New nurse practitioner scholarships

Aged care nurses are being particularly targeted after the sector was identified as an area of need.

Up to 20 nurses across Australia will receive as much as $30,000 over two years for training to qualify as nurse practitioners.

The scholarships are part of a $2.1 million initiative from the Commonwealth to help build the nation’s 300-strong nurse practitioner workforce.

The program will particularly target nurses working in rural and remote locations and identified areas of need, including aged care.

“By increasing the capacity of the nurse practitioner workforce, we increase the benefits that this group of health professionals can bring to the community, and the access of families to the health care they need,” said the Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon.

The extra funding was welcomed by the Australian Nursing Federation but Federal Secretary, Ged Kearney said current barriers that restrict nurse practitioners from working at their full capacity need to be removed.

“While nurse practitioners are authorised to refer to other health professionals and prescribe some medications, there is currently no mechanism that allows their patients to claim any subsidy from the PBS, as this is limited to medical practitioners,” she said.
 
“Expansion of the role of these expert clinicians requires patient access to reimbursement from the PBS.”

A spokesperson for Ms Roxon said the final details for the scholarships are still being finalised and will be announced shortly.

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