Job hunting new grad nurses hope to be second-time lucky

6 June 2014

Six months since graduating nearly 230 new nurses are still job hunting and have signed up for a second chance to win a place in a new graduate programme.

Registrations for the July round (which closed in May) of the ACE “one-stop job shop” show that 229 of the 645 new graduates signed up were applying for the second time. Graduates are eligible to seek places on government-subsidised NETP (nursing entry to practice) programmes for up to 12 months after completing their degrees.

The nearly 230 nurses are 17 per cent of the bumper crop of 1320 novice nurses that graduated from nursing schools in November. Which is down from the 268 (20 per cent) that indicated they were still job hunting about three months ago in the March survey of November graduates by nursing schools’ organisation NETS.

That survey indicated that the number of new graduate nursing jobs available to end-of-year graduates in the public, NGO, or private sectors had stayed static at 900 jobs for the past three years, while graduating cohorts continued to grow.

Ministry of Health chief nurse Jane O’Malley said the number of jobs on offer for the 645 applicants in the July job round was still to be finalised, but 11 of the 20 district health boards were offering mid-year new graduate intakes. Last year, just over 200 of the 515 mid-year applicants (about 400 of which were mid-year graduates) were successful in being offered places in the July 2013 ACE round. It is not known how many of the 247 July 2013 graduates who applied again in the November 2013 ACE round were second time lucky.

HWNZ releases NETP statistics

Meanwhile, statistics released by Health Workforce New Zealand indicated that by the end of May just over 832 new graduates were signed up to government subsidised NETP or NESP (mental health) new graduate programmes to date in 2014.

About 575 of these were directly employed by district health boards in NETP schemes – largely to work in public hospitals – and a further 97 were employed by publicly-funded health services in the community like general practices, Plunket, and aged residential care (ARC) facilities. An additional 9 were signed up to last year’s new initiatiave, the ARC NETP programme, which offers extra funding to aged care facilities to support a new graduate – half of the number signed up during 2013.

Another new initiative, the over-subscribed VCLA scholarship scheme, led to a further 46 novice nurses being taken on by very low cost access (VCLA) practices across the country. The government’s scholarship scheme had initially offered 30 scholarships of $50,000 each to general practices who take on a new graduate to expand their nursing staff, but the number on offer was upped to 48 because of strong interest.

With the addition of 150 places filled by DHBs on their mental health NESP programmes this brings the total of new graduates employed to date on government-supported schemes up to 878. It is not known how many new graduates are employed in private hospital new graduate schemes or by other employers that are not eligible or signed up to NETP schemes.

The HWNZ statistics for 2013 show that just over 1100 new graduates were signed up to NETP or NESP schemes during 2013.

Nearly 950 of these were in NETP schemes, 800 directly employed by district health boards and a further 147 by non-DHB but publicly funded employers. An additional 18 were signed up to the ARC NETP scheme.

The remaining 150 were employed by DHBs on NESP programmes.