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More than 180 nurses receive scholarships

More than 180 nurses receive primary health care scholarships

Health Minister Annette King says 183 nurses will develop their primary health care knowledge through a $850,000 Government postgraduate scholarship fund.

Ms King said the Ministry of Health scholarships, part of an $8.1 million package to support and encourage primary health care nursing, are a significant reward for New Zealand's largest health workforce.

"This is one of the biggest separate investments Government has made into New Zealand nurses' education, since the 1980s,” said Ms King. ”More than 7500 registered nurses work in primary health care, and it is important we invest in their central role, and encourages nurses to build knowledge and expertise.”

Ms King said that later this month, she would also announce the distribution of $7 million for innovative primary health care nursing concepts proposed by nurses and health providers. The total of $8.1 million is part of a $400 million package to implement the Primary Health Care Strategy over the next three years.

"Most nurses work for private providers and may have difficulty accessing ongoing and subsidised education. By helping nurses develop their skills, we want to encourage workforce support and retention, more nurse practitioners, and registered nurses working in primary health care."

Ms King said the scholarships had been awarded throughout New Zealand, with 20 percent from rural areas. Topics to be studied included child health, aged care, managing people with diabetes and working with people who have dementia.

Ms King said she is pleased that educational institutes are recognising the importance of primary health care programmes.

"More are tailoring their courses to incorporate primary health care education in health promotion, advanced assessment, best practice guidelines, age populations such as adolescent, adult, aged care and mental health care."

For more information contact John Harvey (04) 471 9305 or Zoe Priestley (04) 470 6851

Or for further comment on the scholarships contact: Judy Kilpatrick, Head of Faculty of Nursing, Auckland University: 021 780 937; or Jenny Carryer, Executive Director, College of Nurses Aotearoa, and Massey University, Professor of Nursing: 027 4 491 302 Questions and Answers

What is a primary health care nurse? A registered nurse with expertise in primary health care practice. Primary health care nursing encompasses population health, health promotion, disease prevention, first-point-of-contact care and disease management. Primary health care nursing emphasises the importance of working in partnership with individuals, whanau and communities to achieve the shared goal of health for all.

How many primary health care nurses work in New Zealand? In 2001, 7617 registered nurses said in their response to the Nursing Council's workforce survey that their type of work or employment setting could include primary health care.

How much money was made available last year for nursing initiatives? $8.1 million was allocated over five years from the primary health care funding package to support primary health care nursing. $850,000 from the $8.1 million was made available to registered nurses for study scholarships. Uncommitted funds from this round will result in a call for more applications next financial year. These scholarships are to support nurses currently practising in primary health care settings to undertake postgraduate nursing courses in primary health care.

What was the selection criteria? Applicants were selected by a panel of nurses including members of the Primary Health Care Nursing Expert Advisory Group and educators from postgraduate nursing programmes.

All applicants had to meet the following selection criteria: they are New Zealand registered nurses they have experience within the New Zealand health and disability sector they are supported by their employer (if appropriate) and released as required to complete their programme of study the programme or paper contains specific content on primary health care nursing or be within a masters or doctorate degree and is relevant to primary health care nursing the applicant provides clear rationale for their programme of study and how it will contribute to primary health care nursing practice

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