Nation's nurses on the COVID-19 front-line

Nurses around the world and in Australia are once again on the front-line and in a war – this time against the dreadful corona virus.

Nurses in Australia are playing a crucial role across the patient care spectrum and making up the largest segment in our health workforce. They are working in respiratory clinics, providing important support, comfort and guidance to people who are worried and frightened about whether they have COVID-19. Nurses are very much at the front-line in the intensive care units, where the nurse is the person who is at the bedside of the most vulnerable, 24 hours, seven days a week.

It’s a most valuable resource which the Australian Government is now looking to tap into as demand for hospital care is likely to put unprecedented strain on our health system and our health workers, who every day are saving and improving lives.

To bolster the ranks of nurses around the nation, Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced important initiatives. The Government is:

  • Funding up to 20,000 new online education places.

  • Funding an online refresher course to get registered nurses, who may have recently left the profession for a variety of reasons, to return to the workforce.

This will allow the registered nurses can develop skills and knowledge to help in the delivery of care in intensive care and high dependency units across Australia. It also allows experienced nurses to be used to maximum effect in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and support a doubling in the number of intensive care beds in hospitals.

These initiatives have the strong support of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, Australian College of Nursing and Australian College of Critical Care Nurses.

There has been a strong response from nurses. Across Australia, already 3083 enrolled to complete the refresher course that so many nurses would put up their hands to be part of the fight against corona virus is, simply, what nurses do.

Following the principles of good hygiene, particularly hand washing, is now at the very heart of corona virus response.


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