The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) welcomes Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese’s pledge in his Budget Reply Speech tonight to put nurses into residential aged care facilities on a 24-hour basis.
Currently there is no mandatory or legislated requirement for a registered nurse on duty in Australian residential aged care facilities.
“I welcome Mr Albanese’s Budget Reply regarding this pledge. Our older Australians are amongst our most vulnerable citizens and they deserve around-the-clock clinical care from a registered nurse,” ACN CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said.
“I do however want to remind all our political leaders that there is a shortage in the nursing workforce. It is one thing to mandate a registered nurse to be on duty 24/7 in an aged care facility, but there must be the trained and qualified registered nurses available to provide care. We’ve heard from nurses that they are exhausted and are leaving the profession.
“As a nurse myself, I know our workforce wants to provide clinical care, but we need more nurses, and they need specialist training in aged care.
ACN has been one of the major providers of the Government-funded Aged Care Transition to Practice program. This program supports graduate nurses in their first year of clinical practice to gain the qualifications to provide specialist training in aged care and gerontological nursing, together with mentoring from senior nurses with experience in aged care,” she said.
Adjunct Professor Ward also welcomed the Opposition leader’s commitment to providing better food and safer conditions for residents, and higher pay for aged care workers.
“Nurses are the largest group of registered health professionals in the country. They are dedicated health professionals who work in all areas of health, in hospitals, general practice, mental health and aged care. They need ongoing training and education to continue to specialise and to provide the highest levels of clinical care, in all areas of health, including aged care”.