Recommendation 1: That standard nomenclature be adopted
throughout Australia to describe level of nurse and their qualifications, and
including unregulated nursing and personal care assistants.
Recommendation 2: That the Commonwealth Department of
Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs streamline visa
arrangements and simplify the process of recognising overseas qualifications
for nurses wishing to migrate to Australia on a permanent or temporary basis,
and to publicise the capacity to extend and to change visa arrangements.
Recommendation 3: The Committee recommends that the Minister
for Health and Ageing undertake an urgent national review of the charges and
practices of nursing agencies, including their impact on costs to public and
private providers of health services and their impact on the shortage of nurses
Recommendation 4: The Committee recommends that the Australian
Competition and Consumer Commission conduct a review of the practices of
nursing agencies in the healthcare sector.
Recommendation 5: That the Commonwealth in cooperation with
the States and Territories facilitate and expedite the development of a
national nursing workforce planning strategy.
Recommendation 6: That the Commonwealth provide the Australian
Institute of Health and Welfare with the resources required to establish a
consistent, national approach to current data collection on the nursing
workforce in Australia.
Recommendation 7: That research be undertaken to examine the
relationship between health care needs, nursing workforce skill mix and patient
outcomes in various general and specialist areas of care, with a view to
providing “best practice” guidelines for allocating staff and for reviewing
quality of care and awarding accreditation to institutions.
Recommendation 8: That the Commonwealth, as a matter of
urgency, establish the position of Chief Nursing Officer within the Department
of Health and Ageing.
Recommendation 9: That national registration be implemented for
registered and enrolled nurses.
Recommendation 10: That the current university-based system
for the undergraduate education of Registered Nurses be continued.
Recommendation 11: That the Commonwealth, in conjunction with
the States and universities, implement improved mechanisms to determine the
supply and demand for nursing places at universities and in determining how
these targets are set.
Recommendation 12: That the Commonwealth Government provide
funding for additional undergraduate nursing places to universities offering
nurse education courses to meet the workforce requirements set by the States.
Recommendation 13: That, while maintaining a balance between
theoretical and practical training, undergraduate courses be structured to
provide for more clinical exposure in the early years of the course and that
clinical placements be of longer duration.
Recommendation 14: That hospitals and other healthcare
agencies be encouraged to provide part-time paid employment for student nurses
from the second year of undergraduate courses.
Recommendation 15: That universities, as far as practicable,
operate their clinical education programs across the entire year.
Recommendation 16: That undergraduate courses provide
additional theory and clinical experience in mental health, aged care and
Recommendation 17: That the Commonwealth Government provide
specific funding to support the clinical education component of undergraduate
nursing courses; and that this funding provide that the clinical
teacher/student be maintained at a ratio of 1:4.
Recommendation 18: That the Commonwealth and State Governments
provide additional targeted scholarships for undergraduate nursing students
based on merit directed at students from economically and socially
disadvantaged backgrounds, NESB and ATSI backgrounds, and from rural and
Recommendation 19: That the Commonwealth Government provide
general scholarships for undergraduate nursing students based on merit.
Recommendation 20: That formal mentoring and preceptorship
programs be developed nationally, with enhanced training and the payment of
allowances for nurses chosen to become preceptors.
Recommendation 21: That graduate nurse programs be available
for all nursing graduates and that these programs:
- concentrate on skills consolidation through a structured program
to enable professional development;
- be provided with appropriate supervision and support; and
- be jointly funded by Commonwealth and State Governments.
Recommendation 22: That formal articulation arrangements and
recognition of prior learning between enrolled nurse courses and registered
nurse courses by universities and enrolled nurse education providers be further
Recommendation 23: That formal articulation arrangements and
recognition of prior learning be developed between Certificate III courses for
unregulated healthcare workers and enrolled nurse courses, and between courses
for ATSI health workers and enrolled nurse courses.
Recommendation 24: That the Australian Nursing Council, in
conjunction with key stakeholders, including State regulatory bodies, the
universities, professional nursing bodies and nursing unions, develop a
national curriculum framework or guidelines for undergraduate nursing courses to
ensure greater consistency in the interpretation of the ANCI competencies.
Recommendation 25: That the Australian Nursing Council, in
consultation with major stakeholders, develop a national framework for the
education of enrolled nurses in relation to course structure, duration and
Recommendation 26: That State and Territory Governments
develop nationally consistent legislation in relation to the administration of
medications by Enrolled Nurses.
Recommendation 27: That the Australian Nursing Council, in
conjunction with key stakeholders such as state regulatory bodies, professional
nursing bodies, universities and unions, develop a national curriculum
framework or guidelines for midwifery courses.
Recommendation 28: That nurses be informed of their continuing
education support and options, and encouraged to undertake continuing education
Recommendation 29: That State nurse regulatory bodies examine
the feasibility of introducing the requirement of continuing education and
professional development as a condition for continuing registration.
Recommendation 30: That research be undertaken into the costs
of providing paid study leave entitlements for nurses.
Recommendation 31: That paid study leave arrangements for
nurses be negotiated by the Australian Nursing Federation and employers.
Recommendation 32: That the Commonwealth Government provide
additional HECS places in postgraduate nursing courses currently attracting
fees, especially in areas of national skills shortage.
Recommendation 33: That the Commonwealth and State Governments
provide additional postgraduate scholarships in specialist areas, including
Recommendation 34: That Commonwealth and State Governments
promote and support the development and introduction of Nurse
Practitioners across Australia as a viable component of healthcare services.
Recommendation 35: That the Royal College of Nursing and the
NSW College of Nursing, in conjunction with the Commonwealth Department of
Health and Ageing, the States and key stakeholders, develop a framework for
nationally consistent standards and competencies for Nurse Practitioners.
Recommendation 36: That the Royal College of Nursing and the
NSW College of Nursing, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Ageing
and other key stakeholders, such as nurse regulatory bodies, examine the
feasibility of establishing a national approach to the credentialling of
Advanced Practice Nurses.
Recommendation 37: That State and Territory nursing regulatory
authorities develop a framework for the regulation of unregulated healthcare
Recommendation 38: That the relevant State and Territory
legislation be amended to provide that unregulated healthcare workers not be
permitted to administer medications.
Recommendation 39: That the standard minimum level of training
required for unregulated workers before they can be employed in healthcare
facilities be equivalent to Level III of the Australian Qualifications
Framework (Certificate Level III).
Recommendation 40: That universities continue to promote and
develop IT in undergraduate nursing courses, in particular the training needs
of mature aged undergraduates.
Recommendation 41: That in-service training in IT skills be
widely developed and promoted for graduate nurses.
Recommendation 42: That the Commonwealth Government, through
the National Health and Medical Research Council, increase funding for nursing
research as a matter of priority.
Recommendation 43: That the research funding provided by the
Department of Education, Science and Training to universities be increased to
facilitate additional university-based nursing research.
Recommendation 44: That partnership arrangements be further
developed between the public and private health sectors and universities and
the vocational education sectors to facilitate the clinical education and
training of nurses.
Recommendation 45: That partnerships be developed between
universities to facilitate the sharing of resources and expertise; and
student clinical placements in a range of metropolitan and
regional clinical settings.
Recommendation 46: That improved partnership arrangements be
established between the universities and the health sector in relation to
curriculum development, including the appointment of clinicians to university
Recommendation 47: That the Commonwealth provide funding for
the establishment of more joint appointments between universities and health
Recommendation 48: That the Commonwealth provide funding for
the establishment of additional clinical chairs of nursing.
Recommendation 49: That
the Commonwealth Government support the proposal by the Royal College of
Nursing to conduct a pilot project in Australia on the Magnet Hospital
Recommendation 50: That the Commonwealth and States fund
regular, sustained campaigns conducted on a nationally coordinated basis to
promote the status and positive image of nursing.
Recommendation 51: That a national nursing recruitment
strategy be developed by the Commonwealth in consultation with the States and
relevant nursing and employer bodies, with recruitment targets established
through national workforce planning.
Recommendation 52: That any recruitment strategy and marketing
campaigns specifically include encouragement for more males to adopt nursing as
Recommendation 53: That the current career structure be
reviewed and revised to provide career pathways that include continued clinical
practice, enhanced opportunities for postgraduate study and accelerated
pathways through which nurses can move to an advanced practitioner status. The
career structure needs to recognise the skills obtained through postgraduate
study and remunerate them accordingly.
Recommendation 54: That governments and professional nursing
bodies provide detailed information to nurses on career pathways.
Recommendation 55: That the Commonwealth and States encourage
providers of health care services to promote multidisciplinary team approaches
to patient care which recognise all members of the team as valued and valuable.
Recommendation 56: That experienced, skilled and educated
nurses be recognised and rewarded, both financially and through promotional
opportunity, for the work they perform in decision making and the management
and coordination of patient care across the continuum of care.
Recommendation 57: That the Commonwealth and States encourage
providers of health care services to support nursing leadership by integrating
nurses into the organisational hierarchy through their appointment to and
meaningful participation in management; and by promoting nurse involvement in
decision-making relating to nursing practice and clinical patient care.
Recommendation 58: That the Commonwealth and States ensure
that nursing leaders are provided with the necessary in-service training and
development to support them in their constantly evolving roles.
Recommendation 59: That the Commonwealth and States fund
re-entry and refresher programs in all States and Territories, including the
employment and payment of salaries for nurses undertaking such programs.
Recommendation 60: That there be greater coordination of
re-entry and refresher programs provided through hospitals and tertiary
institutions and of the content of these programs.
Recommendation 61: That the following ‘family friendly’
practices be advocated by all levels of government as best practice for all
providers of health care services and nurse employers:
- That flexible rostering be introduced or where appropriate developed
further, together with the encouragement of greater use of part-time and
- That paid maternity and paternity leave be available to all
- That adequate, affordable, quality childcare be provided over
extended hours at the workplace, or through other forms of direct childcare
assistance such as the procurement of places at nearby childcare centres.
- That adequate facilities to meet breastfeeding requirements be
provided in the workplace.
- That work practices be established to encourage experienced older
nurses to remain in the profession.
Recommendation 62: That governments ensure that providers of
health care services guarantee that education and other support measures for
managing and responding appropriately to aggressive and violent behaviour are
available to, and routinely provided for, nurses as continuing education in the
Recommendation 63: That the Commonwealth introduce a national
reporting system for violence and aggression toward nurses and other health
workers in order to understand the factors which give rise to violent
incidents, the extent of the problem, and to inform the development of
strategies to prevent future violent incidents involving nurses and other
Recommendation 64: That the National Occupational Health and
Safety Commission urgently develop model uniform OH&S legislation and
regulations for the Commonwealth, States and Territories relating to the use of
safe needle technologies in Australian hospitals and other health workplaces,
and work cooperatively with the States and Territories to improve associated
safety education and training programs for health care workers.
Recommendation 65: That governments ensure that all nurse
education curricula include occupational health and safety theory and practice
covering aggression management training, use of safety equipment and devices,
manual handling training, and competency assessment.
Recommendation 66: That the following ‘occupational health and
safety’ practices be advocated by all levels of government as best practice for
all providers of health care services and nurse employers:
- That all health and aged care facilities provide nurses with
access to peer support, appropriate counselling, post-incident defusing and
debriefing, and grievance handling.
- That providers of health care services support their nursing
staff in the prosecution of violent offenders.
- That providers of health care services be required to ensure that
nurses do not work alone in areas of high risk or where the level of risk is
unknown. Where this is not possible, personal duress alarms or similar
communications devices should be provided for personnel.
- That staff car parking should be accessible, well secured and
well lit for access at all hours. In recurring problem areas, dedicated 24-hour
a day security presence should be provided.
- That sufficient funding be available to ensure that hospital
equipment, including safe lifting devices, are up to date, readily available
for staff use and regularly maintained.
- That research be commissioned into the long-term effects of
exposure to glutaraldehyde and that a process be put in place to eliminate the
use of glutaraldehyde in health and aged care sectors.
- That alternative equipment be provided for those who are allergic
to latex, with a view to eventually replacing the use of latex products by
health care workers.
Recommendation 67: That governments ensure that all managers
in health services receive training in:
- Management styles that promote leadership and consultation;
- Management skills to include conflict resolution and grievance
management, improved human resource management, understanding industrial
relations and awards, and information technology skills; and
- Occupational health and safety responsibilities and risk management.
Recommendation 68: That the Commonwealth review the level of
documentation required under the RCS tool to relieve the paperwork burden on
aged care nurses.
Recommendation 69: That the outcomes of reviews and research
be used to establish appropriate benchmarks for resources and skills mix in
aged care nursing so as to support improved care for residents, workforce
management, organisational outcomes and best practice and that Commonwealth
funding guidelines be reviewed in light of this research.
Recommendation 70: That universities review the content and
quality of clinical placements and experiences of students in aged care in
their undergraduate courses and that clinical placements include a range of
aged care settings.
Recommendation 71: That universities review and develop
postgraduate programs and courses, including the provision of courses by
distance education, appropriate for the aged care sector.
Recommendation 72: That the Commonwealth fund the expansion of
re-entry/refresher programs specifically targeted at aged care nurses.
Recommendation 73: That the Commonwealth provide additional
funding to implement wage parity between aged care and acute care nurses in
each State and Territory.
Recommendation 74: That strategies be implemented to improve
the image of aged care nursing.
Recommendation 75: That the Commonwealth take measures to
reduce occupational injuries to nurses working in aged care, including the
introduction of ‘no lift’ programs across the aged care sector in conjunction with
the provision of up to date safe lifting devices that are readily available for
staff use and are regularly maintained.
Recommendation 76: That the Commonwealth fund scholarships for
psychiatric/mental health nursing for graduate year students wanting to
specialise in the area, and for already qualified nurses wishing to undertake a
mental health nursing course.
Recommendation 77: That a targeted campaign be undertaken to
improve the status and image of psychiatric/mental health nursing.
Recommendation 78: That funding be provided for the
development of advanced practice courses in mental health nursing.
Recommendation 79: The Commonwealth provide additional funds
to universities to extend clinical education in rural and remote regional
Recommendation 80: That the Commonwealth increase the amount
of funding of rural and remote nursing programs, including scholarship
programs, in line with funding of medical programs.
Recommendation 81: That the Commonwealth and States provide
funding for nursing relief programs such as ‘circuit nurse’ programs in rural
and remote Australia.
Recommendation 82: That all rural and remote area health
services with the assistance of State governments offer additional incentives
to nursing staff through employment packages including accommodation
assistance, additional recreation and professional development leave, and
appointment and transfer expenses to encourage nurse recruitment.
Recommendation 83: That the Commonwealth increase the number
of scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing students and
health workers to increase their numbers and upgrade their qualifications.
Recommendation 84: The strategies for the Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander nursing workforce proposed in the Health Workforce
National Strategic Framework be implemented as a matter of urgency.
Recommendation 85: That the Commonwealth while examining
medical insurance issues also consider the issue of professional indemnity
insurance for nurses, including midwives and allied health workers.
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