The Ministry of Health has launched a $1 million fund to help former nurses return to the healthcare sector, as workforce pressures from COVID-19 continue.
A maximum of 200 nurses are eligible for this funding across both rounds of applications, and covers up to $5,000 of an applicant’s training courses, English language proficiency tests, administration fees and other individual costs, such as childcare, transport and uniforms.
The Ministry’s Chief Nursing Officer, Lorraine Hetaraka, welcomed the launch of the support fund.
“The support fund is to help nurses who are not currently practising to return to a nursing role, to meet increased demand, support safe staffing, and improve access to care,” she said.
“Nurses are one of the cornerstones of the health and disability system and we need more across all areas of the health and disability system in Aotearoa. It’s so important we can grow the workforce to help meet demand and to ensure these nurses are experienced and skilled.”
The first round of applications are now open and will close on 14 March. A second round of applications will open in May 2022.
“We know there are more than 20,000 New Zealand-trained registered nurses who are not currently practising, and more than 1,000 Internationally Qualified Nurses who are working in Aged Residential Care as Health Care Assistants who may be eligible for this support,” says Ms Hetaraka.
The launch of this funding coincides with other campaigns the Ministry of Health is running over the next few months to help bolster the nursing health workforce, including a domestic recruitment campaign, and a campaign focusing on international nurses with a call to come home.
“I’ve said it many times before – nurses are the first port of call for so many patients across the healthcare system and I really do hope nurses will take the opportunity to apply for this funding and to return to practice,” says Ms Hetaraka.
More details on how employers can apply for this funding is available on the Ministry of Health website.