THE NORTHCARE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME
The historical change in nurse education from hospital-based to tertiary institution-based had significant financial implications for nursing training.
Whereas nurses had been paid and often accommodated during hospital-based training, the change resulted in both education and living related expenses, often leading to a resultant HECS debt. In 1997 we found that three to five years after graduation, nurses often wanted to undertake further training to increase their skills and qualifications. But the addition of further educational expenses to the cost of living on the North Shore was financially difficult if not impossible on a nursing salary. With professional development seemingly impossible in this environment, many nurses then left the area or the specialty or even the profession.
So the initial goal of the Northcare Foundation was to make this education financially feasible.
Since the Scholarship programme was instituted the Foundation has funded over 250 scholarships to allow nurses to pursue Graduate Certificates and Diplomas, as well as masters degrees, and even PhDs.
Currently, nurses at RNSH are creating a unique programme to train Clinical Nurses Practitioners in Intensive Care to improve the skill mix and quality of Intensive Care both in Urban and rural units. Northcare has encouraged and supported this development and wishes to continue to do so.