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Boost for aged care nurses training

Government announces new round of scholarships.

The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler has announced a new round of scholarships under the Supporting a Professional Aged Care Workforce Program.

"The scholarships available under this program provide aged care nurses with training focussed on improving clinical care and creating career paths in aged care," Butler said.

"Successful applicants will be able to undertake studies relating to aged care, including continuing education courses, postgraduate studies and courses leading to a nurse practitioner qualification.

"By supporting appropriate training for existing aged care workers to develop necessary skills, we will improve recruitment and retention of aged care nurses and deliver quality care to the increasing ageing population.

The government is committed to far-reaching reform of our health and aged care system, and part of this will be support for a professional and qualified aged care workforce, he said.

"These reforms will build on our current strengths and reshape the system to better meet the needs of patients and health care in the 21st century."

Funding for the program was provided in the 2010-11 Budget and includes support for up to 1240 aged care postgraduate scholarships and continuing education scholarships over four years and up to 40 aged care nurse practitioner scholarships over four years.

Registered nurses can apply for postgraduate and nurse practitioner scholarships worth up to $15,000 a year for two years. Enrolled and registered nurses will be eligible for continuing education scholarships worth up to $3000 for conference attendance, $5000 for short courses or workshops and up to $6,000 over a two-year period for re-entry courses.

Applications for the scholarships are now open and will close on 4 November. Interested nurses should contact the Royal College of Nursing Australia on 1800 116 696 or download information packs at www.rcna.org.au.

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