New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 15 November 2022
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) says it is pleased with Health Minister Andrew Little’s recent announcement that paid placements for nursing students are under active consideration.
NZNO President Anne Daniels says nursing students must do 1100 hours of unpaid placement work during their studies (often at great distance from their homes) and that the hardship resulting from this is a major contributor to the high number of nursing students who drop out.
“We are in the middle of an horrific nursing shortage crisis, and it seems like a no-brainer that we must do everything possible to attract students into nursing and to keep them there.
“NZNO has been suggesting paid placements for some time and we’re frankly surprised it has taken so long even to be considered.”
However, Ms Daniels said this should be just one of several measures introduced to attract and retain nursing students.
“Places in Australia have already introduced free fees for nursing students right up to their third year because they recognise how important it is to build their health workforce right now. We must follow suit.
“In New Zealand we’ve done it for apprentices in response to trade worker shortages, so it’s just mystifying that we’re not considering free training for a profession that literally saves lives and provides care when we are seriously sick.”
She said the Government must move from consideration to action on both these issues quickly.
“We cannot afford to wait around, and we’d like an urgent timeframe announced to put these measures in place.
“New Zealand remains an unattractive option for migrant nurses, and we shouldn’t be relying on them anyway. We must be pulling out every stop in growing our own nursing workforce, especially Māori and Pasifika nurses, and that has to start right now.”
Media inquiries: Rob Zorn, NZNO Media and Communications Advisor: 027 431 2617.