New scheme trialled for new grads in aged care

1 November 2012

Extra support is to be offered to 24 new graduates entering the aged care workforce in 2013 in the trial of a new style graduate programme.

Jane O’Malley, Ministry of Health chief nurse, said it was shortly to call for providers interested in joining the demonstration project that aims to help boost the aged care nursing workforce.

She said it was looking for residential aged care providers with the capacity and capability to consistently offer ringfenced, quality places for new graduates over several years.

Sue Hayward, head of the Nursing Education Advisory Team (NEAT), said NEAT had asked HWNZ “many times in the past” to remove funding restrictions on how DHBs could support new graduates into aged care. “So the fact that we have the Chief Nurse driving this now is great,” said Hayward.

The scheme will be administered by Health Workforce New Zealand, alongside the other nursing entry to practice (NETP) programmes funded by HWNZ, but graduates on the demonstration trial will get more, additional support than currently available to graduates on aged care NETP programmes.

O’Malley said directors of nursing at district health boards around the country would play a major role in the demonstration trial but the trial would be run from the HWNZ’s four new regional hubs rather than a host DHB.

Each regional hub is to support six graduates each year for the next five years to help build up a “critical mass” of new aged care nurses.

“The reality is that our oldest workforce is in aged care,” said O’Malley. So the Ministry wanted to support a new generation of nurses to work and gain experience alongside the existing older workforce.

Brenda Wraight, director of HWNZ, said the demonstration would include additional supervision and support requiring additional funding but the amount was still to be finalised. She said the trial would also be a test of a new differential funding model for NETP and, if the evaluation showed it was successful, it would probably use the same approach for primary health.