Nurse retention boosted with CDU's pharmacology endorsement 

CDU's Alice Springs nursing lecturer Perrin Whimpress

Enrolled nurses at the Alice Springs Hospital will soon be offered a complimentary accredited pharmacology course offered by Charles Darwin University (CDU).

New and existing enrolled nurses once qualified, will be able to administer medicines in Alice Springs Hospital and may be eligible to apply for similar practice endorsement in other Australian states.

A successful five day pilot program recently delivered two units from CDU’s Certificate IV in community services and health (enrolled nurse). Nurses reviewed legislative and regulatory frameworks of administering medicines in the NT and completed clinical skills training.

The hospital approached CDU early in 2006 to offer a course. The University delivered the pilot program November 2006 and the hospital is now committed to introducing the course in 2007. Most new and existing enrolled nurses will be eligible to undertake the course.

Co-ordinator of the hospital’s clinical learning branch, Stephen Cooper said CDU delivered a course in demand by both hospital management and enrolled nurses.

‘We had a few teething problems but overall it was a success,’ he said.

CDU’s Alice Springs nursing lecturer Perrin Whimpress delivered the pilot program with two other CDU staff members. He said ongoing professional development was a key element of the health care industry in Australia.

Perrin worked closely with Casuarina based CDU vocational nursing lecturer Beryl McEwan who said CDU received positive feedback.

‘Professional education is a key element in developing skills in the health care industry,’ she said. ‘Pharmacology is an important aspect of nursing that needs continuing professional development to maintaining skills and knowledge.’

She said Royal Darwin Hospital have also approached CDU to assess the feasibility of offering a similar program early next year.