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Nurses workforce study launched

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Nurses workforce study launched

Worldwide shortages of nurses and the ageing population are putting increasing pressure on health services, but there is no reliable information about the nursing workforce.

Claims of 2000 nursing vacancies have never been confirmed, says Dr Annette Huntington from the School of Health Sciences.

All this is about to change. Researchers from Massey University School of Health Sciences are tracking nurses’ health, wellbeing and patterns of workforce participation using on-line questionnaires.

This week 12,000 New Zealand nurses are being invited to participate in an innovative on-line study which will collect comprehensive data on nurses’ health, wellbeing and workforce participation.

Nurses will receive an invitation to take part in the study when they renew their annual practising certificates. The first 12,000 invitations are being mailed this week.

This coincides with the launch on April 7 of the WHO Health Workforce Decade, which highlights the importance of health workers as the most important resource for producing good health.

“In New Zealand most health workers are nurses,” says Dr Huntington. “However there is no reliable information about the nursing workforce to assist the recruitment and retention of staff.“

The Nurses’ E-Cohort Study will provide an up-to-date database to improve workforce policy and planning, with the aim of encouraging the recruitment and retention of New Zealand nurses.

Accurate data is essential for the planning and management of the nursing workforce if this pressure is not to overwhelm our health services. For the best possible data we want all nurses to participate. The more nurses the stronger the study, she says.

The Nurses’ E-Cohort Study is a collaborative venture between the University of Queensland and Massey University’s School of Health Sciences.

ENDS

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