Nurses and midwives comprise an important component of the Australian health workforce. This workforce includes Nurse Practitioners (NPs), Registered Nurses (RNs), Enrolled Nurses (ENs) and Midwives. In December 2014 the Department of Health published two reports Australia’s Future Health Workforce – Nurses and the Nursing Workforce Sustainability: Improving Nurse Retention and Productivity that projected a future nursing workforce shortage that would significantly impact the health system. Similar issues had previously been identified within the midwifery workforce in the National Maternity Services Plan.
In September 2015 Health Minister’s agreed:
- The need for collaborative action to help address the predicted shortfall within the nursing workforce and to allow for role expansion in the future;
- That nurse retention, and improving productivity and innovation, are priorities for nation action; and
- The establishment of the NNMEAN to progress work on nursing and midwifery policy and planning issues in a collaborative way.
The inaugural NNMEAN Meeting was held in Canberra on 7 April 2016.
The membership of the NNMEAN is representative of the key stakeholders in the Australian health sector. Each member is appointed on the basis of individual skill, knowledge and expertise, and holds their appointment at the discretion of the Department of Health. The NNMEAN is Chaired by Ms Pauline Ross. It includes representatives from:
- Council of Deans of Nursing and Midwifery (CDNM);
- Catholic Health Australia (CHA);
- Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA);
- Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC);
- Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA);
- Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN);
- Australian College of Midwives (ACM);
- Australian College of Nursing (ACN);
- Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA);
- Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM);
- Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF);
- Tafe Directors Australia;
- Consumer Health Forum;
- State and Territory Representatives; and
- A range of public health providers from remote, regional and metropolitan Australia.
The NNMEAN may invite/second participants where expert advice is required on specific issues relevant to the future planning, coordination and development of the nursing and midwifery workforce.
The function of NNMEAN is to:
- Identify mechanisms to address nursing and midwifery issues with a focus on a sustainable and efficient workforce within the national and global employment context;
- Collaborate to more closely align education investments with future workforce requirements that are based on service needs;
- Provide advice on the design of the nursing and midwifery team so as to: enable all nurses, midwives and unregistered health care workers to work to their full scope of practice; improve productivity; and advise on models of care to deliver the best outcomes for consumers;
- Provide advice on the appropriate frequency and scope of data collection and analysis to inform policy and workforce planning; and
- Provide advice on the training and education for nurses and midwives across the career continuum to ensure a safe, capable nursing and midwifery workforce.
Please refer to the list below for related links on the Department of Health website.