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More Aussies are nursing abroad

By Karen Keast | Last Updated: 19-11-2013

More Australian nurses are flying overseas.

There’s been a staggering rise in the number of Australian nurses and midwives venturing overseas for work, up almost 400 per cent in five years.

The latest statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show there were 2047 nurses working abroad in 2007 and that figure last year jumped to 10,166 – an increase of 396.6 per cent.

The Nursing and Midwifery Workforce 2011 report provides an insight into the demographic and employment characteristics of nurses and midwives who were registered in Australia last year.

The report shows the workforce is on the rise, up 6.8 per cent on 2007 figures, with 326,669 registered nurses and midwives in 2011, comprising 268,018 registered nurses and 58,651 enrolled


But the Institute has warned while the workforce is growing it’s not keeping pace with Australia’s population.

The report also reveals there were 36,074 midwives in 2011, while nine out of 10 nurses and midwives are female, at 90.1 per cent, and almost two in five of all employed nurses and midwives are aged 50 or more.

Nurses and midwives also work an average of 32.8 hours a week while 7708 people completed registered nurse undergraduate training in 2010, with another 3938 completing enrolled nurse vocational courses.

The statistics show there were 2212 nurses or midwives identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, representing 0.8 per cent of all employed nurses and midwives.

Other statistics include:

  • 24,333 nurses work in medical, where the average age is 41.6, 9.3 per cent are male and the average weekly hours are 33.1
  • 23,735 work in surgical, where 87.7 per cent are clinical nurses
  • 15,083 work in both medical and surgical and work an average of 31.8 hours a week
  • 40,443 work in aged care where the average age is 48.5 and 53.9 per cent are aged 50 or more
  • 13,939 work in community health, where 47.2 per cent are aged 50 and over and the average age is 47.7 per cent
  • 27,344 work in critical care and emergency where 14.7 per cent are male
  • 4659 work in family, maternal and child health, where the average age is 48.5, 50.6 per cent are aged 50 and over, and just 1.1 per cent are male
  • 12,576 work in general practice, where the average weekly hours are 28.8
  • 17,738 work in mental health, where 31.9 per cent are male and work an average of 36.5 hours a week
  • 15,523 work in midwifery as the main area of their job, where the average age is 45.4
  • 7762 work in paediatrics, where the average age is 39 and 4.7 per cent are male
  • 19,483 work in peri-operative, where 8.6 per cent are male and the average age is 43.5
  • 8352 work in rehabilitation and disability, where 12.3 per cent are male
  • 4999 work in education, 7611 are in management and work an average of 39.1 hours a week, and 1920 work in research
  • Another 23,839 work in other fields and 14,238 did not state what fields they work in.

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