06 May 2024

The Albanese Labor Government is investing in Australia’s health workforce by upskilling our nation’s nurses and midwives through a new $50.2 million scholarship.

The Primary Care Nursing and Midwifery Scholarship Program will provide 1,850 postgraduate scholarships over four years for registered nurses and midwives to become nurse practitioners and endorsed midwives in primary and aged care settings.

The funding is part of Labor’s commitment to strengthen the health workforce by upskilling professionals across the primary health care system, ensuring every Australian has access to quality, timely support. The program will strengthen the health workforce in rural and remote communities by providing preference to scholarship applicants currently living or working in these areas.

Following a competitive grant round, the Australian College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP) will manage the Primary Care Nursing and Midwifery Scholarship Program. ACNP is the peak national organisation for nurse practitioners and is well placed to attract quality applicants and aid them in their study.

As a first step, ACNP will set up an advisory group to ensure the scholarships are awarded in the areas of most need, including rural and remote communities and to First Nations students.

This announcement builds on the Albanese Government’s introduction of the Health Legislation Amendment (Removal of Requirement for a Collaborative Arrangement) Bill which removes barriers that prevent nurse practitioners and endorsed midwives from prescribing Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines and providing services under Medicare.

Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney MP:

“As a former nurse, I know the impact further study can have on enhancing leadership and clinical skills. This program will not only develop our nursing and midwifery workforce, but also see improved care for all Australians across the country.

“We know that attracting and retaining nurses and midwives in primary and aged care has been a challenge – particularly in our regions. This program will go a long way to ensuring Australians can get the best quality care regardless of where they live.

“Nurse practitioners and midwives are so important – they have a unique connection to their community and increasing our support for them is key to a stronger, healthier community."

Quotes attributable to Lisa Chesters, Member for Bendigo:

“As a regional MP, I know the firsthand the impact that workforce shortages in our health sector have on our community.

“This announcement will encourage more nurses to become nurse practitioners.

“I’m proud to be part of a Government that is creating opportunities for professionals across the health system to upskill – this will ensure that communities like ours maintain the strong health workforce that our community need and deserve.”