HEATHCOTE Health has received a grant from Murray PHN to fund two student nurses.
In total, Murray PHN is investing more than $170,000 in six health services including Castlemaine Health, Boort District Health, Cobram District Health, Numurkah District Health Service and Rochester and Elmore District Health Service.
The money will be put towards 22 rural nurses — two of whom will be at Heathcote.
The Rural and Isolated Practice Endorsed Registered Nurses Scholarships Grant (RIPERN) will aim to support rural nursing staff and build on a RIPERN model of care. RIPERN accredited nurses have more advanced skills in assessing patients, and can begin treating them without waiting for a doctor.
Murray PHN chief executive Matt Jones said in many rural communities it was not always easy to access a doctor or pharmacy, and sometimes patients needed to travel long distances for treatment and medicines.
“We know many of our rural health services rely heavily on general practitioners to provide services for urgent care. However doctors aren’t always available when a patient arrives,” Mr Jones said.
“In many rural communities, pharmacies are not open on weekends or outside of business hours — or there may not be a pharmacy at all.
“Nurses who undertake additional training can provide a wider range of primary care and emergency services to ensure people get the right care, in the right place, at the right time.”
Students receiving the training must be existing Registered Nurses Division 1. They will enrol in or have enrolled in either the Rural and Isolated Practice (Scheduled Medicines) Registered Nurse course offered by the University of Queensland or the Graduate Certificate of Health (Scheduled Medicines) offered by Queensland Health.
Both courses are online courses of study with clinical practice time. It is anticipated the students will begin their studies during intakes throughout 2018. The funding is made possible through the Australian Government’s After Hours Primary Health Care Program.