Friday 6 October 2023

The only thing you'll be nursing is your whisky

Either New Zealand has no shortage of nurses, or New Zealand is a fundamentally silly country. 

Look on, ye voters, and despair. 

A new nurses' training school is ready to train, but has to sit empty. Why?

Here's the bit in BusinessDesk: 

Instead, bureaucracy and an absence of pragmatism is coming before both the pressing workforce crisis and urgent patient needs.  

The delays all come down to an historic technicality requiring education providers to offer a Bachelor of Nursing programme before they can offer an Enrolled Nursing programme.  Yet enrolled nurses trained by UP Education in Australia are able to live and work in NZ using this exact diploma. 

They’re high-quality nurses who make essential contributions in hospitals, private practices and aged-care facilities. 

Let’s repeat that. This qualification is a cornerstone of the Australian healthcare system. Those who hold it can work immediately in the NZ healthcare system. Yet it is not allowed to be taught as a standalone qualification in this country.  

This outdated standard is likely why the NCNZ, the nurse training regulator, originally agreed to consult with its members on the removal of this standard.  

However, the NCNZ has since decided to bundle this specific review of a single technical clause into a much wider review of sector-wide nursing competencies across the country’s entire nurse training sector – for enrolled and registered nurses. A technical standard that could have been reviewed and removed in a matter of weeks has snowballed into a review requiring consultation across the whole health sector beginning late this year or early 2024, potentially delaying our nursing programme a further 12 to 18 months. 

Newsroom covers it too:

Rivera said she had been told the registered and enrolled nursing scopes would be wrapped together from early 2024.

“Then there’s the consultation on what the actual education standards might look like, so I said to [Nursing Council chief executive Catherine Byrne] that this sounds to me like a 12-18-month delay.

“I didn’t get a reply, but that is my assumption given how consultation processes work with the Nursing Council.”

At the extreme end, Rivera’s estimated timeline could push the opening schedule to early 2025.

The facility, which got $370,000 in taxpayer funding through the Tertiary Education Committee, will sit empty until the consultation comes to an end.

“I have staff hired and ready to go, but luckily we're quite nimble and I've got them working on other health qualifications, so they are doing other things.

“The broader issue is we thought we could be part of a solution to a problem, and the bureaucracy around it is astonishing. There's just no movement.”

Rivera accepted the scope of practice needed to be looked at. “But it shouldn't mean that when there's a crisis, everything grinds to a halt and no new player is allowed in the market.”


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