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Graduate nurses have hopes broken after computer glitch

Nearly 300 graduate nurses searching for jobs had their hopes raised and then shattered when they were mistakenly sent an email offering them a job at Auckland District Health Board.

The email was sent on Wednesday by ACE, the online job application system used by New Zealand's DHBs to hire graduate nurses.

Graduate nurse Sarah Lacey was one of the 297 applicants who got the false job offer.

"Saying that a lot of us were disappointed is an understatement," she says.

Sarah has searched for a job with no success for eight months after graduating last year, and was "absolutely over the moon" when she got the email telling her she had landed a place at Auckland DHB.

That excitement turned to disappointment when another email arrived two hours later saying there had been a "coding error with [the] automatically generated emails" and she did not have a job.

The national DHB Workforce Strategy Group which runs the ACE hiring system blamed the mistake on a "technical issue in the email process".

Spokesperson for the DHBs Julie Patterson said the mistake was "most regrettable".

"We are very sorry that this issue occurred and apologise to everyone affected, particularly those applicants who have not been matched and the distress this may have caused to them and their families. We will continue working with applicants regarding their next steps and options such as the talent pool," Ms Patterson said in a statement.

Sarah calls this a "throwaway apology".

She says graduate nurses face an almost-impossible job search, and blames the government for not sufficiently funding DHBs and tertiary institutions for producing more graduates than there are jobs.

And despite her nursing degree leaving her with a $50,000 loan, she's now considering switching careers.

Auckland Hospital entrance
Auckland Hospital entrance Source: 1 NEWS