Queensland suffers nurse shortage while graduates struggle for jobs

RANUI HARMER

Nursing shortage puts patient care at risk. Photo Flickr

Nursing shortage has put patient care at risk. Photo: Flickr

Australia is reportedly suffering severe nursing shortages with nearly 17,000 workers required for public and private hospitals and aged care facilities.

Queensland Health needs an additional 14,000 nurses by 2014 before patient care is risked.

Despite this, thousands of Australian nurses are graduating after three years at university to find themselves unemployed.

Recent graduate Libby Thomas is working full-time in retail due to the difficulty of finding a career in nursing.

“I graduated last year December 2013, so it will be coming onto a year at the end of this year,” Ms. Thomas said.

“I think a lot of it is lack of funding in the healthcare system.

“Also because of the type of job it is, experience is a big thing and it’s hard to get a job when you have little experience.”

The government announced the federal budget will reduce Australia’s share of hospital funding.

Redlands MP Peter Dowling said the budget has caused major problems for Queensland’s health services.

“We have again increased the health budget by 6% to $13.6 Billion,” Mr Dowling said.

“Wait times and surgery wait lists are improved, [there is] no dental wait list down from 15,000. Cochlear ear implants [have] no waiting list anymore.”

A Queensland Health spokesperson said they are doing what they can to provide employment to graduates.

“As of 22 August 2014, hospital and health services have advised that 56% of the Queensland graduate registered nurse applicants have been offered positions, which is an increase on the same time last year,” a spokesman said.

“There are many areas that employ graduate nurses in the private health sector, interstate and internationally, reflecting the spread of employment opportunities across health services.”

 

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