The NSW Health Minister recently announced 60 scholarships to cover the $10,000 cost of the only accredited re-entry program for those who want to return to nursing but who don’t meet the new recency of practice requirement that has been applied retrospectively to nurses who have been out of the profession for over five years (often in order to raise children).
Recency of practice has been a hot topic on this blog, where well over 100 comments have been made to a post on this subject, revealing the diverse ways that nurses have found themselves caught in the recency trap. And 8000 signatures have so far been added to a NSWNA petition asking the Government “to immediately release funding to increase the number of nurses completing the College of Nursing course and to develop additional courses accredited by Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council for delivery by Local Health Districts.”
The scholarships announced by Minister Skinner are clearly a response to the pressure applied by nurses through Nurse Uncut and the petition – but as NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes said, ‘It’s a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed”. More – and cheaper – re-entry courses, especially online courses, are needed as soon as possible so that those with the training and experience can return to caring in the public health system. Currently there are no re-entry courses at all in NSW for midwives who’ve taken a break – shocking!
In order to increase the pressure, 10,000 signatures (one for every dollar the current course requires) are needed so that the petition can be presented to the NSW Parliament. That’s 2000 more names. Come on – we can do it! If you haven’t already signed, do so now – and print out the petition, take it to work and ask your workmates to sign too.
Image credit: NSWNA.