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SA nurses campaign via social media

Nurses and midwives in South Australia are turning to Facebook in a bid to capture the attention of State Treasurer, Jay Weatherill. By Amie Larter

The South Australian branch of The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation has launched an online Facebook petition in attempt to secure funding for the employment of graduate nurses and midwives throughout the state.

Only 50 per cent of the nurses who graduated in South Australia last year have been employed, and of those, only 30 per cent remained in the state.

Adjunct associate professor Elizabeth Dabars, CEO of the ANMFSA, believes that by 2025 South Australia will be approximately 25,000 nurses short if this issue is not addressed now.

She said the only way to avoid this is to capture graduates now.

“It’s already clear from the projections of workforce that we are going to be in dire straits in the next five to ten years and if we don’t address this issue and we don’t employ these people now then we will be in a worse predicament.

“We believe that if we fail to do that we simply won’t have the numbers of nurses and midwives who are needed in order to provide important services.”

The ANF is hoping to make the government realise that money can be saved by investing now, rather than in five years time in a crisis scenario.

“If they ignore the industry workforce now they will be having to throw significant amounts of money at the issue in order to attract people to the system,” she said.

Nurses and midwives have targeted the man responsible for the state’s purse strings in a hope money will be invested into an employment strategy that will see graduates through a transition to professional practice program and then into ongoing employment.

This followed what has been described as “a lack of commitment” from both the former and current health ministers.

According to Dabars, nurses are getting really frustrated after being actively encouraged to pursue nursing and midwifery as a career path.

She said they are distressed after investing so much time, energy and money into their education, which they don’t believe they will be able to use in the foreseeable future.

“It’s very frustrating for people to know that the shortage is there, to know their jobs will be needed, but that they can’t start utilising those skills now.

“It’s really unfair and unacceptable to ask people to wait for another five years and come back. They just definitely won’t be there.”

A two-fold problem – the ANF is also calling for more connection between the education, immigration and employment sectors.

“There is no integrated strategy that looks at each of those three prongs and ensures that we will actually have an appropriate workforce,” said Dabars.

“We have also called on the state and federal government to cooperate and speak to each other in order to develop a strategy that would address those three strands and then our aim would be to ensure that there is an appropriate integrated strategy.”

Nursing Review contacted Jay Weatherill for comment, however received no response.

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