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8,000 signatures delivered to Minister of Health

8,000 signatures delivered to Minister of Health

Young nurses, older nurses, student nurses and newly graduated nurses gathered at Parliament today to support the presentation of a petition calling for a nurse entry to practice programme for all new graduate nurses. More than 8,000 people signed the petition, which was unrolled on the steps of Parliament, fortunately not in high winds. NZNO President, Marion Guy, and Kaiwhakahaere, Kerri Nuku, presented the petition to the Minister of Health, Tony Ryall.

NZNO acting professional services manager, Hilary Graham-Smith says, “NZNO and the more than 8,000 signatories on our petition are calling on the Minister of Health, Tony Ryall to fund a one year nurse entry to practice programme for 100% of new graduate nurses, now – it’s the only way to get the nursing workforce we want in years to come.”

“New Zealand is facing a significant nursing shortage – an estimated 15,000 by 2035. We need to begin growing a sustainable, home-grown and highly skilled nursing workforce if we are to maintain the high quality of nursing care we all deserve. We’re educating some of the nurses needed to fill that gap and we need to support them to gain experience and stay in New Zealand.”

The nurse entry to practice programme (NEtP) is a structured support programme for newly graduated nurses. The programme provides each new graduate nurse with support and mentoring in their first year of practice.

“New Zealand is educating nurses and then leaving large numbers of new graduates unable to find work in a clinical setting due to limited places on NEtP programmes and/or employers requiring them to “have experience” before they will employ them. In the latest ACE round 233 of the 645 applicants have jobs. That leaves 412 new graduate nurses without jobs. The risk is that some of these nurses will gain employment in unsupported environments where there are insufficient registered nurses to provide mentorship. And, sadly, some won’t get a nursing job at all. This is not just about employment it is about employment in a NEtP programme.” Ms Graham-Smith says.

“The stories we hear from new graduate nurses and particularly graduate Māori nurses are concerning as they find it even harder to get employment and into the NEtP programme” Ms Graham-Smith says.

The Minister of Health, Tony Ryall listened to NZNOs calls for 100 per cent new nurse graduate employment and placement on the NEtP programme. We will continue to work with other national nursing groups on the goal of 100 percent employment in NEtP programmes for our new graduate nurses. We acknowledge the Minister’s recent announcement to extend the eligibility criteria from 12 to 24 months and additional funding of $2.8 million from 2015 to fund an additional 200 NEtP places.

“The issue of employment in the health sector for new graduate registered and enrolled nurses will require continued urgent action by the Ministry of Health and Health Workforce New Zealand. NZNO will be advocating to make sure this matter is urgently attended to.”


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