Scholarships to increase Australia’s acute care workforce during COVID-19 pandemic

Australia’s acute care workforce could be boosted by up to 250 additional Enrolled Nurses (ENs) thanks to a new scholarship program being offered by the Australian College of Nursing.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is putting unprecedented pressure on all parts of Australia’s health system, including our hospitals,” Australian College of Nursing CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said.

“We thought one way to help address demand would be to look at supporting nurses who are currently working in non-clinical areas refresh their skills in order to re-enter the clinical workforce during this challenging time.

“The Commonwealth Government got behind this initiative and earlier last week announced they would be funding 1,000 scholarships for Registered Nurses to undertake ACN’s online Refresher Program and have now funded a further 2000 RN Refresher Scholarships.”

ACN was overwhelmed by the response from Australia’s nurses. In the first 24 hours following the Minister’s announcement, over 2,300 RNs registered their interest in the scholarship program.

“It was inspiring to see so many nurses seeking to complete training in order to care for the community during this health emergency. Nurses do not shy away from the threat of danger when it comes to caring for sick or vulnerable people, and we were overwhelmed with nurses registering telling us they want to do their civic duty” Adjunct Professor Ward said.

“When we were speaking with our nursing community, Enrolled Nurses also told us very clearly that they would also like an opportunity to contribute more actively to the delivery of care.

“Therefore, today we are announcing that ACN is offering 250 scholarships for ENs to refresh their skills by completing our EN Refresher Program. This course will enable ENs to update their acute care knowledge and includes the latest evidence-based guidelines on COVID-19 infection control.”

The program is targeted to Enrolled Nurses who currently hold general registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia and who meet the Recency of Practice Registration Standard of three (3) months (450 hours) practice in the last five years.

The training is online, so nurses can refresh at their own pace.

Eligible nurses interested in undertaking the training should visit

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