Despite positive trends nearly 740 nurse graduates left job-hunting

10 December 2014

More new graduate nurses offered jobs this November than the previous two years - but still nearly half of applicants will start the summer job-hunting.

Chief Nurse Jane O'Malley says the Ministry of Health is confident though that the number of new graduates finding jobs will continue to increase over the next few months – following the employment pattern that has emerged in the past four recruitment rounds.

The Ministry has released the latest statistics for the ACE new graduate job clearinghouse, which shows 755 places on NETP (nursing entry to practice) and NESP (new entry to specialist practice, mental health and addictions) programmes were offered in late November.  This is up on the 605 NETP and NESP jobs offered at the same time in 2013 and the 730 jobs in 2012.

This upward trend in jobs offered was reported by Nursing Review last month after most of the largest district health boards indicated that they, and their NETP providers in the community, were to offer more places for 2015 (see NewsFeed Nov 7). 

But the nearly 25 per cent increase in November job offers was offset by a 10 per cent increase in applicants, (which rose to 1481) leaving about 740 new graduates without job offers in the first ACE round.

Chief Nurse Jane O'Malley noted that the initial placements were "considerably higher" than the same time a year ago and it remained confident that more new graduates would be offered jobs over the summer. 

"That confidence is built on a consistent pattern that we have seen in the successive recruitment rounds, anecdotal evidence from the DHB Directors of Nursing, and the numbers of re-applicants on the ACE talent pool," said O'Malley.  Both Auckland and Waikato DHBs have also both indicated that they are looking to take three or more intakes in 2015.

O'Malley said the number of graduates re-applying to the ACE talent pool from July this year and November last year indicated that 76 per cent of graduates find jobs within five months and nearly all are employed within 12 months.

The need to train more nurses by 2017 was highlighted in the Health Workforce New Zealand **itals**Health of the Health Workforce Report 2013-2014 released in November that drew on the Nursing Council's 2013 nursing supply projections report, which in turn was based on nursing graduation data from 2010.

O'Malley pointed out that graduating cohorts of nurses have already been increasing with around 1800 nurses graduating in 2013 compared to around 1300 in 2010. " We are looking to ensure as many of those nurses as possible are employed when they graduate."

In the latest ACE around 719 of the 755 job offers were accepted by the DHB's first preference for the position.  The reasons for graduates declining job offers is not known – graduates can only receive a single job offer* through ACE – but possible options include having accepted a job outside of ACE (for example in a private surgical hospital or overseas). It was expected that the 36 unfilled positions would be quickly filled by DHBs drawing on graduates remaining in the talent pool.  There were 616 NETP positions on offer (including positions in general practices, residential aged care and Plunket) and 139 NESP positions for new graduates entering the mental health and addiction fields.

The Ministry said it was not known at this stage whether all the extra 40 aged residential care (ARC) NETP places announced earlier this year had been filled.  It also didn't know now how many positions in Very Low Cost Access (VLCA) practices had been confirmed to date but expected all of the 25 scholarship positions to be filled.

*Article clarified on December 12 to make it clear that applicants only receive one job offer through ACE, if more than one employer wants to employ the graduate than the clearinghouse selects the job offer based on the graduate's ranking of preferred employers.