Ministry scheme brings nearly 100 back to nursing profession ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Minister for Health and Labour Riina Sikkut (SDE).
Minister for Health and Labour Riina Sikkut (SDE). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

A Ministry of Social Affairs-sponsored project to attract nurses and midwives back to the medical profession has seen close to 100 nurses take up the offer of training over the past four years, most of whom later took up a nursing post, it is reported.

The project-based course, aimed at re-attracting former nurses who have been away from the healthcare sector for significant periods of time, is organised by the Tallinn Health Care College on behalf of the ministry. Twenty six nurses reportedly completed the course this year, bringing the total to 91 since it began in 2015. Again, the majority of these will take up nursing posts, having gone on to complete the required exams and getting registered.

"The role and the responsibility of nurses in healthcare is growing, and with it demand for nurses both at first-contact health centres as well as in independent nursing care,'' said health minister Riina Sikkut, according to ministry spokespersons.

Successful so far

''To ensure the supply of nursing professionals, the number of study places in nursing and midwifery specialties is gradually being increased and a contribution made to improving the learning and work environment alike," she continued.

Head of nursing at Tallinn Health Care College Kristi Puusepp was similarly positive.

"In four years, we have helped bring back into healthcare a total of 91 nurses who have been connected with some other field but have now decided to return to the profession they once learned," she said, adding that people working in the financial, sales, service and other professions were among those attending the six-month course, which helps participants refresh their knowledge and manual skills using modern equipment to restore the confidence and skills necessary in nursing.

General increase in nursing personnel

Riina Sikkut furthermore said people in the profession occupy a key place in Estonia's healthcare sector. An agreement made in 2016 between the social and education ministries, various healthcare colleges, and hospitals and nursing associations, aimed to boost the number of study places for nurses and midwives down to 2020.

Ms Sikkut added the projects, which the ministry intends to continue, marks a step towards strengthening healthcare sector numbers and providing hope for the future in personnel returning to the sector across Estonia.

Follow-up interviews with course graduates over the past three years furthermore show 85% went on to work as nurses.

The Ministry of Social Affairs has provided more than €150,000 to the project over four years. In addition, a similar project, which the ministry has earmarked €200,00 for, is underway for doctors who have not yet been entered into the national register of healthcare professionals for whatever reason.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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