Date published: 
15 April 2020
Media event date: 
2 April 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

DAVID KOCH:

Now, the Australian Government is ramping up its fight against coronavirus with $4.1 million allocated to train up to 20,000 nurses in critical care. The training, which can be done online and free of charge, will help support a doubling beds in the number of intensive care beds Australian hospitals. For more, I'm joined by Alison McMillan, the Australian Government's Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer. Alison, morning to you.

ALISON MCMILLAN:

Good morning.

DAVID KOCH:

That's a big job, upskilling 20,000 registered nurses to critical care. Are you confident it can be done?

ALISON MCMILLAN:

I am confident, Kochie. The company that we have engaged to do this has got more than 25 years of experience in doing this type of work. So yes, that's the reason we've chosen this path.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay. How will their roles differ? And is online training enough?

ALISON MCMILLAN:

Yes, online training is enough, Kochie. We've been doing online training in nursing for a very long time. The courses come in a set of modules, and it's self-paced and it's a whole range of ways in which nurses can be educated in order to help them work in a high dependency unit or an intensive care unit. And they'll be working alongside critical care nurses who already have formal qualifications in intensive care and have a great deal of experience.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay. Now, the Government is also funding an online refresher course for nurses who are not currently in clinical practice. So who are you hoping to recruit for that? I'm married to an old nurse, she was talking – old, I mean in she hasn't been in nursing for a while, I should clarify that. She's gorgeous, not that old. But how far back do you have to be to do this new online course to get your certificate?

ALISON MCMILLAN:

Okay. So it's not a certificate, Kochie, it's a refresher course. And it's aimed at nurses who've maintain some level of recency of practice, we call it. So the eligibility is on the website of the Australian College of Nursing. And it's looking at those who may have taken some time away from nursing to have family, or to choose a different path. But who just need that extra bit of education so they can re-orientate themselves to nursing in the 21st century.

DAVID KOCH:

So they've still got a foot in nursing, if you like, and maybe doing it part-time or aged care or whatever? And just to come back?

ALISON MCMILLAN:

That's right.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay. The worst is yet to come, are you confident our hospitals can cope with it and your teams can cope with it?

ALISON MCMILLAN:

I'm confident, Kochie, that we're doing everything we possibly can to build our capacity across the system. But we can't do this alone and you've heard frequently now across the country and across the world, we're asking the community to help us as health professionals by making sure they play their part through the things we're asking them to do with social distancing. We can't do this alone and together, we will get through this.

DAVID KOCH:

Alison, lovely to meet you and good luck with it.

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