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--Nursing News Abroad---Nurse training proposal represents a backwards step

I am writing in response to the proposed hospital-based schools of nursing ("Training plan puts patients at risk: nurses", September 15, p2).

I add two points to the debate. First, the programs raise an issue of equity.

University of Canberra nursing students pay to study and learn by working two to three days per week in community health, residential aged care, mental health, as well as hospital services.

The work is unpaid, with many students doing paid work to support themselves and their families.

Part-time study is increasing, effectively delaying graduation and entry into the workforce. Students in the proposed 18-month enrolled nurse programs will be paid a weekly salary hardly a fair use of limited federal resources.

Second, the Government's press release (September 14) suggests that administrators and doctors will have greater input into the educational program.

This self-serving approach, where the same people who seek to control nursing work and nurses design the program, appears to be more like induction than education.

Given the rising safety issues within our health system, Australia needs critically thinking nurses who challenge the status quo, clearly articulate their concerns, and use evidence to develop effective practice solutions.

These qualities are associated with university prepared nurses and cannot be achieved in an 18-month course put together by administrators and doctors.

There is a need for government to support all health services and those clinical nurses who teach students while trying to provide a service to consumers.

Invest the $170 million to address the needs in current programs.

Laurie Grealish, senior lecturer in Nursing, University of Canberra.

The Howard/Abbott plan to set up 25 nursing schools attached to hospitals will not only downgrade the status, and inevitably, the pay and conditions of the nursing profession, but eventually undermine the safety of the hospital system.

It defies common sense in this age of rapidly evolving technology and complex new treatments to abandon university training for all nurses in favour of an 18-month certificate course for some.

In most developed countries the trend is to extend the years of schooling, yet the Howard Government is encouraging students to leave school at 16 to undertake an 18-month nursing course.

Recruiting people who do not have the ability or dedication to complete high school may put more bodies in the wards, but how will it affect the standard of care in our hospitals?

Alannah McIntosh, Chatswood

First Howard's IR laws are exposed as failed theory from the 1980s by Professor Richard Freeman, now we have a proposal to take us back to pre 1980s nurse education. Not only Howard, but all of his team are living in a 1980s time warp. Future focused I don't think so.

Jenny Miragaya, Watson

Source: The Canberra Times
Click here to see the rest of this article in The Canberra Times

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