Where to from here for post – registration education?

1 May 2010

Inadequate and inequitable funding of nursing education has impacted on nursing’s contribution towards meeting New Zealand’s health needs, says Anne Brinkman.

In a 30 page summary document she looks at the history of post-registration training since the creation of the Clinical Training Agency in 1993.

For much of that time funding decisions were “chaotic” and “haphazard”, as described by NZNO chief executive Geoff Annals in a preface to her abridged discussion document. With time came 50 per cent funding for the New Entry to Practice (NEtP) programmes, and greater funding for nursing post-registration funding, but it was still much less than an equitable share of the health professional funding pie, argues Brinkman.

In 2009 came the setting up of the new Clinical Training Agency board and calls for greater collaboration and collegiality in work and training between the health professions.

“Meaningful, responsive post-registration education can only occur through processes that provide robust information on which to base decisions in order to meet health needs,” argues Brinkman.

“Inequitable funding of nursing education for many years has resulted in significant opportunity costs, frustrating the capacity and capability of the contribution that nursing can and could make to nursing care.”

“There is a strong need for a greater political awareness and action by nurses to determine their own destiny in terms of their education requirements, within the newly appointed inter-collegial environment towards meeting the individual and population health needs of New Zealand, concludes Brinkman.

She puts forward seven principles for guiding post-registration nursing education in the future:

Appropriate: Based on health needs and the consequent learning needs for developing competent and confident nursing care – including post-registration as well as postgraduate funding.

Acceptable: Culturally appropiate, nationally consistent, and able to prepare nurses to be better advocates for their patients.

Affordable: Effectively managed on a national basis to make the best use of scare health and education resources.

Accessible: Flexible delivery and adequately resourced.

Relevant: Flexibly designed programmes that are responsive to current and evolving health needs, delivered by competent and confident teachers.

Supported: Workplaces are supported to offer release time that is planned for and delivered to maximise learning opportunities.

Evaluated: Defined learning outcomes are used as the tool of measurement for ensuring learning outcomes are met.

Drawn from the abridged version of NZNO report: Clarifying Funding for Post-Registration Nursing Education.