10,000 reasons to sign, only 2000 names to go…


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.



  1. According to Nursing & Midwifery Office, there were 30 scholarships offered for 2011 / 2012 financial year. But they didn’t have a full uptake !! Apparently, it wasn’t well known, that they were offered ( unbelievable, isn’t it ?? )

    There will be another 30 positions for 2012 / 2013.

    Positions are only offered if your AHS has a job for you !!

    How stupid is that ? The offer of scholarships is not without ‘strings’ attached.

    Would you really have expected anything more from NSW Health ??

  2. The thing with the scholarships though is that the $10,000 has to be paid upfront to the college, by the individual on application for the course. And the money is then refunded to the individual once they have completed and presumably passed the course!! So for people like me who ‘yes’ could apply for a scholarship- where do I find the money to pay upfront while I wait to be reimbursed?

    BTW: what was the total number of signatures collected? Is there any more update on this?

  3. My wife has been told the Govt. scholarship will pay the CON directly. This is only after much ‘screaming’ from the ordinary person, who doesn’t have the 10k just lying around…

    However, can you believe what the Govt. tell you? Can you trust them to do the right thing ? ( don’t hold your breath … )

  4. In response to Sandra, not so. Once an LHD has identified a suitable position in their LHD, they notify NaMO. A representative from NaMO and the LHD interview the potential student to make sure they are genuine in their desire to return to work and to fulfil the employment commitment on completion of the course. Then a letter of offer is sent to the applicant. NaMO and the LHD representative do all the pre-employment checks and the interview. Once all this happens and no problems have been identified, the applicant is given the $10,000 cheque, which they present upon enrolment to the CoN. The agreement is between the student and the College.

    Total number of signatures collected? We’ve got 8605 so far – just short of the 10,000 needed.

  5. Thanks NU admin. I think the rules must have changed recently. When I enquired a few months ago we had to pay the college then be refunded on completion of the course. The change will make a big difference 🙂

  6. The other day an A&E nurse was stabbed in the arms and torso by a patient and the hospital managers told her to keep quiet about it. She managed to get her story out and it was all over the news, but she was one of the lucky ones; many nurses are abused and assaulted at work and management force them to shut up. Abuse and violence toward nurses is on the increase, our hospitals are becoming more like ghettos and AHPRA wants to charge you $10,000 to enter these ghettos!

  7. I have recently been denied registration because of the recency of practice guidelines, it has been five years and 6 months since I have ‘worked’ however in that time I have done a masters of nursing and had three babies however apparently my masters course does not meet the recency guidelines!!!! Perhaps the recency of practice criteria is what needs review!!! Because even with a scholarship I am not able to do the Reentry course so where does have leave me? With a masters degree I can’t use!

  8. Chances are you won’t get a job once you are reregistered. Look at the nursing job ads and you will see that they are asking for post graduate certificates plus 2 to 3 years recent experience in the area. Trust me they are doing everything in their power to reduce the number of RN Div 1 positions. Just look at the job ads and you will see what I mean.

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