‘Job swap’ scheme filling GAP in aged care training

June 2015 Vol 15 (3)

Two years on, Canterbury’s Gerontology Acceleration Programme (GAP) is seen as having a positive impact directly and indirectly on the aged care nursing workforces involved.

GAP, launched in mid-2013, aims to fast-track the careers of mid-career nurses working in residential aged care and district health board nurses working in older adult health. Six nurses were involved in the first cohort and nine in the second cohort of the programme that involves postgraduate study, mentoring and  ‘job swapping’ so the nurses spend two 12-week rotations working in a sector of aged care that is new to them.

A generally positive executive summary of the project’s evaluation report has been released, and the full report, along with recommendations for improvements and refinements, is due to be released shortly.

Kate Gibb, the nursing director of older people’s health for Canterbury District Health Board, says the DHB is really pleased with how the scheme is progressing. She says the two nurses from the residential aged care sector in the first cohort had both since taken on more senior roles with their employers, with one now a unit manager and the other having a national clinical role for their organisation. Also, a DHB nurse had taken on a new DHB quality role involving the residential aged care sector.

Gibb says some had been worried that the scheme would see residential aged care nurses leaving the sector for DHB jobs, but this concern had not eventuated. She admitted, however, that job offers had been made to the facility nurses by charge nurses during their DHB rotations but the nurses had stuck with their facility employers.

A new cohort was due to start in June this year but the decision was made to put the scheme on hold for a year because of a busy year ahead for the DHB, including moving the Older Persons’ Health Service from its current home at Princess Margaret Hospital to the Burwood Hospital campus.

Tool kit for nursing job swapping schemes

  • Lessons learnt from an acceleration training programme involving mid-career nurses rotating between employers are being shared in a new tool kit.
  • Nursing leaders at Canterbury District Health Board initially developed the resources for its gerontology acceleration programme, which is designed to fast-track the careers of potential aged care clinical leaders, nurse specialists or managers.
  • Nursing leaders decided that the resources developed could be useful and relevant to any nursing specialty wanting to offer a career acceleration programme exposing mid-career nurses to a wide range of professional development opportunities.
  • The Canterbury scheme involved ‘job swaps’ between nurses employed by residential aged care facilities and nurses working for the DHB and the tool kit has advice on how to manage the human resources and legal aspects of rotating nurses between employers.
  • GAP involved two 12-week rotations to different work settings, mentoring, relevant postgraduate study and completing a professional development recognition programme (PDRP) at proficient level within the 12-month programme.
  • The 55-page tool kit has guidelines on how to set up similar programmes and includes copies of a business case, advice on timing of rotations, copies of invitation and confirmation letters and a programme handbook.
  • More information and a copy of the Nursing Workforce Acceleration Programme Tool Kit can be found at www.sialliance.health.nz


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