Desperate nurses call for jobs action

Many New Zealand nursing graduates are stacking shelves or heading overseas due to lack of job opportunities, and the Nurses Organisation is looking to the Government for something to be done.

Graduate nurses can’t find work in New Zealand hospitals. Source: 1 NEWS

The Nurses Organisation says it's critical that a government funded on-the-job programme reaches all new nurses.

Kim Lane is one of those nursing graduates desperate to find work. She says she applies for two or three jobs every day but most health providers want their nurses to have experience

"I'm unemployed. I'm on the job seekers benefit and picking up shifts as a caregiver in a rest home whenever I can," says Ms Lane.

She says a new graduate can't get experience without an employer taking a leap or without having the Net-P positions available, which is a government funded year-long placement programme.

Health Minister Tony Ryall recently spent $2.8 million on 200 more training places but of the 1300 nursing graduates each year, 200 still miss out and nurses are hoping he takes notice of an 8000 strong petition.

"The big issue is that we've employed an extra 3300 new nurses in our hospitals and not a lot of them are leaving and so we've got a turnover issue," says Mr Ryall.

But New Zealand Nurses Organisation president Marion Guy says "we need to build our workforce for the future because in 2035 we won't have enough nurses to meet demand".