Department of Health

Refresher pathway for nurses and midwives

Find out who is eligible for this refresher pathway and how to apply.

The Department of Health is offering scholarships and support for 225 nurses and midwives to return to practice in public health services through a refresher pathway.

This program is offered to nurses and midwives who are registered but have had a break from work in a hospital setting and want to refresh their skills or upskill.

It’s relevant for nurses and midwives who currently hold non-practicing registration in Victoria or who are fully registered but need recent clinical practice in health services.

Refresher programs provide education, clinical teaching and ward-based learning. This includes up to 8-10 weeks of clinical placement time at a public health service.

The funding support provided will enable you to cover the costs of program participation, such as living expenses while completing clinical placements.

Overview

Funding is available for Victorian public health services to offer refresher programs to eligible nurses and midwives. For each place in a refresher program, health services will receive a total of $15,000, including:

  • $5,000 to cover the costs incurred by health service in running the program (for example, clinical supervision and training, administration)
  • $10,000 scholarships for each candidate accepted into the refresher program to offset any loss of income incurred in the 8-10 week training period and cover any out-of-pocket expenses (for example, travel, course costs).

Funding for 225 positions will be available in 2022-23. 

The Victorian Government has previously funded health services to deliver refresher programs for nurses and midwives, as part of the $50 million Nursing and Midwifery Workforce Development Fund.

This component of the ‘Making it free to study nursing and midwifery’ package builds on the previous work. It provides funding for both metropolitan and regional health services to deliver more refresher program places over the next 4 years (from 2022-23 to 2025-26).

Eligibility criteria

Health service

To be eligible for funding, health services must:

  • be a Victorian public health service
  • complete the expression of interest process for refresher programs by the due date
  • nominate a lead agency that will receive and manage funding where health services choose to enter partnerships to implement refresher programs (noting that all parties must be signatories to the application or an appropriate attachment)
  • commence the refresher program/s within the financial year they receive funding.

It is expected that eligible public health services will provide a refresher program that is a formal, structured program that enables registered nurses or midwives to re-enter the workforce or to move to a different area of clinical practice.

A refresher program is different to an upskilling program as it is structured and includes up to 8-10 weeks of clinical placements.

Note: A candidate who is undertaking the refresher program and has received a scholarship should not be also paid a salary.

Candidate

To be eligible for this scholarship you must:

  • be a currently registered nurse or midwife with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
  • be an Australian citizen, a New Zealand citizen (or dual citizenship holders of either Australia or New Zealand), an Australian permanent resident or an Australian permanent humanitarian visa holder
  • have not previously received a department scholarship to complete a nursing and midwifery refresher program
  • agree to complete the course and, on completion, seek employment within Victorian public health sector in the targeted clinical area of practice for which your scholarship was awarded.

In addition, you must either:

  • not be currently employed or working in the health service while you are undertaking the refresher training. For example, you are not earning a salary whilst you are in training, or
  • you're moving into a different area of clinical practice within the health service where you are employed. In this situation, it is expected that you are undertaking this training and clinical placement time as unpaid leave.

How to apply

Applications for this funding will be coordinated through Victorian public health services. Your public health service employer will manage the application process and administer your funds.

To find out more, contact your local public health service to see if they are offering refresher programs.

Note: A list of public health services providing refresher programs in 2022-23 will be published here once it's available.

More information for applicants

If you are successful in gaining a scholarship, you are responsible for enrolling and completing the qualification by the due date. Also, for any study costs beyond the value of the scholarship. 

If you need to defer or withdraw from studies, you must notify your employer within 1 week of the change in study arrangements.

If you plan to recommence study in the same year, and the health service provider can accommodate the change in study arrangements by offering you a place on an equivalent refresher program, you do not need to return the funds.

If you do not return to study in the same year, or the health service cannot provide an equivalent refresher program, the funds will be recalled and returned to the health service.

The department is not required to withhold tax (PAYG) from scholarships paid. You should be aware:

The department strongly recommends that recipients seek independent tax advice for their scholarship payment.

Reviewed 08 January 2023

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