Federal Government must stop passing the buck on jobs for nursing graduates

Tuesday 20th November, 2012

The country’s largest health union has called on the Federal Government to stop passing the buck on the critical issue of ensuring employment for Australia’s graduate nurses.

The Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) was responding to a media report which quoted a spokesperson for Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek as saying graduate nursing positions are an issue for State and Territory Governments and private employers, adding that “it is these employers who are responsible for determining the availability of graduate positions.”

“The comment is typical of the buck passing that exists between State and federal jurisdictions on the very serious issue of employment for Australia’s nursing graduates,” ANF Federal Secretary, Lee Thomas, said today.

“The Federal Government, along with State and Territory Governments, must finally accept that this is everyone's responsibility, if we are to ensure a sustainable heath workforce in the future.”

The ANF’s new national campaign, called Stop passing the buck, Australia's grads need jobs, was launched yesterday and has already received approximately 500 emails of support from across the country, according to Ms Thomas.

“We’re urging nurses, midwives and the Australian community to voice their concern about the lack of employment opportunities for graduate new nurses and midwives by emailing Minister Plibersek,” she added.

Ms Thomas said the campaign’s strategies included:

  •   Waiving HECS fees for graduates who accept employment in areas of need;
  •   Funding by State and Federal governments of 24hour 7/ week clinical supervision and mentoring, and
  •   Rotation through non-traditional graduate areas such as primary care, aged care as well as acute settings.

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