The Victorian government is offering free university and training for thousands of nurses and midwives to help fill major shortages in the industry.
In a $270 million scheme, more than 17,000 nurses and midwives will be recruited and trained as part of a massive hiring and upskilling initiative.
More than 10,000 students will have the cost of their nursing or midwifery undergraduate studies paid for.
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Additionally, scholarships will be available for thousands more who complete postgraduate studies in areas of need, including intensive care, cancer care, paediatrics and nurse practitioner specialities.
All new domestic students enrolling in a professional-entry nursing or midwifery course in 2023 and 2024 will receive a scholarship of up to $16,500 to cover course costs.
Students will receive $9,000 while they study and the remaining $7,500 if they work in Victorian public health services for two years.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the package recognised that the cost of study was a financial burden for prospective and existing nurses.
“If you’re in Year 12 and you’ve been thinking about studying nursing or midwifery – go for it,” Andrews said.
“We’ve got your HECS fees covered.”
Andrews said every health system around the country was under enormous pressure due to the pandemic.
“The best thing we can do to support our hardworking staff is give them more support on the ground – that’s why this package will train and hire more nurses than ever before,” he said.
The package also includes:
Scholarships for postgraduate nurses to complete studies in specialty areas such as intensive care, emergency, paediatrics and cancer care – worth an average of $10,000
$11,000 scholarships for enrolled nurses to become registered nurses, covering course costs and boosting the number of registered nurses
$12,000 scholarships to support training and employment of 100 new nurse practitioners in both acute and community settings
More than $20 million to provide more support to the growing numbers of graduates and postgraduates as they transition to working in our hospitals – ensuring they have access to the clinical educators, preceptors and study time they need