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ANMF urges the government to recruit unemployed nurses and improve communication

Photo: ANMF urges the government to recruit unemployed nurses and improve communication
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has urged the Federal Government to commit to employing nursing graduates who have not yet secured permanent graduate positions, along with those who are unemployed.

While engaging international nursing students is one part of the solution, in order to fully prepare the health workforce to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the public require the protection of fully-qualified and trained staff.

ANMF Acting Federal Secretary, Lori-Anne Sharp said as frontline workers, nurses, midwives and carers understood how the rapid spread of COVID-19 was placing enormous strain on the health and aged care systems, now, and in the months to come.

“Engaging international students should only be one part of the solution,” she said.

“It will be essential that students feel confident and have sufficient training to deal with this pandemic.
“They must work under the supervision and guidance of a registered nurse at all times.”

With more than 2,500 Australian nursing graduates unemployed, Ms Sharp said the Government should give local nurses the first opportunity to be employed, before taking the option of recruiting international nursing students.

“We have unemployed graduates who are out there and willing to work.”

The ANMF has urged the Government to commit to the following:

  • Engage with the more than 2,500 unemployed Australian nursing graduates and underemployed nursing workforce in health and aged care, before solely depending on international nursing students;
     
  • In the event that we need to surge a larger workforce of international nursing students,  ensure they are working within their scope and adequately supported and supervised by a registered nurse at all times;
     
  • Confirm that international nursing students have access and are appropriately trained in the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE);
     
  • Ensure that international nursing students are educated in best practice infection control and prevention, are adequately supported and appropriately remunerated.

As more restrictions are put in place, and nurses remain on the frontline, the ANFS says the Government must send clear and consistent messages to the community in order to contain the rapid spread of the Coronavirus, and enable nurses to ease growing anxiety, confusion and concern about this public health emergency.

“ANMF members (nurses, midwives and carers) are working around the clock caring for their patients and protecting the community,” says Ms Sharp.

“Nurses working in primary care are reporting countless patients have numerous questions and concerns and virtually no knowledge about COVID-19 or how to protect themselves.

“Nurses are providing significant education and also advising the public to ensure they update their knowledge using the best resources.

“Widespread community education should have occurred weeks ago.”

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Nicole Madigan

Nicole Madigan is a widely published journalist with more than 15 years experience in the media and communications industries.

Specialising in health, business, property and finance, Nicole writes regularly for numerous high-profile newspapers, magazines and online publications.

Before moving into freelance writing almost a decade ago, Nicole was an on-air reporter with Channel Nine and a newspaper journalist with News Limited.

Nicole is also the Director of content and communications agency Stella Communications (www.stellacomms.com) and a children's author.