The new initiative is part of a $270 million boost to the health system, with free university and specialist training for thousands of nurses and midwives.

Scholarships will also be available for thousands more who complete postgraduate studies in specialist areas of need including intensive care, cancer care, paediatrics and nurse practitioner specialities.

Under the five-year program, new domestic students enrolling in a professional-entry nursing or midwifery course in 2023 and 2024 will all receive a scholarship of up to $16,500 to cover course costs.

Those students will receive $9,000 while they study and the remaining $7,500 if they work in Victorian public health services for two years.

Scholarships will also be available for those already in the industry to cover the costs and salary support for 150 nurses to continue working while completing specialist midwifery studies.  

Together with the $12 billion Pandemic Repair Plan, the initiative brings the number of nurses and midwives being supported to more than 20,000.

This includes funding 13,000 nursing and midwifery positions and scholarships, and funding the upskilling of 8,500 nurses.

Other features of the package include:

  • Scholarships for postgraduate nurses to complete studies in specialty areas such as intensive care, emergency, paediatrics and cancer care – worth an average of $10,000.
  • $11,000 scholarships for enrolled nurses to become registered nurses, covering course costs and boosting the number of registered nurses.
  • $12,000 scholarships to support training and employment of 100 new Nurse Practitioners in both acute and community settings
  • More than $20 million to provide more support to the growing numbers of graduates and postgraduates as they transition to working in hospitals – ensuring they have access to the clinical educators, preceptors and study time.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said those in year 12 who’ve been thinking about studying nursing or midwifery are now in a better position to take the leap.

"Every health system in the country is under enormous pressure due to the pandemic," Premier Andrews said.

"The best thing we can do to support our hardworking staff is give them more support on the ground – that’s why this package will train and hire more nurses than ever before."

According to government figures, in the past eight years, the number of nurses in the public system has risen by more than 26% – increasing by 9,400 to more than 45,000 nurses.

There has been a net increase of more than 22,000 healthcare workers in the system since 2014 – up 27.6%.

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