Eighteen graduates from the pilot fully-funded NP training programme are now registered and starting work as NPs – half of them in primary health care.
The successful graduates of the $846,000 pilot cohort are stretched from Kaikohe to Invercargill. They underwent their Nursing Council assessment panels in March and April after completing their clinical masters degree and submitting their portfolios to the Council at the end of last year at the conclusion of the ten-month NPTP (nurse practitioner training programme).
Dr Michal Boyd, an NP who was one of the instigators of the NPTP scheme, said one strength of the Health Workforce New Zealand funded pilot was that it required employers to commit to supporting a would-be NP through their prescribing practicum and guarantee them an NP job on becoming registered.
The pilot has been extended for 2017 with another cohort currently underway at the University of Auckland and Massey University but uncertainty remains over long-term funding for the Nurse Practitioner Training Programme (NPTP) including whether it will be rolled out to more providers.
Boyd said five of the University of Auckland's 10 successful graduates were working in primary health care, and one each in aged care, oncology, ophthalmology, mental health and emergency care.
Dr Jill Wilkinson, a spokesperson for the Massey NPTP programme said four of its eight new NP graduates from NPTP worked in primary health sectors, two in emergency care and one each in youth health and cardiology. The two programmes had interns spread from Kaikohe to Invercargill including Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Palmerston North, Wairarapa, Wellington and Nelson.
Wilkinson said this year's NPTP students were also dominated by primary health care but there were also three in older adult health and in total only two out of the ten were direct district health board employees.
Boyd and Wilkinson said a strength of the NPTP scheme was that it streamlined the NP pathway by co-ordinating the education, registration and employment process for would-be NPs including requiring students on the scheme to submit their portfolio to Nursing Council at the end of the 10 month programme.
NPTP pilot requirements
- Interns needed to be in the last year of their clinical masters programme
- Identify a prescribing health professional to provide one-to-one clinical supervision.
- Provide proof that an employer will support them during their study and hire them as an NP once registered.