The next wave of government-funded aged care nursing scholarships has been launched with financial support on offer for nurses to attend conferences, courses, workshops and re-entry training.
The 72 new scholarships were announced yesterday by Minister for Ageing Mark Butler yesterday and form part of a $52.6 million investment over fours through 2860 scholarships to improve the aged care workforce.
Registered and enrolled nurses working in aged care can access up to $5,000 to attend a short course or workshop, and up to a $3,000 for a conference.
Former registered or enrolled nurses can get up to $6000 for re-entry studies on the condition they intend to work in aged care after finishing their studies.
Australian College of Nursing scholarships manager Robyn Tulloh said the chances of getting a scholarship were reasonably good.
“We get more applications than there are scholarships to offer but the chances are better than 50/50,” she said.
“It’s well worth the effort of putting the time in to apply.”
The professional development scholarships provide nurses an opportunity to interact with their peers, Ms Tulloh said.
“The short courses offer improved skills in delivering care. The conferences enable nurses to mix with their peers from other organisations, share experiences and develop an understanding of what’s happening in their industry,” she said.
Likewise the re-entry scholarships offer a much-needed boost to nurses wishing to get back into nursing, she said.
“It’s quite an expensive course and it’s not covered by a HECS scheme like many other education courses,” Ms Tulloh said.
Mr Butler said the scholarships were part of the government’s efforts to address pressures with the aged care workforce.
They complement recent announcements to improve pay and conditions for Australia’s 350,000 aged care workers, he said referring to the Aged Care Workforce Compact. Read AAA’s coverage of that here: Workforce Compact announced.
“Ultimately, a better paid, better skilled and better trained workforce will underpin a more responsive system that provides older Australians with quality care, when and where they need it.”
“Aged care is a very rewarding part of the health system to work in and scholarships like these provide real and practical support while extending skills, improving clinical care and furthering careers in aged care.”
To be eligible for the continuing professional development scholarships, the training must be related to caring for older people, such as clinical gerontology, behavioural management, dementia care, wound care, continence care, palliative care and infection control.
Further Aged Care Nursing Scholarships for 2014 undergraduate, postgraduate and nurse practitioner studies open July 1, 2013.
Full details for this round of scholarships including eligibility requirements are available on the Australian College of Nursing website, www.rcna.org.au, or by calling 1800 116 696.
Applications close April 26.