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Spotlight on Nursing Workforce Continues

Ministry of Health

Spotlight on Nursing Workforce Continues

THE study into issues affecting the nursing workforce is moving into the next
stage.

The Ministry of Health today convened a conference call with nursing and
employer groups to inform them of its progress in a scoping exercise to
determine the extent of a nursing shortage.

As part of the scoping exercise the Ministry surveyed all public hospital chief
executives. It also sought additional information through talking to groups
involved in nursing, and obtaining statistical workforce data from sources
including Statistics New Zealand.

Chief Advisor of Nursing Frances Hughes said survey results were inconclusive as
to the extent of a nursing shortage, so the Ministry had asked nursing groups
and hospital managers to provide more information by December 14.

Mrs Hughes also said the Ministry was receiving information from a survey of the
private nursing workforce, carried out by the New Zealand Hospital Association.
Preliminary results showed they were short of theatre and acute nurses.

"All this information will be discussed at a meeting of groups involved in
nursing and the employers on December 14. At this meeting we will prioritise the
issues identified and work out a timeframe for further work and action.

"As a result of what we have learnt so far the Ministry will also undertaking a
survey of the 11,000 nurses with current practising certificates who are not
employed in clinical work. It will look at why they are not working and what it
would take to get them to reenter the workforce.

"So far we have carried out a high level look at what is happening and our next
step is looking at the issue in more detail.

"We have to ensure any strategies or initiatives put in place are the right
ones. A partnership between the Ministry, groups representing the nursing sector
and their employers, which involves agreement on the issues and solutions is the
best approach.

"The nursing sector in New Zealand needs to work together and pool its knowledge
to determine the issues and possible solutions. The Ministry sees it is our role
to facilitate this to happen.

"Another issue identified by the scoping work is that the increasing complexity
of care nurses are required to give is not only putting them under more pressure
but is also impacting on their ability to support new graduates and nurses
wanting to reenter the workforce. The Nurse Executives of New Zealand are
following up this issue," Mrs Hughes said.

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