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New Graduates Needed For Future Nursing Workforce

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
New Graduates Needed For Future Nursing Workforce

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) believes new nursing graduates need to be employed to ensure the future of the nursing workforce.

Recent media reports indicate some district health boards (DHBs) are not employing as many new graduate nurses as in previous years. The recession has meant lower nursing turnover, with many experienced nurses returning to the workforce, others continuing to work whereas previously they may have left, and yet others increasing their hours. This reduction in overall nursing vacancies means some DHBs are reducing the number of places available in their nurse-entry-to-practice (NEtP) programmes, some are maintaining previous levels and some are slightly increasing their intakes.

NZNO professional nursing adviser Kate Weston said all new graduates were entitled to support as they transitioned from their three-year degree programme to the nursing workforce.

"We can't expect these new graduates to hit the ground running. They need time to build their nursing capacity and confidence and they do that by practising alongside experienced nurses who mentor them," Weston said. " New graduates are our future workforce. If DHBs don't employ as many of them as in previous years, our future nursing workforce will be jeopardised. We are pleased some DHBs are retaining or marginally increasing their intakes of new graduates."

Weston pointed out that according to Nursing Council statistics, 40 percent of the current workforce is aged over 50 and 5000 nurses are aged over 60. "New graduates are needed to take the place of the high number of nurses expected to retire in the next five to ten years. These new graduates need to be employed now so they can gain experience before the exodus of older nurses from the workforce. If that doesn't happen, there will be critical gaps in senior nursing knowledge and future leadership," Weston said.

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