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A third of New Zealand graduate nurses unable to find jobs

By Karen Keast | Last Updated: 20-11-2013

New Zealand nurse graduates struggle to find jobs

It’s not just Australian graduate nurses struggling to find jobs – it’s been revealed 30 per cent of New Zealand’s nursing graduates are also unable to secure employment.

New Zealand Minister of Health Tony Ryall recently told the health select committee job turnover and vacancy rates were at low levels as nurses decided to stay in their roles due to the economic climate.

The committee was told of the 1232 graduates last year, 57 per cent had a job in December, which increased to 74 per cent in February, while 10 per cent no longer wanted to work in nursing, leaving 15 per cent still seeking employment.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) associate professional services manager Hilary Graham-Smith said 30 per cent of graduate nurses are missing out on jobs.

they are but NZNO is working with the office of the Chief Nurse to find a solution to this issue,” she said.

“The sector acknowledges that the situation is unacceptable and is focused on making the nurse entry to practice program work effectively for both our new graduates and the employers.”

Ms Graham-Smith said targeted funding was needed for entry to practice programs.

“Currently places on these programs in the district health board sector are based either on a vacancy model or the DHB ring fences the funding.

“What we need is the latter approach but with more funding available so that more places can be offered to new graduate nurses.”

Ms Graham-Smith said despite nursing graduates being unable to secure jobs, it was not a case of too many nurses being trained.

“We are going to need this workforce as many of the current nursing workforce start to retire,” she said.

“What we need to do is enable our new graduates to stay in NZ by ensuring that there are jobs available to them.”

The committee was told 41 per cent of New Zealand nurses are aged over 50 and more nurses will need to be trained from 2015 to prepare for the large number of nurses leaving the workforce to retire.
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