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South Canterbury District Health Board Partners with Ara for Nursing Programme
Date Posted: 05/Aug/2019
Recruitment and training of nurses in South Canterbury has taken a local turn with a new programme and five months in six Timaru-based students are learning the ropes. South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB) partnered with Ara Institute of Canterbury to meet workforce needs, with an enrolled nursing programme beginning in March.  SCDHB nursing and midwifery associate director Anna Wheeler, said registered nurses for the region were provided by Otago Polytech in the past few years. 
"Two years ago we started a transfer over to Ara and at the moment we've got first year and second year registered nursing Ara students and third year Otago Polytech students in Timaru," she said.  Wheeler said the SCDHB would continue to have a working relationship with Otago Polytech and continue to support placements for Otago students, but the local programme will be run by Ara.
"We've got six applicants on the Ara programme. In preparation for it, we started to look at what is on our support structures around new graduate enrolled nurses. How do we create a work force that is ready for new graduates?" she said.  "The six new graduates will be ready for graduation this time next year and they are local people engaged in the programme."
Wheeler said they were looking at integrating more enrolled nurses into their models of care within our health system and part of that was sending the Nursing Entry to Practice Programme co-ordinator to Ara and Otago Polytech to recruit enrolled nurses.
"We've just finished an enrolled nurse assessment centre for new graduates. We have developed an enrolled nurse new graduate programme that's looking at how we help them integrate into their clinical environments so that involves having a preceptor, a supernumerary period of four weeks where they share a clinical load with an identified preceptor."
Ara's head of department nursing, midwifery and allied health Cathy Andrew said the institute rolled out a regional delivery of the New Zealand Diploma of Enrolled Nursing to Timaru, Ashburton, West Coast, Nelson and Marlborough-based students in a partnership with regional district health boards (DHBs) earlier this year.
"We are in partnership with SCDHB in providing clinical practice experiences for the students. The course only commenced in March but is so far meeting the expectations of students and staff." Andrew said the programme has been approved by the Nursing Council New Zealand to enable learners to access a nursing qualification that prepares them for practice under the direction of a registered nurse.
"We currently have six Timaru based students. The programme runs for 18months and our current students will finish in June 2020. They will then sit their enrolled nurse scope of practice examination in July 2020," she said. "The enrolled nursing course is a combination of theoretical block courses that are held in Christchurch, online learning and clinical practice in the Timaru region."
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