Aged Care

APNA program creates pathway for nursing students into aged care


In response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) has embarked on a new initiative to bolster the residential aged care sector with skilled nursing professionals.

APNA’s aged care student nurse placement program has successfully placed its first 76 student nurses into aged care facilities, marking a significant milestone in addressing the pressing shortage of qualified aged care nurses.

Supported by Commonwealth funding, the program is set to accommodate approximately 140 students in its inaugural month, offering a beacon of hope for the sector’s future.

With an estimated requirement of 14,000 additional nurses to fulfil the commitment for 24/7 on-site Registered Nurses in all aged care facilities from 1 July, the demand for nursing talent is acute. Disturbingly, the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care had previously predicted a potential shortage of 85,000 nurses by 2025, which could soar to a staggering 123,000 by 2030.

APNA’s comprehensive aged care placement program aims to establish a sustainable pipeline of nurses to combat the looming crisis. Its multifaceted approach comprises two key components: to offer outstanding clinical placement experience in aged care settings for 1800 second- and third-year nursing students and the development of the Aged Care Knowledge Hub that will provide best-practice guidelines and up-to-date information to support quality care and improve outcomes for older Australians.

APNA President, Karen Booth, underscored the significance of the program, stating, “Great residential aged care needs great aged care nurses. And that starts with giving nursing students a positive aged care placement during their studies. APNA’s aged care student nurse placement program is designed to bring through the next generation of qualified and experienced registered aged care nurses.”

The uniqueness of the program lies in its approach: employing its own clinical nurse facilitators to offer close supervision to students, fostering higher-level clinical skill development and providing tailored learning experiences aligned with each institution’s curriculum requirements.

Booth further emphasised the vital role of the program in cultivating a sustainable workforce, averting the need to rely heavily on overseas recruitment.

“More nursing students must be given the chance to experience aged care so that we can build a sustainable workforce. Clinical placements provide an opportunity to enhance and shape a student’s attitudes and learning experiences,” she said.

As the program continues its mission to bridge the nursing shortage gap, it invites interested nursing students to apply for student placements by June 2024. For further information, potential applicants are encouraged to contact or visit

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Ritchelle is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel, Australia’s premier resource of information for healthcare.


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