Urgent need to recruit ALL nursing and midwifery graduates now


24 September 2021

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch) is calling on SA Health to recruit all graduating nurses and midwives who will be completing their courses in November this year. 

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. 

We also calling for urgent action to fast-track development of speciality skills in areas including mental health, critical care, emergency care and midwifery, and to incentivise employment in rural and regional areas.

“Each year, for many years, only approximately 600 of the more than 1,300 graduating nurses and midwives in South Australia are offered Transition to Professional Practice Program (TPPP) places - otherwise known as graduate places,’’ ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adj Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM said. 

“We have consistently lobbied successive governments to embrace more into the system because of the looming shortfall of nurses and midwives (an anticipated 10,000 to 15,000 shortfall by the years 2025-2030). 

“This year it is more imperative than ever that all nurses and midwives completing their undergraduate placement are offered TPPPs in SA and those completing their TPPP are also offered ongoing permanent employment and urgent skill transition to specialist positions including emergency, critical care, perioperative and midwifery,’’ Ms Dabars said. 

“Nurses and midwives are currently working double shifts (16-hour shifts) and excessive overtime due to lack of available workforce.

“There is a desperate need to employ more graduate nurses as the shortfall is Australia-wide and if we do not embrace these nurses and midwives now, we are fearful SA will lose them to other states and territories. A continuing failure to act on these issues will cause increased suffering to the South Australian community. 

“The health system is already overwhelmed. We have launched a campaign ‘Action For Health’ to get commitment from the State Government and Opposition to provide adequate capacity and staff to support the community,’’ Ms Dabars said. 

“The experience overseas is that we can anticipate increased attendances to hospital from those unvaccinated requiring treatment for COVID-19, particularly in areas of intensive care, but also more generally. 

“This spike in activity has resulted in sustained increases in activity in the UK, North America and Europe. It is reasonable to expect that would also occur here. 

“The 80 per cent vaccination target currently applies to over 16-year-olds so it means that only 50 to 60 per cent of the total population will be vaccinated. That means a substantial number of the population remain at risk of illness. 

“At a federal level, we have also urged the Prime Minister to reveal the modelling for the impact on our hospital system should the Government lift restrictions at the 80 per cent target and to advise what resources they plan to make available to ensure that the community can receive the care they need and deserve,’’ Ms Dabars said. 

“We have formally written to the CEO of SA Health, Dr Chris McGowan, seeking urgent action to:
  1. Offer all nurses and midwives who will be completing their courses in November this year a TPPP;
  2. Offer those completing their TPPP ongoing permanent employment;
  3. Fast-track development of speciality skills in areas including Mental Health, Critical Care, Emergency Care and Midwifery, and incentivise employment in rural and regional areas.

“Given the time frame to offer those completing their courses a TPPP is fast approaching, we have urged SA Health to respond on these issues by no later than COB, Thursday, 7 October 2021.

“Of crucial importance here is the safety, health and welfare of our community.’’