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UC collaboration aims to attract nurses into aged care

Danielle Meddemmen

21 December 2021: Researchers from the University of Canberra will work to develop a set of programs aimed at attracting nurses into aged care, as part of a collaboration with the University of Wollongong (UOW).

The two institutions will establish Aged Care Transition to Practice Programs (ACTPP) to attract and retain up to 740 nurses in the sector. The Government has funded two other suppliers to provide ACTPP - the Australian College of Nursing and Aged and Community Services Australia .

The University of Canberra’s Distinguished Professor of Health and Ageing, Diane Gibson, said the involvement would allow for local industry engagement and a broader reach of the program.

“We are really pleased to be teaming up with the University of Wollongong on this program and supporting the provision of access to aged care industry partners and aged care clinical and education experts as facilitators to deliver it,” she said.

“Most critically, we will be working with more than fifteen aged care providers who are committed to their participation in the ACTPP and are crucial to its success.”

Professor Gibson will be joined by her University of Canberra colleagues, Associate Professor in Nursing Dr Kasia Bail and Professor Karen Strickland in the working group.

The consortium has been funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and will build on the successful Aged Care Round Table (ACRT) events co-chaired by Professor Strickland and Mr Anthony Dombkins, ACT Health Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer.

The ACRT was established in October 2020 to respond to and address the needs of the aged care nursing workforce across the ACT.

The ACT Health Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer will complement the project by supporting Dr Bail as a part time Associate Professor of Gerontology with ACT Health to bring enhanced aged care practice experience to our nursing graduates in Canberra.

The university-industry partnership will provide evidence-based educational strategies to attract new graduate nurses to aged care, train them as competent gerontological nurses and provide career pathways aimed at retention.

Professor Gibson said the partnership would address findings from the Royal Commission into Aged Care to improve the quality of care and expertise of staff in the industry.

“The consortium partners have a shared vision for new graduates and nurses in aged care to become lifelong learners motivated to drive their own development and aged care organisations,” she said.

“The future benefits include expansion of the program and adaption for experienced nurses who move from acute healthcare specialist areas into aged care.”

The program, which received $1.1 million worth of funding in the 2020-21 Budget, has been rolling out programs since July 2021, with an increased ACT focus from 2022.

To express your interest in being a mentor, mentee, or organization participating in the program, please go to Gerontological Nursing Competencies – ADHERE or