The funding will support 150 full-time equivalent (FTE) graduate mental health nurse positions and 49 nurse educator (FTE) positions across 18 public health services in 2022.
The graduate mental health nurse program is a statewide program. One third of the positions are in regional Victoria, where increases in staff levels can have a significant impact on service delivery.
Positions allocated to regional mental health services include Albury Wodonga Health, Mildura Base Hospital, Ballarat Health Service, Bendigo Health, Latrobe Regional Hospital, Goulburn Valley Health, South West Healthcare and Barwon Health.
The expansion of the graduate mental health nurse program is part of a workforce reform package recommended by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. The first additional graduate mental health nurses supported by this program started in January 2021.
Extra graduate mental health nurse positions help overcome workforce shortages and increase the supply of mental health nurses in Victoria.
Nurse educators support graduates to have a positive learning experience. The Department of Health has funded additional nurse educator positions in rural and regional Victoria to support and help retain nurses in these communities.
The Department of Health is developing a new Mental Health Workforce Strategy to ensure we can plan our mental health workforce needs for the future.
The Strategy, due to be delivered later this year, will be the first step in a roadmap to developing a sustainable and diverse workforce to support Victoria’s mental health system.