Free College for 10,000 Nurses, Midwives in Victoria, Australia

More than 10,000 budding nurses and midwives pay full college degrees to ease workforce pressure on Australia’s expanded health system in Victoria.

Nurses and midwives will be recruited and trained free of charge from next year, as part of a A$270 million (US$186 million) initiative announced by the Victorian government on Sunday.

Under the five-year program, all new domestic students enrolling in professional nursing and midwifery courses in 2023 and 2024 will receive a scholarship of up to $16,500 to cover course costs.

Students will receive AU$9,000 (US$6,199) for three years of study and the remaining AUD$7,500 (US$5,166) will be paid for two years of work in Victorian public health services.

“We will pay their HECS debt in full,” Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said Sunday to applause from dozens of workers gathered at the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) office in Melbourne.

They are not clapping for themselves. They clap because they know the best thing is an extra helping hand. ”

Scholarships worth an average of $10,000 are awarded to graduate nurses to complete studies in specialties such as critical care, emergency medicine, pediatrics, and cancer care.

Other features of the package are:

*Expanded graduate midwifery program to cover course costs and salary support for 150 existing nurses to complete their studies

* A$11,000 stipend to cover course costs for registered nurses to become registered nurses

* A$12,000 scholarship for 100 new nurse practitioners in both acute care and community

* More than A$20 million in helping graduates and postgraduates transition to hospital work

Andrews said the Victorian government had been working on the package for months as hospitals across the state were buckling under the weight of the latest wave of COVID-19.

“Our hospital system is under tremendous pressure,” he said, adding that up to 2,000 health care workers have fallen ill with the virus on any given day this winter.

“When COVID is raging, no nurse is immune from it.”

Shadow Health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier said the opposition is in line with its promises, and warned that the coalition will announce its full staffing policy closer to November’s state elections.

“Daniel Andrews spent eight years trying to do this and nothing.

“This government has run out of ideas and is coming to make an announcement at this late hour.”

ANMF Secretary of State Lisa Fitzpatrick said she was thrilled with the Victorian government’s announcement but worried about the promises of the opposition to match it.

“It’s like Meg Ryan[quote]’Just get what she’s got,'” she says, referring to a famous scene from the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally. Told.

“I’m at a loss because I don’t know the details of the commitment and I’m afraid you’ll just say that.”

Fitzpatrick believes the $270 million package will make it easier to fill the roster and allow more nurses to adopt flexible working arrangements.

After two and a half years plagued by a pandemic, health has been named by both major political parties as a key focus area for upcoming state elections.

Opposition parties have pledged to shelve the Andrews government’s multi-billion dollar suburban rail loop if they win in a November poll, and to redirect funds to building and upgrading hospitals in Melbourne and the Victoria region. did.



Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.