More than 10,000 Victorian nursing and midwifery students will have the cost of their university degrees paid for as part of a state government plan to grow the workforce and strengthen the health system.
Under the five-year program, all new domestic students enrolling in a professional-entry nursing or midwifery course in 2023 and 2024 will receive a scholarship of up to $16,500 to cover their course costs. Students will receive $9,000 while they study and a further $7,500 if they work in Victorian public health services for two years.
“If you’re in Year 12 and you’ve been thinking about studying nursing or midwifery – go for it. We’ve got your HECS fees covered,” Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement.
“Every health system in the country is under enormous pressure due to the pandemic. The best thing we can do to support our hardworking staff is give them more support on the ground – that’s why this package will train and hire more nurses than ever before.”
The $270 million funding package, announced at Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF Victorian Branch) headquarters yesterday, will aim to recruit more than 17,000 nurses and midwives.
Scholarships of about $10,000 will be made available to nurses and midwives who complete post-graduate studies in areas of need including intensive care, cancer care, paediatrics and nurse practitioner specialties. Meanwhile, more midwives will be recruited with an expanded post-graduate midwifery incentive program, which will provide scholarships to cover course costs and salary support for 150 existing nurses to continue working while they complete their specialist midwifery studies.
Other features of the package include:
- $11,000 scholarships for enrolled nurses to become registered nurses, covering course costs
- $12,000 scholarships to support the training and employment of 100 new nurse practitioners in acute and community settings
- More than $20 million to provide more support to graduates and postgraduates as they transition to working in hospitals, including access to clinical educators, preceptors and study time as required
ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick welcomed the strategy, saying it would help thousands of young and mature age nursing and midwifery undergraduates overcome significant financial barriers to accessing education and entering the workforce.
“This plan builds on previous work and shows a sophisticated and targeted understanding of how to build the capacity of the current workforce and expand the pipeline of new nurses and midwives,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.
“Next year’s students will be tomorrow’s emergency and critical care nurses, maternal and child health nurses, school nurses, aged care nurses, theatre nurses, mental health nurses, acute and community nurses and midwives.”