Jim McGinty

Jim McGinty

Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs

    New role to boost public health workforce

    10/05/2008 12:00 AM

    A new role has been created in Western Australia’s public health system which will train and place more than 125 Assistants in Nursing in public hospitals by the end of the year.


    Health Minister Jim McGinty said 34 trainees had already started the course and were receiving on-the-job training at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Fremantle Hospital and Bentley Mental Health Service.


    “Assistants in Nursing will provide vital support to the nursing workforce and public health system by helping with patient meals and bathing, making beds and a wide variety of other duties,” Mr McGinty said.


    “By July, 75 Assistants in Nursing are expected to be qualified, with 30 to be employed at Fremantle and Kaleeya Hospitals, 30 at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and 15 at Bentley Mental Health Service.


    “At least two more courses are due to start later this year, with more than 50 trainees taking up positions at Royal Perth Hospital, Rockingham Hospital, North Metropolitan Area Mental Health Service and Swan/Kalamunda Health Services.


    “The course comprises up to 20 weeks’ paid training including theory and on-the-job training.  Trainees who have previous experience in health care may have the length of the clinical component of their course reduced. 


    “The aim of the Assistant in Nursing program is to provide holistic care to patients while giving trainees an excellent start to their careers.


    “Assistants in Nursing will perform an important role in our hospitals but may undertake further training and education to become an enrolled nurse or a registered nurse.”


    Trainee Assistant in Nursing Anders Lieftink, who worked as a hospital cleaner before starting the course, said the course provided a great start to a nursing career.


    “I hope to go into the Registered Nurse course at Notre Dame University next year,” Mr Lieftink said.


    “I want to help people and have a job where I could work anywhere in the world.  This is a good lead into that and I am really enjoying being a trainee assistant in nursing.”


    More than 10,000 nurses (full-time equivalent) now work in the State’s public health system, approximately 2,000 more than in 2001 (an increase of about 20 per cent).


    Mr McGinty said the WA Government was focussed on making nursing in the public system an attractive career to help ensure a sustainable nursing workforce into the future.


    “Strategies include the introduction of work-life balance initiatives, greater roster flexibility, phased retirement, re-entry programs, childcare and parental leave,” he said.


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