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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

New national program aims to attract and prepare nurses in aged care

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The University of Wollongong (UOW), the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) and Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) have joined forces with the Federal Government to establish Aged Care Transition to Practice (ACTTP) programs to attract and retain up to 740 new nurses to aged care.

The Government is providing funding to assist in the creation of programs that will guide new nurses in their first year of clinical practice through mentorship, professional development and specialist clinical training.

Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Adjunct Professor (Practice) Alison McMillan, said the training component would include infection prevention and control, nutrition, falls prevention and wound care, which will be critical for ensuring safe and high quality care for senior Australians.

“Transition to practice programs are common in other parts of the health sector, and their introduction to aged care will go a long way to boosting the sector,” Prof. McMillan said.

“Many graduates don’t realise aged care provides nurses with opportunities for rapid development and career advancement compared to other clinical settings.

“The critical mentorship component of this program will ensure graduate nurses see these opportunities for growth and make aged care nursing a career of choice.”

The ACTTP program was announced in the 2020-21 Budget and received a $1.1 million funding boost in this year’s historic aged care allocations in response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s recommendations.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said supporting the growing aged care workforce was a Government priority.

“This program is designed to directly support and provide guidance for newly-graduated nurses to join this expanding sector,” Hunt said.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services Richard Colbeck said it was the beginning of intended changes to aged care in Australia, with a particular focus on workforce.

“It will allow graduates to see the benefit and contribution they can make to the lives of senior Australians, and ultimately choose aged care nursing as a rewarding career of choice,” Minister Colbeck said.

The successful organisations, UOW, ACN and ACSA, will start work immediately, with all programs underway from July 2021.

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