The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:14): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Minister for Industrial Relations on the topic of a nursing workforce strategy.
The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I have been contacted by a constituent who states that she is contacting me with regard to the current nursing crisis. She goes on to write:
I am a fully qualified Registered Nurse with a post graduate diploma in Nephrology nursing with over 20 years' experience. After a 10-year break from nursing due to raising children, I was interested in returning to the workplace. I was incredibly surprised that the refresher programme to enable me to register again, involved an $8,000 fee, with 140 hrs of unpaid clinical time and 12 months on online training. Financially, this is not possible for our family.
I recently saw that the government are giving scholarships to fast track current, inexperienced nursing students, to enable them to enter them into the workforce faster. Why aren't they approaching experienced, specialised nurses like myself that are not currently registered? I have 6 years of tertiary education, and experience in general ward nursing, dialysis, emergency and anaesthetics and would welcome assistance to return to the system.
My question to the minister is: what workplace strategies will the Malinauskas government put in place to assist former nurses like this constituent, to bring experienced nurses back to the workforce and remove these financial barriers?
The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:16): I thank the honourable member for her important question. I do have responsibility broadly, as the Minister for Industrial Relations, particularly for industrial instruments within the public sector workforce in South Australia. I don't have information on this, and I suspect I would need to seek the advice of my colleague, the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, in another place for better information on this important question. Certainly, using the capacities of people in South Australia to the fullest is important for this state, and it is something that I will refer to the minister in the other place to get some further answers. It is an important question to answer.