NSW government must do better to retain nurses and midwives

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has urged the NSW government to follow Victoria’s lead and future-proof the state’s health system by urgently investing in the nursing and midwifery workforce of tomorrow.

In welcoming the Andrews government’s plan to recruit and train 17,000 nurses and midwives, and cover the university fees of more than 10,000 nursing or midwifery undergraduate courses, the NSWNMA warned NSW was at risk of being left further behind.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Shaye Candish, said it was imperative the NSW government acknowledged the current staffing issues impacting the state’s public hospitals and acted before it was too late.

“The Victorian government’s announcement is exactly the type of forward-thinking we have been championing in NSW to address some of the workforce concerns we can already see coming down the line here,” said Ms Candish.

“In recent years we’ve seen three thousand nurses and midwives move interstate, because they can experience better working conditions with mandated safe nurse-to-patient ratios in Victoria, Queensland, the ACT and soon to be in South Australia.

“Nurses and midwives want to show up for their shifts knowing there are enough suitably skilled other nurses and midwives to work alongside them and deliver the safest, best possible care to every patient.

“We know there are plenty of nurses and midwives pulling out of university studies or worse, walking away from a career in nursing or midwifery because they’ve had a negative experience during clinical placement in NSW.”

NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary, Michael Whaites, said more support was desperately needed on the ground and reiterated calls for more Clinical Nurse/Midwife Educators to be employed throughout the state.

“We have an ongoing nursing and midwifery retention problem in NSW because it’s more convenient for our decision makers to ignore these systemic issues,” added Mr Whaites.

“We’re continuing to urge the NSW and federal governments to work with us on developing practical, longer term solutions to address these issues and ensure we can retain nurses and midwives across our state, but also to provide a supportive and collaborative work environment for new graduates through to senior practicing clinicians.”

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