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Changes To Nursing Training And Funding

Representatives To Discuss Changes To Nursing Training And Funding

PLANS to improve the way the Ministry of Health funds ongoing clinical training for post-entry nurses will be discussed by a group of nursing experts at their first meeting next week.

There is currently no overall strategy for purchasing and prioritising funding for post-entry clinical training programmes for nurses, however the Ministry plans to develop a strategy and framework to complete this by December 2001, says Ministry of Health Chief Nursing Advisor Frances Hughes.

"We're responding to a call from the sector for fairer and more transparent decisions about how funding is prioritised. We're also keen to see funding for post-entry clinical nurse training become more clearly aligned with Government health strategies so that the skills nurses have can be used more effectively as we work to deliver these goals."

The sector reference group, which also includes Maori, Pacific Peoples and Ministry of Education representatives, holds its first meeting in Wellington on Thursday, June 28.

The group's expert advice will help the Ministry analyse the current training needs, assist with the development of a national framework for purchasing and prioritising training, and provide input into the creation of a costing model.

"This project will enable us to work forward and forecast the cost of future training more accurately. This information will be invaluable as we deal with workforce issues and will be a useful resource for the Health Workforce Advisory Committee."

Improved access to post-entry clinical training for nurses will also help address the growing shortage of highly-skilled nurses in New Zealand and assist with ongoing efforts to recruit and retain nurses, says Ms Hughes.

There is considerable international evidence that better health outcomes can be gained from advanced training for nurses.

"The quality and safety of care we offer New Zealanders will be improved by having more highly trained nurses and allow doctors to focus on patient's higher-end clinical needs."


For more information contact: Anne-Marie Robinson, Media Advisor, ph: 04-496-2067 or 025-802 622 Internet address:

The members of the sector reference group are:

Janette Skiba, Christchurch Hospital Director of Nursing Mia Carroll, Auckland District Health Board Director of Nursing Jan Grant, Ministry of Education representative Margaret Southwick, Whitireia Community Polytechnic Pacific Island Health Research Centre director and Victoria University Department of Nursing and Midwifery senior lecturer Marion Clark, Nursing Council Chief Executive Judy Kilpatrick, Nursing Council Chairperson Taima Campbell, Waikato District Health Board Te Waka Hauora (Maori Health Unit) clinical manager Nicolette Sheridan, Auckland University Senior Lecturer in Nursing and Maori Mobile Disease State Management Nurses Coordinator of Maori Nursing Programme Maree Young, Clinical Training Agency Analyst Frances Hughes, Ministry of Health Chief Advisor, Nursing (one District Health Board New Zealand representative is yet to be nominated)

Background Questions and Answers

What is post entry clinical training?

Post entry clinical training (PECT) occurs after entry to a health profession, once an individual is eligible to practise in a particular occupation.

Post entry clinical training programmes are:

Vocational: rather than academically or research based.

Clinical: clinically based, with a substantial clinical component where employment in a clinical setting is integral for completion of the qualification.

Post-Entry: occurs after entry to a health profession, so that a person is eligible to practise in a particular occupation.

Formal Programme: formally enrolled in a training programme which leads to a recognised qualification.

Six Months: the formal training programme is to last for the equivalent of at least six full time months.

Nationally Recognised: recognised by the profession and/or health sector and meeting a national health service skill requirement rather than a local employer need.

Why provide post entry clinical training for nurses?

Following graduation from the three year Bachelor of Nursing degree a registered comprehensive nurse is educationally prepared to work with clients at a beginning practitioner level. However, beginning nurses require additional knowledge, support and clinical experience to work effectively in nursing practice. The nursing workforce also needs continued upskilling as practice advances in priority areas.

How will it help patient outcomes and safety?

There is considerable international evidence that improved health outcomes can be gained from advanced training for nurses. High complex needs patients, those with chronic conditions and those requiring community based services are shown to particularly benefit from skilled nursing services.

Who is developing the Purchasing and Prioritisation Strategy?

The Ministry of Health in collaboration with a sector reference group made up of experts in nursing education and practice, with Pacific and Maori experts also represented.

What is the role of the sector reference group?

The sector reference group will:

provide input into the analysis of current post entry clinical nurse training conducted in New Zealand and its relevance to workforce deficit issues

provide expert advice into the development of a national framework for purchasing and prioritising post entry clinical nurse training

provide input into the development of a costing model for post entry clinical nurse training.

What is the Clinical Training Agency?

The Clinical Training Agency (CTA) was established in February 1995 and is now part of the Ministry of Health. It is the national agency responsible for meeting the health care needs of New Zealanders by purchasing post entry clinical training for the health and disability sector workforce.

How does the Clinical Training Agency decide what programmes to fund?

The CTA has developed criteria to ensure its decisions deliver maximum benefit for New Zealand health for the money spent. The factors it considers include established need, Maori development, effectiveness, acceptability, efficiency, policy guidelines, safety, programme co-ordination, equity and risk management.

How does this tie in with other recent developments in nursing?

The Ministerial Taskforce on Nursing (1998) identified a number of areas where the scope of practice for nurses and midwives could be expanded. These included:

development of new nursing roles that are not confined to the traditional community/hospital boundaries

prescribing, ordering diagnostic and laboratory tests, and referring clients to specialists

the appointment of nurses as responsible clinicians under the Mental Health Act 1992.

These developments will have an impact on the future function of the CTA and the funding strategy applied to nursing training.

The Taskforce on Nursing found it was important to ensure the health sector could use effectively what nurses had to offer from their professional training.


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