Educating nurses when life gets in the way

The Victorian Government recently announced funding for 10 000 new nursing students (CMM August 29). Good politics – shame about the practicalities

For  a start, there are national issues with finding the placements nursing students need to complete their course – as Danielle Brown (Edith Cowan U) explained in CMM (September 6).

And nursing now attracts growing numbers of women who are not straight out of school and who have dependent children.

Which Lesley Andrew and Edith Cowan U colleagues  argue is a problem – they put their families first, making it harder to complete their course.

“The women’s days were organised so that university study was attempted after domestic work was completed,” the authors report on research interviews for a new paper.

“The profound and pervasive influence of gender and gendered expectations within society may have important implications for the increasing proportion of older women who now study nursing in Australia, as well as the sustainability of the nursing workforce that is equipped to understand and meet diverse population needs,” they warn.

they suggest there is a role for curriculum. “Student awareness of the barriers traditional gender roles and associated behaviours represent to their progression and achievement is central to student retention and workforce sustainability.”

perhaps courses provider flexibility can help: The Vic Government is partnering with Victoria U to create 300 new early childhood degree-qualified workers. Part of the package is making study as easy as possible for diploma qualified students – on-line classes and placements where students in the industry work (CMM May 18).