A new digitally enhanced training and mentorship program is preparing nurses from overseas countries for work in regional and remote Queensland hospitals, with support from TIQ’s Study Queensland team.

The Leadership and Communication eMentor program provides internationally qualified nurses with skills in communication, leadership and critical thinking to prepare them to work in the Australian healthcare sector.

It also provides ongoing remote support and mentorship as the nurses practise in rural, regional and remote Queensland.

The program is a collaboration between Study Queensland’s Queensland International Education and Training Partnership Fund (IET Partnership Fund) Southern Cross University (SCU), Practera, Central Queensland University and India’s KLE Institute of Nursing Sciences.

Australian Government figures indicate that national demand for nurses is expected to quickly exceed supply, with a projected shortfall of approximately 85,000 nurses by 2025, and 123,000 nurses by 2030.

To address this, the healthcare sector is encouraging Australian nurses to return to practice, and internationally qualified nurses to practise in Australia.

But, according to Southern Cross University project lead Dr Christina Aggar, overseas-trained nurses face significant socio-cultural issues when integrating into Australia’s healthcare workforce.

She said nurses from India are a good example of capable nurses who need more support to fulfil their potential in Australia.

‘Nurses trained in India come from a system where they’re often inadequately positioned in the overall hierarchy of patient care teams,’ Dr Aggar said.

‘They’re also poorly recognised for their clinical and public health decision-making, and often lack the leadership and critical thinking skills needed in Australia.

‘This program will teach them the necessary communication and leadership skills so they can successfully integrate into the Australian nursing workforce.’

The program is delivered through a web application that uses best-practice user experience design elements to make it available on smartphones, tablets, desktops and laptops.

‘Ultimately, the program will give Queensland employers access to high-quality, employment-ready healthcare professionals,’ Dr Aggar said.

Nursing students from India, the Philippines, Brazil, France and South Africa recently trialled the app while on placement at SCU’s Gold Coast campus.

The IET Partnership Fund is managed by Study Queensland within TIQ, and is a key initiative of the International Education and Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016–2026.

If your organisation would like to apply for funding, applications for the current round of the IET Partnership Fund 2019–20 are now open.

Supporting regional growth is a key priority of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.