More graduate nursing and permanent positions need to be opened up in Marlborough, says a registered nurse in Blenheim.
Those who could not secure a hospital job had to work at a rest home, where the pay was atrocious, she said.
The nurse, who did not want to be named, said the nursing work force would be in trouble if more funding was not pumped into opening up more jobs.
There were nurses who went overseas to Australia and the United Kingdom for the lifestyle experience, but others wanted to stay and had to compete in a tight talent pool for limited graduate and permanent posts.
"There is competition for places," the nurse said.
"Hospitals want more experienced staff quite often. Quite often positions are fixed-term, casual or part-time. Young people needed job security and a certain number of hours.
"Nurses that can't get their first choice have to go to a rest home. The pay in rest homes is atrocious for the level of expertise that they bring to the role.
"We need more permanent positions . . . We need the younger graduates to come through with fresh ideas. We will be in trouble in 10 years if we don't start thinking about work force planning in the future."
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology runs a bachelor of nursing undergraduate course.
NMIT director of service industries and learning innovation Chris Hubbard said its students had the highest chance of getting a job in New Zealand.
Statistics showed 89 per cent of the 56 graduates from 2013 gained employment.
However, no figures tracked whether the jobs were permanent, Hubbard said.
Many contracts could be between one and five years, he said.
"We track if they get a job or not, there are no indications from boards if it is a short or long contract."
Hubbard said the majority of graduate students were employed in hospitals within Nelson Marlborough District Health Board or elsewhere in New Zealand.
"A very small number go overseas because they want to as a lifestyle choice or to travel," he said. "We have a growing ageing population and more nurses will be required. The challenge is how the government is going to fund that."
- The Marlborough Express
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