Hospital bottleneck stymies nurse plan
Siobhain Ryan | April 20, 2008 - The Australian
GOVERNMENT needs to put the brakes on plans on massively boost nursing numbers until they solve the worst shortage in hospital training places the profession has seen, John Daly, Chair of the Council of Deans of Nursing and Midwifery (Australia and New Zealand), said.
Professor Daly, speaking on the sidelines of the 2020 Summit in Canberra, said in some states such as New South Wales, nursing undergraduates were already unable to do the hours of practical clinical training in hospitals required to complete their courses.
"This is the worst we’ve seen it, and it’s not just in NSW. The Deans of Nursing and Midwifery are saying it’s a problem across the country," he said.
The Rudd Government’s health policy relies heavily on its promise to ramp up the number of nurses and other health workers, announcing last month it would train up to 50,000 new frontline health professionals.
Pre-election, it also committed $81 million towards putting 9,250 extra nurses into Australia’s hospital system.
But Professor Daly said governments had to address existing bottlenecks in supervised clinical hours in hospitals, and expand training opportunities for undergraduates in GP practices and community health, if it was not to exacerbate the crisis.
"Let’s be very cautious before we rush to increase them any further before we resolve this clinical training problem," he said.
Firstly, this is what happens when you take training out of the hospital system for nurses - when they realise it is a good thing, they can't get back in.
Secondly, student nurses could get plenty of clinical training on-the-job if they returned to working junior nursing positions, but that sort of makes universities redundant - what would you do with all the clinical educators and nursing preceptors?
Lastly, this sounds like exactly the same issues that postgraduate doctors face in getting their specialist experience! Doesn't anyone ever learn?
NB This diagram is a little out of date but nonetheless relevant.