No work as hospitals shut out new nurses

Sunday 25th November, 2012

Dozens of new nurses cannot get jobs in WA hospitals after applications for graduate programs far outstripped spots.

Some have not had a single offer or interview and, after three years or more of study, face unskilled work next year.

They will rally at Parliament House on Monday and have set up the Facebook group Give Grad Nurses a Chance.

Graduates Jessica Tully and Lachlan Cogan, both 21, are vying for the last few places.

Ms Tully applied to five Perth hospitals and had an interview at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital but missed out.

She has not had any other offers, including from private hospitals, and has pinned her hopes on Geraldton Hospital.

"I absolutely love nursing, never failed a unit and yet I don't have a job," she said.

Mr Cogan did not get an interview and says places filled up almost immediately.

"I've spent copious amounts of time and money studying for three years, including volunteer work, and yet I might end up a concreter," he said.

A Health Department spokeswoman said there was a big rise in applications. It offered 827 graduate nurse and midwife places with 35 still available but she said nurses could practise when they graduated.

But Ms Tully said it was impossible to get a job without experience and graduate programs were her only option.

Shadow health minister Roger Cook said with the ageing workforce, nurses would become scarce so the Government's priority should be to make more places available to fill hospitals in future.

Lecturers said the demand for nurses appeared to have been overestimated and some nurses did not retire as expected after the financial crisis.