ANMF (SA Branch) applauds huge win for graduating nurses

11 October 2021

The ANMF (SA Branch) welcomes the decision by SA Health to employ the total crop of 1,200 nurses graduating in November, calling it a “fantastic win for members, graduates and the community at large”.

ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adj Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM last month called on SA Health to recruit all graduating nurses who will complete their courses in November. “This is urgently needed to address the existing shortages which are forcing nurses and midwives to work double shifts and excessive overtime to plug gaps,” Ms Dabars said at the time.

This week the State Government heeded that call.

The graduating nurses will be trained for frontline COVID duties by mid-December, when the state is expected to reach the 80 per cent fully vaccinated trigger, The Sunday Mail reported. A $7m SA Health nursing and midwifery skills and training strategy will ensure each graduate nurse and midwife recruited receives the training and clinical supervision to be ready for the December challenges.

However, on Tuesday night the ANMF (SA Branch) was notified by multiple members that letters have been released from SA Health Workforce to students in relation to their TPPP offers, indicating they have been unsuccessful for a position at this time.

ANMF (SA Branch) executives contacted the Department of Health seeking clarification on the release of the offers which were inconsistent with our discussions with them.

We have been advised that the letters that were received on Tuesday, October 12, were prepared prior to the Premier’s announcement which was released on Sunday 10 October 2021, in which he committed to a position that all eligible graduates would receive an offer following the successful lobbying from the ANMF (SA Branch).

The Department of Health has informed the ANMF (SA Branch) that they will release an urgent communication in the coming days about the error. Those graduates who have been assessed as appropriate will be issued with a new letter of offer.

“We are thrilled the Government has decided to employ all graduating nurses. For too long only about half the number of graduate nurses have been employed at SA Health on graduation,’’ Ms Dabars said.

“This is a welcome move to help address chronic staff shortages and associated stress and fatigue and to assist in the fight against COVID.

“We now call on the Government to employ clinical academics and retired experienced nurses short-term to assist in onboarding, supervision and mentoring to reduce the impact on other nurses already under pressure.’’

The ANMF (SA Branch) has written to SA Health asking for further details, in particular about:

  • The FTE available for such employment for graduates;
  • The employment of existing nurses and midwives including those in 2021 TPPP programs; and
  • How we will progress the issues discussed between us regarding measures to enhance supervision, support and clinical development of the TPPP cohort given the existing pressures on nurses and midwives.

The ANMF continues to encourage members to join our campaign lobbying MPs for much-needed action to fix our ailing health system across the board, at ActionForHealth.com.au

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