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ACN's new funding will allow for more nurses to work in the aged care sector. Picture: Supplied

Funding boost to pave the way for aged care nurses

The Australian College of Nursing has received a funding boost to help train and upskill more nurses to work in the aged care sector.

Under new rules implemented at the start of July, aged-care facilities must roster at least one RN on-site and on duty 24/7.

From October, adjustments to the care minutes given to residents will increase to 215 minutes, including 44 RN minutes.

ACN chief Kylie Ward said the funding was vital to upskill RNs in alignment with the recommendations.

“Nurses are the most qualified permanent on-site health professionals in residential aged care facilities,” Ms Ward said.

“We need to get more nurses into the system to meet the growing demand for high-quality care.”

According to a report by The National Aged Care Workforce Census and Survey (NACWCS), the aged care sector comprises nearly a quarter of a million people in Australia.  

Despite this, there are currently nationwide shortages of trained registered nurses, with regional and remote areas experiencing shortages of up to 60 per cent.

Nearly a month since the 24/7 nurse mandate came in, several rural and regional aged care homes have been forced to shut down due to a lack of nurses available.

“[The nurse shortage] will not be recoverable within days, weeks, months. It’s not one simple solution; we need time,” Ms Ward told Sky News.

“Regional and rural nurses deserve to be paid at the highest level, and we need to pay them properly to employ and retain them.”

The new ACN funding contributes to the Aged Care Transition to Practice Program (ACTTP), a government scheme created to allow RNs to transition smoothly into the aged care industry.

“ACN has for many years advocated for Registered Nurses to be always on duty and available in aged care,” Ms Ward told Aged Care Insite.

“We will strive collaboratively with aged care providers and the government to provide training and develop further incentives to ensure the aged care sector has a highly-qualified nursing workforce pipeline to meet current and future needs.”

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