University to lead national partnership for nurse practitioner training and placement

The new contract replaces an existing pilot Nurse Practitioner Training Programme (NPTP) at the University’s School of Nursing due to end in December. The new funding enables the programme to support the transition of Nurse Practitioners into employment.

The programme will be delivered in partnership with the University of Otago, Northland primary health entity Mahitahi Hauora, and Auckland Pacific health provider, The Fono.

“We consider being awarded the new Nurse Practitioner Training Programme contract a privilege and an acknowledgment of the high standard of teaching and calibre of graduates delivered by our School of Nursing,” said Professor John Fraser, Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.

Nurse Practitioners work across the health sector. They can deliver the full range of primary care services in a similar way to General Practitioners (GPs), including prescribing medication and making referrals to medical specialists. Their role contributes to addressing the shortfall of GPs, particularly in parts of rural and regional New Zealand.

Dr Julia Slark, the Head of the School of Nursing said, “With the additional funding to train an increased number of Nurse Practitioners over the next four years and the emphasis on equity, we are expecting that the opportunity to deliver health care back in the community will be particularly attractive to Māori, and Pacific students. There are so many employment opportunities in health for anyone with strong connections or a desire to serve communities outside of the main centres.”

Approximately half of the funding is to work with health providers across New Zealand to support the employment of nurse practitioners and enrolled nurses into primary health care settings.

Dr Slark said, “Through a partnership approach not only can we focus on increasing the participation of Māori, and Pacific nurses in the nurse practitioner workforce, but we can then provide wraparound services and ongoing professional development to support their transition to deliver services to local communities.”

Health Minister Chris Hipkins said nurses play a critical role in the healthcare of New Zealanders every day and they are essential to our country’s response to COVID-19. “2020 is International Year of the Nurse; this investment from Budget 2019 reflects the Government’s commitment to this vital workforce.

“It’s important for our health and disability system that we continue to foster the career development of Nurse Practitioners and Enrolled Nurses. These programmes will do that. I’m pleased to see the University of Auckland has been selected as the provider for this programme.”

The Nurse Practitioner Training Programme includes 500 hours of funded supervised clinical practice, study leave, and academic mentoring and support from NPs. While the training programme will include trainees from all clinical practice areas, the focus is to support the growth of Nurse Practitioners |in primary health care, providing mental health and addiction services.

The contract partners will be working collaboratively with key stakeholders and providers across the country, including Te Rau Ora, Te Ao Māramatanga (NZ College of Mental Health Nurses), Nurse Practitioners New Zealand (NPNZ), Victoria University of Wellington, District Health Boards, Primary Health Organisations and health providers; as well as an extensive network of Nurse Practitioners.

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