Tasmanian Graduate Nurses Unemployed

Wednesday 31st October, 2012

The Australian Nursing Federation (Tas Branch) is concerned that the majority of graduating nurses have not been offered employment in Tasmania. While interstate nurses have been offered graduate positions in Tasmania, there are some Tasmanian nurses who have to move interstate. Offers for most graduate positions have been posted today.

316 nurses (229 Nov/87 Feb) will graduate from the University of Tasmania (UTAS) in the coming months and yet the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) are only offering around 100 graduate positions, most of which are part time. Before the budget cuts, 179 Full Time Equivalent DHHS graduate positions were offered, which is a more appropriate level to meet the future workforce demands.

“The budget cuts have slashed the number of graduate nurses being offered employment by over half,” states Mrs Neroli Ellis, Branch Secretary.

“This short term strategy will have dire impacts on the future ability of our healthcare system to cope with growing demands and an ageing nursing workforce who are entering a  retirement phase over the next four years.”

Whitney Bowerman is one graduate who missed out on a graduate position this year, despite achieving high academic success.

“Many of us entered nursing due to the promise of employment and the opportunity to gain work in any area of nursing that we wished, instead we have found the exact opposite,” states Whitney.

“I’ve worked as an enrolled nurse for three years now and worked so hard to achieve high grades throughout Uni … Sadly despite all this the Tasmanian Government has chosen to let nursing students, the nursing workforce and the people of Tasmania down by failing to see the value of the continuing health workforce.”

Many nurses apply to undertake their graduate year interstate as they know there will be very few opportunities here in Tasmania.

“We are losing a whole generation of nurses which will lead to a hard recovery, as enticing nurses and their families back to Tasmania in the current climate is very difficult,” says Mrs Ellis.

“We are seeing an incredible drain of nurses leaving the State since the budget cuts, with around 30 transferring interstate every month as they are frustrated with the shortages and the impacts on patient care.”

Recent research from Health Workforce Australia reveals a fast approaching nurse shortage in Tasmania and Australia. Assuming every graduate is employed, Tasmania will still have a shortage by 2016. With the current trend of only employing 100 not 379 graduates per year, this shortage will be with us by next year.

For further information, please contact Neroli Ellis on 0408 037 589