Pilot program’s intensive results

A PILOT program to help address critical staffing shortages in Tamworth hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) has been a spectacular success, with a 100 per cent retention rate of the program’s first recruits.

The three registered nurses who applied for the Transition to Specialty Practice program in the hospital’s ICU graduated from the 12-month program yesterday and all have plans to stay on, with two of them not originally from the region.

During the course of the year they developed advanced skills in assessing and managing patients who were critically ill with various complex conditions requiring mechanical ventilation, advanced care and monitoring.

Elisha Turner saw the program advertised while working at Wyong hospital in 2012 and is happy to remain in Tamworth for the timebeing.

Bianca Mitchell was working in Sydney when she learned of the program, which she saw as the perfect chance to expand her knowledge and skills and be closer to her fiance.

Nurse unit manager Michelle Keir said the program had been initiated to address job vacancies in the ICU, targeting nurses who’d never worked in the specialty field but were keen to make the transition.

Given its success, the program will continue into a second year, with three new trainees starting their 12-month stint on Monday.

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