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Minister welcomes agreement on boosted role for aged care nurses.



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Media Release Kevin Andrews Minister for Ageing

KA 107/2002 Tuesday November 12, 2002

MINISTER WELCOMES AGREEMENT ON BOOSTED ROLE FOR AGED CARE NURSES

FEDERAL Minister for Ageing Kevin Andrews has welcomed agreement by the aged care sector on an enhanced role for enrolled nurses in aged care.

Mr Andrews yesterday chaired a meeting of 15 people, including representatives from the Australian Nursing Federation, Australian Nursing Council and National Enrolled Nurse Association as well as the two main provider organisations, ANHECA and ACSA.

The meeting was called to discuss a boosted role for enrolled nurses (EN's) which would give registered nurses more time to use their higher level nursing skills to provide clinical leadership and concentrate on care assessment.

"There are differences between the states in terms of what an EN can do," Mr Andrews said. "For example, in Western Australia enrolled nurses have a much broader scope of practice than other states.

"We need a nationally consistent approach. There have been many reports over the years calling for an enhanced role for EN's and I believe it is time for action."

There was unanimous agreement at the meeting for EN's being allowed to dispense up to Schedule 4 medications, plus insulin injections, in aged care homes.

"This will also enhance education and career pathways for aged care staff," Mr Andrews said.

"There is a shortage of nurses worldwide, especially registered nurses, and we need to attract and retain nurses in the aged care sector. Other initiatives include the $26.3 million for up to 1000 aged care nursing scholarships and $21.3 million for education and training for care workers."

It is hoped that Nurses' Boards across the country will adopt the enhanced scope of practice for EN's by the middle of next year.

Media Contact: Felicity Dargan (Press Secretary) 0409 550 446

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Published on Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing web site 12 November 2002 Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing URL: http://www.health.gov.au/mediarel/yr2002/ka/ka02107.htm