MEDIA RELEASE 16 February 2017
NZ must have a sustainable approach to nurse workforce
NZNO today launched an urgent discussion document about the issue of the unsustainable and fluctuating import of Internationally Qualified Nurses (IQN), in the context of New Zealand nurse graduate unemployment and the need for a better commitment to nurse career development.
The discussion document highlights issues about the pathways into nursing in
New Zealand for an internationally qualified nurse and how poor workforce planning and inconsistent policy undermines the sustainability of the nursing workforce. The discussion document can be found here.
NZNO Chief Executive Memo Musa says NZNO supports migrant nurses who are a vital part of the NZ health workforce but says many coming into aged care facilities are in positions that are not well supported or paid. In addition he says, DHB commitment to support NZ nurses into senior positions is lacking.
“We want to see greater self-sufficiency and sustainability for the New Zealand nursing workforce,” Memo Musa says.
“This means full employment of graduates, better pay at entry level nursing roles such as working in aged care, community care, primary care, including Iwi and Māori care sectors, and better mentoring and professional development planning offered to help retain senior nurses, including IQNs.
“NZNO advocates for a comprehensive overview of nursing supply and demand to reduce overreliance on migration and underinvestment in nurse education and employment to ensure a stable self-sustainable workforce.
“Nursing in New Zealand must become a fair playing field with wages and conditions that attract New Zealand nurses on an equal basis with international nurses.
“Currently Māori and Pacific graduate nurses are not being recruited as they should be, particularly into community care and primary care, including mental health and this means there can be a cultural mismatch in these areas of nursing.
“While some recruitment of international nurses is aimed to fill vacancies at the top levels of nursing, it appears this is misused via the accredited employer gateway, meaning New Zealand nurses are underutilised.
“With a greater focus on retaining the international nurses already here, but getting the numbers down overall, attracting more NZ nurses back into nursing, safe staffing and flexible work options, I am sure we can achieve an increase job placement and career satisfaction for NZ nurses,” Memo Musa said.
Media enquires: Karen Coltman 027 431 2617.