Most nurses find work

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 08:00 09/02/2013

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While MidCentral has hired more new nurses than normal, nationally fewer than 60 per cent of this summers new grads have found work with a district health board.

The Ministry of Health has confirmed that 59 per cent of the more than 1200 nursing graduates who completed their training at the end of 2012 have so far found work with a DHB.

Twenty-five of those graduates have been employed by MidCentral this summer. The DHB ringfences 14 positions for new graduates each year but took on extra nurses this time around.

"[MidCentral] has a total of 14 new graduate places each year," director of nursing Sue Wood said.

"This guarantees that we can employ at least 14 new graduates each year. If there are vacancies that are suitable for a graduate near to the time of the programme new graduates can be employed on the same terms and conditions and join the programme."

This summer the Ministry of Health has employed a new system for finding positions for graduates at the country's DHBs. Known as ACE the system matched information on vacancies with the areas graduates would prefer to work in.

Ministry chief nurse Jane O'Malley said the 59 per cent figure only reflected those graduates who were hired through ACE and thus ended up at district health boards.

"It's important to consider that this does not represent the total number of graduates who have found jobs, nurse graduates typically also find employment outside of DHBs - for example private hospitals, general practices and rest homes."

A destination survey carried out in 2012, six months after graduation, found 80 per cent of graduates had found work as a registered nurse within New Zealand.

"New Zealand's nursing recruitment rates compare favourably to other countries, including Australia and the United States."

She did not think too many nurses were being trained in New Zealand.

"New Zealand's future nursing numbers need to take into account the health needs of an ageing population, a growing population and an ageing nursing workforce.

"The ACE system pilot has for the first time allowed us to get some data very early in the graduate recruitment cycle. The tool can also help us gain a national picture of graduate numbers by providing better information about our graduates and where they find work. This is important information for improving workforce planning and matching supply and demand."

Head of Massey University's school of nursing Associate Professor Annetee Huntington agreed that low turnover was impacting on the number of jobs available.

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Massey had 44 students from the Palmerston North campus graduate gain their registration last year. Prof Huntington said she had heard anecdotally that almost all of those students had been able to find work.

"All but a very small handful have already got jobs, it's not uncommon for our students to take two to three months to get positions."

- Manawatu Standard

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