Strategies are in place to avoid the situation faced by last
year's nursing graduates, 30% of whom were unemployed at one
New Zealand Nurses Organisation associate professional
services manager Hilary Graham-Smith said that proportion was
now about 15%.
In addition, 10% of the 1232 graduates decided not to seek
nursing work, or had headed overseas.
''Certainly it's been a fairly sharp reminder. Those early
figures - 30% - were quite worrying and we desperately want
to keep our graduates in New Zealand.
''I think the stops have really been pulled out in terms of
strategy to make sure that we do retain that workforce.''
District health boards were moving to a flexible funding
model with the support of the Ministry of Health to enable
them to take on more graduates, she said.
Nurses needed to be encouraged into areas like aged care by
improving collegial support.
''We need to make [aged care] an exciting and interesting
career destination for new grads,'' she said.
Mrs Graham-Smith said the reasons for the shortfall were not
simple, but older nurses were staying in jobs and seeking
additional hours, partly because of the recession.
Keeping older nurses was helpful for retaining wisdom and
experience, but the younger workforce needed to be built.
With 41% of nurses aged over 50, many would retire within a
A Ministry of Health analysis of the 2012 graduates showed
that aged-care work was the first choice of a mere 4% of that
With 50 positions for graduates, Southern District Health
Board's ratio of graduates as a proportion of its nursing
workforce was slightly lower than the national average.