Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 1, No. 1 (2004)

Re-entry to nursing: Student focus in the competence assessment service program

Jenny Anastasi, Central Queensland University


A positive student learning experience is ‘by any other name’ effective human resource development. It can be defined further as contextualised adult education. This paper reports on an educational program that is returning previously registered and enrolled nurses back to the health care workforce by successfully utilising key human resource development strategies that focus on communication, appropriate physical resources, leadership, shared responsibility, conflict management and pre-emptive problem solving. Students are the focus of the initiative that, owing to high industry demand for professional staff, aims to reduce the time and cost associated with the return-to-work experience of the individual. At the same time, it provides a valid and reliable return-to-work pathway. The program is based on the achievement of beginning-level competencies in relation to the Australian Nursing Council National Competency Standards for Registered Nurses of 2000. The project appears to provide students with an emancipatory experience by recognising and valuing their prior learning and experience as the basis for the development of a deep level of insight into the contemporary professional role and responsibilities. The new learning experience empowers students to re-enter practice with confidence and to embrace ongoing change.

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