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Graduate disheartened by lack of nursing jobs

KATASHA MCCULLOUGH
Last updated 05:00 18/03/2014
Sharon Deaker
TOUGH TIME: Nursing graduate Megan Lyell, 23, cannot find work.

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Nursing graduate Megan Lyell feels "ripped off" after failing to find a job.

The 23-year-old has been living at home in Torbay since graduating in November.

She gets "literally three to five rejection emails a day" and is considering moving to Australia or becoming a nanny instead.

Megan works one shift a fortnight as a nurse at a rest home but doesn't earn enough to start paying off her $40,000 student loan.

Megan loved everything about the bachelor of nursing degree she studied for at Unitec, juggling placements, assignments and exams.

"I pretty much didn't have a life for three years," she says.

All students apply through the Advanced Choice of Placement (ACE) scheme to secure a registered nurse position in a Nurse Entry to Practice (NETP) programme.

Megan had two interviews through ACE but was unsuccessful.

She says the students were never told NETP had limited entry.

"We thought ‘we're gonna get a job because there's a shortage, it's pretty much granted, hospitals are always short-staffed'."

Megan has since applied for 30 to 40 jobs on her own and had seven interviews, but the jobs always went to more experienced nurses.

Nursing Council records show 1329 new nurses were registered in December 2013 but only 750 of them have identified a work address.

Megan spends her time volunteering for hospice, Plunket and the Heart Foundation so she can feel like she is helping and being productive.

"You kind of feel ripped off. I thought I would finish my degree and get a job and my life would be complete."

Megan has set up a Facebook page for unsuccessful ACE applicants which has attracted more than 100 likes.

She has written to East Coast Bays MP Murray McCully, the Nursing Council, Minister of Health Tony Ryall, Chief Nurse Jane O'Malley and the New Zealand Nursing Organisation and is encouraging others to do the same.

Megan says her fellow graduates are frightened to speak up.

"I guess people are wary of complaining as such. They don't want to rock the boat if they're looking for a job. But I don't have a job so I might as well find out why."

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