New ?old? nurses back in workforce
SANDRA Perry is one of seven registered nurses who are back in the Coffs Coast workforce this week thanks to the Department of Health's Reconnect initiative. Mrs Perry and six other nurses began their four-week induction program at Coffs Harbour Health Campus on Monday and have now moved to the Macksville and Bellingen hospitals, where they will work one day a fortnight. Four of the nurses will be employed at the Bellinger River District Hospital and three at the Macksville District Hospital. Sandra Perry said she had always intended to return to general nursing once her two children were older. Mrs Perry has worked in a variety of other nursing roles, including psychiatric nursing, community nursing and aged care, as well as running two different businesses, but has been away from general nursing for 15 years. She said although the nursing shortage was widely publicised, it was very difficult to get back into the system and this was the only opportunity she had found in several years of searching for a re-entry point. "At this stage I just want to get clinically confident and competent," Ms Perry said. The executive officer and director of nursing for the Bellingen and Dorrigo Health Campuses, Vince Carroll, said the Reconnect Program allowed nurses to re-enter the workforce in a supportive way, bringing them up to date with theory and nursing practice.