Why have a Career Pathway?
A career pathway provides a clear set of expectations for each nurse or midwife employed in the NT, addresses issues of equity across the diversity of nursing and midwifery scopes of practice, provides flexibility with direction for change management, clarifies the often confusing nursing and midwifery roles for our multi-disciplinary colleagues, and offers each nurse and midwife a well-defined path for meeting his or her own professional goals.
The Northern Territory Nurses and Midwives’ 2014-2017 Enterprise Agreement identifies the changing context of nursing and midwifery practice, and the challenges facing the NT nursing and midwifery workforce:
- increased clinical responsibility and scope of practice of nurses and midwives
- increased deployment of technology in nursing and midwifery practice
- increased scope of practice and skills development across the workforce
- increased responsiveness to meet service demands
- improvements to service quality through planned and systemic interventions
- increased roles in multi-disciplinary teams in providing comprehensive health services to the community and
- facilitating the requirements of the National Accreditation and Registration system.
What process has been used?
In April 2016 the Nursing and Midwifery Leaders Forum agreed to establish a Nursing & Midwifery Career Pathway Review Working Party to build on work previously undertaken in order to draft a clear contemporary career pathway which reflects current nursing and midwifery professional positions and DOH service requirements.
The Working Party was to develop a framework suited to nursing and midwifery, and come up with an implementation plan. This Working Party included membership from both Top End and Central Australia Health Services, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (NT Branch), DOH Human and Industrial Relations, and the Office of the Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer.
The Working Party determined that the Strong model formed a credible and workable framework on which to build the nursing and midwifery career pathway. The model's five domains are:
- Client care
- Support of systems
- Professional leadership
Where to from here?
Implementation of this important framework needs to ensure that NT nurses and midwives are clear on expectations for their roles and well-supported to achieve their personal and professional goals.
The current proposal is for a 3 year transition period during which NT Health will provide focused support e.g. Studies Assistance, study leave as per local policy to assist nurses and midwives to achieve the experience and qualifications for their role and also for their career plans. Such support will be formalised through the WPP.
It is important to note that no-one is going to lose their jobs – not over the transition period and not into the future. Qualifications will come into effect when positions are created, restructured or re-advertised. A grandfather clause will cover everyone for the position they currently hold however to change positions, especially if you are interested in moving along the career pathway, you will need to plan your education, professional development and experience. The career pathway will help you do this.