SMALLER health services across the region have received federal government funding aimed at streamlining after-hours care.
The funding, administrated through the Primary Health Network (PHN), has been allocated to upskill nine state registered nurses as part of the rural and isolated practice endorsed registered nurse (RIPERN) scholarship program.
These nurses are located at health services in Timboon (2), Moyne (2), Heywood (2), Camperdown (2) and Cobden (1).
An allocation of $10,000 has been put forward for each of the nurses with training to be carried out online and expected to take 1-2 years.
PHN Warrnambool Regional Manager Sue Fleming said once the training was complete, it would take pressure off doctors in smaller towns.
“It will reduce the amount of time they are called out with the RIPERN nurses better equipped to make a call on whether patients can be treated by nursing staff or transferred to a bigger health service such as Warrnambool,” Ms Fleming said.
“There is a burn-out factor with doctors in smaller towns so we hope this will help alleviate that.
‘We also think it will take pressure off the ED at Warrnambool, reducing the amount of less serious presentations,” she said.
Monica Treloar and Linda Sharrock are the two nurses to be awarded scholarships in Heywood.
For Ms Treloar, it is the latest advancement in a career that goes back almost four decades.
“I began as a state enrolled nurse in 1980,” Ms Treloar said.
“In 2000 I became a state registered nurse after doing my bachelor of nursing in 22 months.
“I got 14 distinctions during those studies, I just love learning. Increasing my depth of knowledge is rewarding. I am really looking forward to getting into the RIPERN program study.
“I have been working here in Heywood as a community health nurse since February last year,” she said.
Ms Treloar said the announcement of the two scholarships coincided with two other exciting projects at Heywood Rural Health.
A chronic care management program funded by PHN is about to be rolled out while two new doctors will start practising in the town from the beginning of August.
“It is really exciting, hopefully we can develop some wonderful partnerships,” she said.
“With the training we receive from RIPERN, we can hopefully lay down procedures and processes in regard to dealing with presentations to our health service,” Ms Treloar said.