NSW must follow Victoria’s lead to better retain nurses and midwives

NSW nurses and midwives strike

The NSW government must follow Victoria’s lead and safeguard the state’s health system by urgently investing in the next generation of nurses and midwives, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has argued.

The call comes on the back of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday announcing that more than 10,000 nursing and midwifery students would have the cost of their university degrees paid for as part of a $270 million plan to grow the workforce and ease the burden on the state’s stretched health system.

According to the NSWNMA, with ongoing staffing issues continuing to impact the state’s hospitals, NSW risks being left further behind, and should follow suit before it becomes 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,” General Secretary Shaye Candish said.

“In recent years, we’ve seen 3,000 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, agreed that more support was desperately needed on the ground, reiterating calls for more Clinical Nurse/Midwife Educators to be employed across 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,” Mr Whaites said.

“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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