The Victorian Andrews Government has included innovative and expanded health services and strategies to educate, employ and support the wellbeing of a further 5,000 nurses and midwives in its 2022 Budget.
The workforce announcements include $59 million to fund 2,250 registered undergraduate student nurses (RUSONs) over two years (1,175 per year) and $9.8 million to support 75 registered undergraduate student midwives (RUSOMs) per year.
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said ‘Mainstreaming Victoria’s trailblazing nursing and midwifery student employment model was a smart investment and will build and strengthen our workforce capacity in the short- and longer-term’.
The model involves the employment of second year students in hospitals above nurse/midwife patient ratios and develops a better understanding and connection with health services, colleagues and their chosen profession.
“It’s particularly important for regional universities and health services to embed this employment program locally so that more students who learn in the regions stay working in the regions,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.
Additionally the Victorian Government’s announcement for an additional $2.48 million over four years for the free, confidential and independent Nursing and Midwifery Health Program Victoria will ensure there are supports for nurses and midwives.
“Responsibility for the pandemic’s heavy lifting has taken a toll on nurses and midwives health and wellbeing and the NMHPV is critical to ensuring they are supported as we are now three years into the pandemic,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.
Funding has also been secured to implement midwifery-led initiatives to improve health services’ ability to fill rosters and provide birthing and postnatal services while a $698 million package to expand the better at home program, better known to nurses as hospital in the home, plans to improve patient flow in hospitals. This will result in patients being seen more quickly in our emergency departments, moved into the wards and then return home under the care of a hospital in the home program nurse.