"Stop passing the buck, Australia's nursing grads need jobs" is the Australian Nursing Federation's new national campaign, aimed at getting employment for graduates.
The campaign was started to place pressure on the nation's politicians to fund strategies to ensure jobs and the promotion of safe patient care.
"With a predicted shortage of nurses as high as 109,000 by 2025, the non-employment of graduate nurses by state governments is staggering," said ANF federal secretary Lee Thomas. "Almost every state is affected, with Queensland employing only 10 per cent of graduates, while in Victoria more than 800 are without employment."
The campaign's strategies include waiving HECS fees for graduates who accept employment opportunities in areas of need, rotation through non-traditional graduate areas and 24-hour, seven-day-a-week clinical supervision and mentoring funded by state and federal governments.
Thomas said over recent months nurses have been sacked, recruitment has stopped, hospital beds closed and vital mental health services and public and preventative health programs stopped.
"Billions of dollars have been slashed from public health systems across Australia and it is nurses and midwives and the people they care for, each and every day, who are suffering as a result of it," she said.
"At a time when Australia faces a chronic shortage of nurses, the country cannot possibly lose so many qualified nursing staff, without a decline in the overall standard of public healthcare."
Health Workforce Australia is also being called on by the ANF to conduct research into where graduates go if they are not employed in nursing.
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