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Bonus fails to lure nurses

It attracted plenty of criticism for failing to attract the numbers and as of 11 May one of the government’s main initiatives to address the nursing shortage has been scrapped.

Announced in 2008, the ‘Bringing Nurses Back to the Workforce’ program aimed to entice 8750 nurses back into the workforce by mid-2012.

Despite the offer of a $6000 bonus, six months prior to its demise, the program reached less than seven per cent of its long-term target.

According to government figures, just 764 nurses had been recruited since the launch. Health minister Nicola Roxon conceded that the program did not “achieve the objective that we would have hoped for it”,

Very little publicity has been given to the program no longer running, with the announcement made as part of the federal budget.

The Department of Health and Ageing website states that: “As part of health reform, the Australian government will redirect funding from the Bringing Nurses Back into the Workforce (BNBW) program to a number of new nursing and aged care initiatives.

“Nurses already participating in the BNBW Program, and who continue to be eligible, will receive incentive payments. However, no new applications will be accepted beyond 11 May 2010.”
While many in the profession said the program had merit it was widely believed that adjustments were needed.

One of the main criticisms was that while offering a financial incentive, it didn’t address issues of dissatisfaction, which one of thoe main reasons cited by nurses who have left the profession.
Latest figures estimate that there are more than 40,000 registered and enrolled nurses that are not employed as a nurse in Australia. Of these, two thirds were not looking for work in nursing.

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