ACN’s response to One Nation advocating for the training of our nursing profession back on the floor of our hospitals.
19 August 2016

Senator Pauline Hanson
Queensland Senate
PO Box 63


Dear Senator,
I am writing to express my personal disappointment, and that of members of the Australian College of Nursing in response to the One Nation policy regarding the return of hospital based nurse training.

The notion that nursing education should or could be delivered through hospital training long outgrown by the profession also downplays the essential role the profession plays in the delivery of health care. Recent decades have seen growing demands on Australia’s health care workforce to advance and expand existing scopes of practice with nursing at the forefront of many innovative health care models. The models improve access to high quality health care for Australian communities made possible by the high standard of nursing education delivered throughout Australia’s higher education sector.

While nursing education was indeed historically delivered in an apprenticeship style structure, the transition of nursing to the tertiary education sector in the early 1980s was a critical step in ensuring this country maintained a nursing workforce well prepared to contribute to the health of Australian communities by keeping pace with the increasing complexity and rapidly advancing technology in health care. Failure to do so would have a significant and detrimental effect on the capacity and capability of our health system.
Australian undergraduate students currently complete their degree within accredited universities over 3 years. Clinical placement remains an integral and compulsory component of Bachelor of Nursing degrees in tertiary institutions.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council requires Bachelor of Nursing programs to include a minimum of 800 hours practical exposure in a variety of health care settings, which do not include simulated learning. During this time, students aim to integrate evidence based knowledge from the classroom into the clinical practice and are supported by a clinical facilitator/preceptor.

The nursing profession has made significant contributions to the delivery of patient care. Technological and social change has meant that the role of the nurse has become increasingly complex, with nurses required to be technologically competent to meet new advanced approaches to patient care. This change in health care delivery has further contributed to the movement of nursing education into the tertiary sector. Nursing education undertaken throughout our tertiary sector ensures that Australians are cared for by a workforce prepared by curriculum developed and delivered to a consistently high standard.Tertiary qualified nurse clinicians and academics support and lead the development of the nursing and aged care leadership that shapes and informs the strategic direction of Australia’s health system, making key contributions in shaping the design and delivery of new models of care and continue to prove instrumental in driving current and future health care reform. Australia also boasts world class nurse researchers committed to developing a rigorous body of knowledge that not only guides the development of nursing practice but that also works to optimise the wellbeing of communities by shaping health policy.

ACN understands the significant financial pressures placed on student nurses during their placement period and I would be happy to discuss alternative solutions to this pertinent issue.

Yours sincerely
Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward
Chief Executive Officer
RN, MMgt, Dip App Sci (Nursing), Acute Care Cert, FACN, Wharton Fellow, MAICD