Nursing education under review

By ANMJ Staff|
January 18th, 2019|

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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.


  1. Julie Clutterbuck January 30, 2019 at 11:53 am - Reply

    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.

    • Dee January 30, 2019 at 1:13 pm - Reply

      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.

    • International Students January 30, 2019 at 11:07 pm - Reply

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

  2. Dee January 30, 2019 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    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.

    • CC January 30, 2019 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      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. Kate January 30, 2019 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    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. Amy Benn January 30, 2019 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    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. Michelle January 30, 2019 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    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. Shyamala January 30, 2019 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    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. Eliza January 30, 2019 at 11:30 pm - Reply

    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. Jennifer January 31, 2019 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    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. Elaine February 1, 2019 at 9:01 am - Reply

    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.

  10. Karan Hibbs February 7, 2019 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    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. Lea February 9, 2019 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    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 .

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