TAFE Cootamundra Helps Future-Proof Local Nurse Workforce

Written by: The Hilltops Phoenix

Blessa-Tolentino

TAFE NSW Cootamundra graduate Blessa Tolentina is eyeing a career as an operating theatre nurse.

The national peak body for nurses highlighted the important role TAFE NSW Cootamundra was playing to address a skills shortage in the region and helping future-proof the local nursing workforce.

With International Nurses Day just behind us on May 12, the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) said there was never a more important time to invest in the future of nursing, saying training providers like TAFE NSW were critical.

Research by Health Workforce Australia found that due to an ageing workforce and growing population, there could be a national shortfall of 100,000 nurses by 2025.

APNA CEO Ken Griffith described TAFE NSW Cootamundra’s role in training the next generation was a positive sign for Australia’s health.

“It’s essential that nurses entering the health system are trained well and can have the opportunity to develop their skills where we need them most, particularly in primary health care and in rural and remote settings,” Mr Griffith said.

“The increased interest in studying nursing at TAFE NSW is a positive sign for Australia’s health.

“We know that nursing is a fulfilling career.

“The role that Enrolled Nurses play in the health care system is vital and this will only grow over the coming years.”

The theme of the 2024 International Nurses Day was Our Nurses. Our Future. The economic power of care, aimed at highlighting the social, health and economic value nurses bring and encouraging governments to invest more into the profession.

The NSW Government is investing $3 million over the next three years to upgrade nurse training facilities at TAFE NSW campuses across the state.

Young resident Blessa Tolentino, 22, is one of many TAFE NSW Cootamundra graduates armed with the practical skills and work experience to make a running starting into her nursing career.

Ms Tolentino will now work as an aged care nurse and hopes to eventually work as a nurse in operating theatres.

“TAFE NSW has been amazing and has offered me a real career pathway,” Ms Tolentino said.

“Through my work placements during the course, I’ve been able to learn the practical skills of the job with the theory and I want to be a nurse in an operating theatre when I graduate.

“Nurses are so important and I think COVID made people realise that even more.”

TAFE NSW Nursing Lead Dr Zack Byfield said TAFE NSW worked closely with health providers and organisations such as APRA to help ensure TAFE NSW was keeping pace with workforce needs.

“We meet regularly with all our industry partners to come up with new and innovative ways to keep learners in communities and create a constant pipeline of new nurses,” Dr Byfield said.

“Nurses are an indispensable part of the healthcare system, as was again highlighted during the pandemic.

“TAFE NSW is committed to continue training the nursing workface of the future.”

TAFE NSW Cootamundra offers Diploma of Nursing, with enrolments now open for semester two.

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