Nursing graduates flounder in career market

As hopeful nursing students flock to UOW’s career expo today, Australia’s graduates are struggling to find employment as foreign nurses fill the workforce.

The  UOW School of Nursing and Midwifery reported in 2013 that 99.4 per cent of graduates were in full-time employment just three months after graduating. However, Australian statistics and  student experiences reveal a less optimistic picture.

According to Health Workforce Australia, while the number of nursing graduates increased by 50% between 2005 and 2012, the number of jobs outsourced to foreign workers on temporary visas increased by 500%.

It is estimated approximately 1100 nursing graduates will miss out on finding positions in their field this year, while more than 1,000 will be unable to secure full time positions.

Janet*, a graduate from UWS Campbelltown, was offered a full time graduate position at Campbelltown hospital, but she says many others were not as lucky.

“It was a very select few that got jobs,” she said.

“There were over 100 students at Campbelltown UWS, and Campbelltown Hospital could only offer 20 new graduate positions.

“Since my year they have offered less and less positions. It is really hard to find a job once you graduate.”

Another UWS graduate, Renee Hooper, is one of many struggling to find work long after getting her degree, and relying on Centrelink payments to get by.

Having graduated in December, Renee said she missed out on a graduate position and has since submitted over 60 unsuccessful job applications.

“The longer I am out of a job, the harder it is going to be for me to find a nursing position,” she said.

“I am now considering other courses as I do not think my circumstances will change any time soon.

“I am highly disappointed in the Australian health system, for not taking on enough graduates and then leaving the rest with no opportunities.”

Kim Lally from Ramsay Health Care (RHC), a major company present at the expo, said many graduates miss out, and RHC already have at least 600 applicants for jobs available next year.

“Last year we had in excess of 1600 applications for under 200 positions, so it’s a very competitive process,” she said.

She said hospitals can be flexible with the amount of graduates they decide to employ, it all depends on the caliber of the applicants.

Ms Lally said it was all about the quality of your resume, demonstrating customer service skills and addressing the criteria, the learning and development manager said.

“Avoid the textbook, you can tell the people that have just copied from the book,” she said.

“We want to know why nursing is the profession for you, why you chose it, why you’ll be fantastic at it and how you can really help us help our patients.”

RHC worker Tina Porter said although there may be short-term difficulties now, there are many different areas to get into and she believes it is an industry that will be understaffed in the future.

For more info on nursing and healthcare in NSW visit:

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Multimedia Reporter’ Kirstie Chlopicki



A Guide to the Nursing Expo at UOW

Multimedia Reporter’ Alice Matthews



UOW nursing students were given a glimpse of their possible futures with Careers Central’s Nursing Expo today.

The defence force, government services, hospitals, medical centres and private medical companies and services were in attendance today, to provide nursing students with various opportunities and possibilities.

Multimedia Repoter’: Rachel Loveday