Remove re-entry roadblocks for SA nurses

Tuesday 21 February 2023
Remove re-entry roadblocks for SA nurses

As our hospital system continues to struggle under record ramping and emergency department overcrowding – the Opposition is calling on the Malinauskas Labor Government to make it easier for South Australians who wish to re-enter nursing to gain the required qualifications.

Former nurses have raised concerns with the Liberal Opposition over the hurdles they need to jump over to regain their nursing registration.

Many of those who have been out of practice for five years or more must complete a Nursing and Midwifery Board approved “re-entry to practice program”.

For registered nurses, these programs are offered at the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) in New South Wales, Central Queensland University (CQU), La Trobe University in Victoria and Western Australia’s University of Notre Dame.

Students at ACN, CQU and Notre Dame must relocate interstate for at least part of their studies.

La Trobe offers a more flexible online program, however a fee of $8,250 must be paid upfront, with no subsidies or FEE-HELP loan scheme in place.

Leader of the Opposition David Speirs said there shouldn’t be so many barriers for former nurses wanting to re-enter the profession in SA.

“Patient safety is the top priority, so it’s important our nurses meet the professional standards required of them,” Mr Speirs said.

“However, when our hospital system is in desperate need of more staff – with overcrowded EDs and record ramping – there shouldn’t be so many obstacles in place for South Australians who want to get back into nursing.

“Former nurses I’ve spoken with say they are keen to get back to work and start helping people, but simply can’t afford the costs involved or spend time interstate to get the qualifications they need.

“We’re calling on Peter Malinauskas to step up and work with his federal colleagues to make sure re-entry pathways for nurses are more accessible for South Australians.”

Shadow Minister for Health Ashton Hurn urged the Malinauskas Labor Government to be more proactive in gaining and retaining nurses in South Australia.

“Our hospitals are experiencing unprecedented pressure, which is why we need Peter Malinauskas exploring every avenue to remove barriers for nurses wanting to re-enter the workforce,” Mrs Hurn said.

“The current barriers to re-entry for nurses based in South Australia mean many are simply giving up on the profession – the Malinauskas Labor Government must take responsibility and address this issue.

“We know attracting frontline health workers is incredibly competitive now, with other states like Victoria offering huge financial incentives.

“The very least we can do is explore opportunities to make re-entry pathways simpler for former nurses wanting to return to the field and help those in need.”