ABC news reports reports on the real problems faced by new graduate nurses looking for work in Tasmania:
More than 300 nurses are expected to graduate from the University of Tasmania in the coming months and only 115 have been offered jobs locally.
The Australian Nursing Federation’s Neroli Ellis says those who have missed out are devastated and some will have to access Centrelink or move interstate.
“It’s a whole generation of nurses that we’ve lost,” she said.
Whitney Bowerman is one graduate without a job, despite achieving high distinctions.
“We’re just all sort of lost and in shock the moment because we’re all in the middle of exams getting this disturbing information,” she said.
The federation says 179 graduate jobs have been offered in the past and the State Government should be boosting numbers to ease a predicted nurse shortage.
Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne says this year’s graduate nurse intake exceeds last year’s and there are other options for graduates, including private hospitals and aged care homes.
Niall, one of the lucky Tasmanian nurses to secure employment commented on my Facebook page today:
It’s a very bittersweet experience, being one of the 115 and knowing how many friends and fellow students aren’t as fortunate. Minister O’Byrne’s comments aren’t entirely inaccurate, but the aged care sector and private employers will probably only take another 50 or so across the state over the coming months. And that’s not counting the number of students who graduated mid-year and have already left Tassie and eased some of the pressure as a result.
What appears to be completely ridiculous (at first glance at least) is that a small number of the offered grad positions have gone to interstate applicants, when Tasmanian students were explicitly excluded from intakes in other states such as SA, or automatically placed at the bottom of the pile in Victoria during their recent application processes. There either needs to be equality or protectionism across the country I think, rather than a patchwork of both.
And this is a real issue faced by nurses on mainland Australia too.
Some comments I have received from nurses today:
- Jessica: In Vic this year, there were 1100 people miss out on grad year positions through the computermatch system (which all public hospitals are legislated to use, and which most private also do), and only 70 positions left over for them to fight for…
- Katrina: Yep lots of applicants missed out in NSW myself being one. You would think that the state govts would do something about it particularly as they made over 500 extra positions available for last years applicants. Plus with the position in Qld and Tas with nursing cutbacks there have been 3x the applicants this year. Nursing home jobs are not acceptable for nurses wanting to work in acute care once in aged care it’s almost impossible to get an acute care job you don’t have the skills required.
- Tim: It may not be as bad here in the U.S.; but it is definitely tougher than it was a few years ago. I graduated in June 2004. Most of my class had jobs lined up by February to April of 2004. I know two RN’s that graduated in 2012 1 settled for a job that she didn’t want and the other is still looking. Both here in King County WA i.e. the Seattle area.
- Kathy: When I had my interview for a NSW position I was told there were 2 applications to every position available.
One nurse from my own hospital contacted me today saying that out of around 200 applications only 80 postgraduate positions were available. This is interesting, as our hospital is undergoing major redevelopment and there are plans to build another hospital to service the territory in next few years. They are going to be very thirsty for experienced nurses then.
Australian doctors are experiencing their own crisis with 182 newly graduated doctors (from a total of 3326) unable to secure internships this year.
They are currently undertaking a well organised and rapidly growing social media campaign and series of protest actions to raise public awareness of their issues:
[ Hashtag: #interncrisis. Website: http://interncrisis.org/
It is indeed a crazy situation. The public hospital system struggles to manage with its workloads. It needs more bed capacity and more quality healthcare professionals to tend them.
Are there any other new-graduate nurses who would like to comment on their own experiences?