ANMF taking action to curb alarming staff shortages

19 May 2022

Nursing and midwifery staff shortages are predicted to hit 85,000 nationally by 2025, and 123,000 by 2030.

To address the looming crisis and ‘future proof’ the nursing and midwifery professions, the ANMF (SA Branch) has been contracted by SA Health to review and redesign a Transition to Professional Practice Program (TPPP) for graduate nurses, midwives, and enrolled nurses. 

The program redevelopment is part of the SA Health COVID-19 Nursing and Midwifery Skills Training Strategy to address the workforce demand surge and support the accelerated transition of graduate nurses to professional practice. 

The program will be co-designed and co-developed between SA Health and the ANMF (SA Branch) to ensure it is contemporary, competency and evidenced based, and professionally focused. As part of the project we are engaging closely with transition program stakeholders, local health networks, and we are presently conducting a series of consultation seminars.

The program’s aim is to efficiently upskill nurses and midwives in South Australia’s nursing and midwifery workforce in the pandemic environment and beyond. 

ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adj Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM, addressing a forum of SA Health and Local Health Network professionals this week, described the TPPP as “really, really important”. 

“I hear every day from our members talking about how they are feeling fatigued, how they are working double shifts, that they are working excessive overtime, that they are working short staffed,’’ Ms Dabars said.

“From our perspective we have been advocating and lobbying for workforce improvements and workforce changes for many, many years. 

“We have had some degree of successes. Last year, for instance, we did manage to convince the then government to employ the entire cohort of the graduating nurses and midwives.

“That was a great coup and a great win for us all. However, we are now again on the bandwagon with the new government, advocating and arguing very strongly for the employment of all of the next lot of graduating nurses and midwives and indeed the full employment of those who are finishing their Transition to Professional Practice Placements.

“We are also arguing very strongly for attraction and retention incentives, particularly in those rural and regional areas. I know it is very difficult in metropolitan areas to fill those rosters but it is really hard in those rural and regional areas even to offer services. I know as recently as this week there have been additional concerns about services continuing in the country,’’ Ms Dabars said.

“It is so important that we contribute, and we offer solutions to these issues. We know workforce shortage is local, national and international. We have again been trying very hard to put forward solutions. 

“This is one of those solutions.’’