LA TROBE University is giving health care workers the opportunity to re-enter the field with a short course.
The university's Re-Entry to Practice (RN) Course is a pathway for nurses to re-register and get back into the workforce in just 10 weeks.
Nursing re-entry student Narelle Williams welcomed the opportunity to return to the industry she loved after leaving following serious illness.
In 2013, Ms Williams was working as a registered nurse at Mount Beauty in Rural Victoria when she came down with an illness that forced her to stop work but went undiagnosed for five years.
"I was told I would never be able to walk again, let alone work again," she said.
"Coming back to nursing was an easy decision because I always loved my job and being there to help people at their most vulnerable gives me a sense of purpose.
"Being a patient for so many years gave me a greater insight into just how nurses impact the lives of others and if I can come back to nursing and impact just one person's life in the way that my life has been impacted, I'll consider everything I've been through worth it."
La Trobe Rural Health School dean Professor Jane Mills said was thrilled that La Trobe was contributing to building up Australia's nursing workforce with capable and experienced nurses.
"It is projected that there will be a shortage of more than 100,000 nurses by 2025," she said
"The re-entry to practice course is an accessible way for nurses to refresh their skills and qualifications and get back to doing what they love; caring for the health of all Australians."
The course is made up of 240 hours of theory online, 160 hours of clinical placement and is available nationwide.
Linda Barber is another student who has overcome her reluctance with technology to engage in the online course.
With many years' experience under her belt, Linda left her job as a practicing nurse some time ago to work with her partner in their family business.
"My plan was to spend a few years in the business and then return to nursing. But the years flew by and here we are - I had wanted to get back into nursing for a long time, so I was very excited when the opportunity to regain my registration came up," she said.
"I am a complete novice when it comes to computers and have never done any form of online learning, but I've had wonderful support from La Trobe, and it's been a great experience.
"It's a shame that it's taken a pandemic for some people to truly appreciate just how valuable nurses are in the community, but I'm looking forward to getting back to doing what I enjoy whilst contributing to the wider community.
"I know I still have so much to offer."
La Trobe University is in partnership with the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) which enables the University to source placements for students in their preferred location across Australia.
This is the only re-entry to nursing course in Victoria that is currently endorsed by AHPRA, and the only approved short course in Australia.
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