WA hospitals boosted by record number of new nurses and more to come
A record 586 new graduate nurses will start work across the Western Australian public health system in 2008. The Australian Goverment Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, and the WA Minister for Health, Jim McGinty, welcomed the first of the nurses on 21 January.
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The Hon Nicola Roxon MP21 January 2008
Minister for Health and Ageing
The Hon Jim McGinty MLA
Western Australian Government
Minister for Health
A record 586 new graduate nurses will start work across the Western Australian public health system this year.
Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon and WA Health Minister Jim McGinty welcomed the first of the nurses today.
“Nurses are the backbone of our hospitals and it is great to see so many people choosing to study nursing and join the public health system,” Ms Roxon said.
“With the pressure on our health system and a world-wide shortage of nurses, it’s vital that we continue to build on the number of people entering the profession each year, as well as retaining and attracting experienced nurses. This result will deliver real benefits to patients across WA.”
Mr McGinty said the nurses would work across 29 hospitals and mental health facilities state-wide.
“This represents an increase of 19 per cent, or 110 nurses, on the number of new nurses who joined the public health system in 2007,” he said.
“Of the graduates employed, 79 per cent were from WA universities, with seven per cent from overseas and the remainder recruited from interstate.
“Existing nurses, doctors and everyone at WA Health are very happy to have these highly trained professionals join us. We will do all we can to help them get started and provide them with opportunities to develop their careers.”
An increase in nursing places at WA universities will see the number of graduates continue to grow. In 2005, WA produced 636 new nursing graduates, with this figure expected to rise to 824 by the end of 2009.
Ms Roxon said the new Australian Government would continue to increase the number of federally-funded undergraduate nursing places as part of its $87 million plan to boost the number of nurses in the health and aged care system by more than 10,000 over the next five years.
“In addition to training new nurses, we will be providing cash incentives to encourage qualified registered and enrolled nurses, who are currently out of the workforce, to return to their profession,” she said.
“More than 620 trained nurses in WA will be offered $6,000 to return to the public health system.
“We acknowledge that nursing is a very challenging and difficult job. By delivering more nurses into the workforce, we will take pressure off those already working in the system.
“Much of the pressure on hospitals is a result of the former Federal Liberal Government’s funding cuts - that is a situation we intend to turn around. This strategy will have a significant impact on hospitals, helping to create a more positive working environment for nurses and one they will be more likely to return to.”
Mr McGinty said the new WA nursing enterprise bargaining agreement signed late last year made the State’s nurses among the best-paid in Australia and saw them receive the highest penalty rates for working non-business hours in the nation.
Graduate nurse Nicole Stopp of West Swan, who will work on the cardiovascular ward at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, said she was excited to be starting her career in the public health system.
“I spent the last two years of university working part-time as a nursing assistant, spending the majority of this time at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital,” Ms Stopp said.
“The tertiary hospitals offer a terrific opportunity to learn and develop as a nurse, along with a variety of specialised career pathways such as intensive care and coronary care nursing.”
Graduate nurse Robina Aitken of Sorrento, who will work at Royal Perth Hospital, said the public system was at the cutting edge of medicine.
“You get exposure to lots of different cases and different people; people from all walks of life,” Ms Aitken said.
“I also liked the fact RPH offers graduate placements in ICU and the ED. To have that option while you are young is great.”
The graduate nurses will join more than 10,000 nurses (full-time equivalent) who now work in the State’s public health system, approximately 2,000 more than in 2001 (an increase of about 20 per cent).
Mr McGinty said WA Health was focused on making nursing in the public system an attractive career to help ensure a sustainable nursing workforce into the future.
“Strategies include the introduction of work-life balance initiatives, greater roster flexibility, phased retirement, re-entry programs, childcare and parental leave,” he said.
Last year, WA Health awarded $1.24 million in scholarships to 506 undergraduate and postgraduate nurses.
The new graduate nurses will be employed at the following hospitals:
|Armadale Mental Health||Broome|
|Bentley Mental Health||Bunbury mental health|
|Princess Margaret Hospital||Derby|
|Royal Perth Hospital||Kalgoorlie|
|Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital||Kununurra/Wyndham|
|Swan Mental Health||Narrogin|
Media contacts: Minister Roxon’s office - Sean Kelly 0417 108 362
Mr McGinty’s office - Astrid Serventy 9422 3000 or mobile 0407 383 117
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