Scarcity of nursing jobs may force graduate to new career

Tuesday 20th November, 2012

Hannah McBryde will graduate as a nurse and midwife next month but jobs for new nursing graduates in Queensland are so scarce, she's thinking about becoming a nanny instead.

The 22-year-old is one of hundreds of new Queensland nursing graduates who face missing out on jobs in their chosen career despite a looming shortage as more nurses retire and new hospitals open.

Queensland Health's figures, supplied to The Courier-Mail, show the department has received more than 2700 applications from graduate nurses for 2013, three-quarters of them from Queensland-based applicants. So far, only 10 per cent of those who applied, or about 270 graduates, have received positions for next year's intake.

Since 2010, Queensland Health has received more than 10,400 applications for graduate nursing positions, but have only employed 3467 of them.

After studying for four years at the University of Queensland and working as a casual assistant-in-nursing at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital to pay her way through university, Ms McBryde fears her hard work has been wasted.

She's applied for positions in the public and private sectors with only one interview. "The rejection emails have just kept on coming," she said.

"It's horrible to work so hard for something you really want ... to come out at the end with nothing."

The Queensland Nurses' Union has started an email campaign urging federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and her Queensland counterpart Lawrence Springborg to work to find a solution.