Date published: 
2 April 2020
Media type: 
Media release
General public

The Australian Government will fund up to 20,000 new online education places to enable Registered Nurses (RNs) to develop knowledge enabling them to assist in the delivery of care in intensive care and high dependency units across Australia.

The online training will allow experienced RNs to be used to maximum effect in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This will support a doubling in the number of intensive care beds in Australian hospitals, to meet the projected demand caused by COVID-19. 

Up to $4.1 million will be provided to e-learning provider, Medcast to provide the critical care education program free of charge to participants.

The e-learning platform will deliver online learning modules that will assist currently employed RNs’ to develop their knowledge, so they can assist in high dependency and intensive care units.

Registered nurses comprise the largest health care occupation. In 2018, there were around 276,000 RNs in Australia.

Despite swift action by Australian governments, the number of COVID-19 cases will continue to grow. It is likely that unprecedented demand for hospital care will strain our health system and health workers, who every day are saving and improving lives.

RNs interested in undertaking the training should visit or contact Medcast by phone on 1300 652 046.

The Australian Government has also funded an online refresher course to allow RNs who are not currently in clinical practice to update their knowledge to re-join the health workforce. See for further information.

We thank and acknowledge all of Australia’s nurses for their ongoing commitment and dedication to providing Australians with the health care they need during this unprecedented time.

The Government has been consulting extensively with key nursing and midwifery organisations to ensure our health system can cope with the challenges of COVID-19.

The critical care education program has been endorsed by the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses and the surge workforce strategy is strongly supported by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.