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Chief Executive Officer’s report

The need for a comprehensive nursing and midwifery workforce strategy has never been more apparent, writes Debra Cerasa.

Like the rest of Australia, the July-August period was a blur for us at RCNA as we keenly watched the federal election campaign unfold. In the lead-up to the election, we actively lobbied all political parties to ensure all leaders were aware of the needs of the nursing and midwifery workforce, in order to meet the health needs of Australian communities now and into the future.

The need for a comprehensive nursing and midwifery workforce strategy has never been more apparent. This was the key policy development called for at RCNA’s National Nursing Summit held in May. It is an essential first step for understanding the requirements of the professions, and needs to address areas such as mentoring, education and retention to ensure a well-supported, flexible and sustainable nursing workforce. This strategy would be a strong foundation for the future development of nursing and health policy, and was one of our key election priorities.

Properly supporting and utilising the nursing workforce was the underpinning message during our election campaign, and we will continue to deliver this message to the federal government.

For all media releases and campaign documentation, including the ‘RCNA Key Election Priorities 2010’ document, distributed widely to government, I encourage you to visit the Press Room on our website www.rcna.org.au.

In other news, we were proud to confer RCNA Honorary Fellowship on the Governor-General Ms Bryce AC last month, at a reception in Canberra. Her Excellency has been a long-time supporter of the nursing and health professions, and we were pleased to publicly thank her for work in this area.

At the reception, we also launched our fifth faculty, the Movement Disorders and Parkinson’s Nurses Faculty. We are very excited to add this area of expertise to RCNA and to be able to support this essential area of nursing.

Finally, thank you to all who participated in the experienced nurses’ think tank sessions at national office last month. We had some great discussion, which included dialogue around the key attributes that make a nurse ‘experienced,’ as well as some ideas and actions to help RCNA better meet the needs of experienced nurses in our membership. Please continue to feed your ideas to RCNA – after all, we are for and about our members.

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