of sorts.

  17. Where I work you can no longer have a permanent position and study for RN. If you are permanent and start to study they will change your contact to casual. The decisions was made because it’s too hard to replace staff when they are on placement and too expensive.

  18. Kate,
    They just bring in mental health nurses from overseas, they obviously think the English Nursing education system is better, where you specialise in paediatrics, adult nursing, or mental health as an undergraduate. (and its probably why there is a shortage of adult nurses in England, because they all want to study mental health).

    Will they bring that system in here, or will they just be satisfied that other countries have it so they can procure their mental health nurses from there.

  19. They might want to address bullying in nursing, especially if they want to increase the number of male nurses and give quality experiences for students and new grads. Bullying is rife on the wards and it can be disguised as protecting the patient, Another thing is that nurses on the ward who ‘critique’ others, often do not have the qualifications to do so. There isn’t even any mandatory CPD in bullying in most states.

  20. If a review is undertaken I am hoping that the members of the review seek submission from current students, current graduates, existing ward staff but also those of us who experienced not only the hospital based education but the conversion to a degree. There are excellent previous nurse education personnel who can contribute a lot to this review to make it extensive one The aim should be to make the situation the best possible which will meet the needs of future graduates and users of our healthcare system

  21. Absolutely agree, undergrads need 50% theory and 50% hospital based training. Now that prac is being paid for, this may be feasible. I am in fear of nurses who are not competent in maths and are unable to work out drug calculations. Now that independent drug calculations are enforced there has been an observation that 50% of new nurses require further maths education. Maths test…bring it on!

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