NZNO's Blog

Every new grad nurse deserves the best start to their career


New grad bannerToday the New Zealand Nurses Organisation is launching a petition aimed at achieving a nurse entry to practice (NEtP) position for every new grad nurse.

New Zealand is facing a significant nursing shortage over the next decade. We need to begin growing a sustainable, home-grown and highly skilled nursing workforce if we are to maintain the high quality of nursing care we all deserve. We’re educating some of the nurses needed to fill that gap and we need to support them to gain experience and stay in New Zealand.

The nurse entry to practice programme is a structured support programme for newly graduated nurses. The programme provides each new graduate nurse with support and mentoring in their first year of practice.

The Minister of Health, Tony Ryall needs to fund a one year nurse entry to practice programme for 100% of new graduate nurses, now – it’s the only way to get the nursing workforce we want in years to come.

New Zealand is educating  nurses and then leaving large numbers of new graduates unable to find work in a clinical setting due to limited places on NEtP programmes and/or employers requiring them to “have experience” before they will employ them. In the latest ACE round 233 of the 645 applicants have jobs. That leaves 412 new graduate nurses without jobs. The risk is that some of these nurses will gain employment in unsupported environments where there are insufficient RNs to provide mentorship. And, sadly, some won’t get a nursing job at all. This is not just about employment it is about employment in a NEtP programme.

The issue of employment in the health sector for new graduate RNs and ENs needs urgent attention. NZNO supports the national nursing organisation’s (NNO) vision for “100% graduate employment by 2018 at the latest”(Report from the National Nursing Organisations to Health Workforce New Zealand, 2014).

Many new graduates approach NZNO seeking assistance with finding a NEtP position.

We’re asking Tony Ryall to come up with the funding.

And we’re asking you to sign and share the petition with your family and friends.

NZNO has 46,000 members and we’re hoping that every NZNO member and their family, whānau and friends will get behind this campaign!

Ma whero ma pango ka oti ai te mahi
If we all do our part we will reach our goal

You can find out more about the New Zealand Nurses Organisation campaign to support our new grads here:

37 thoughts on “Every new grad nurse deserves the best start to their career

  1. My daughter is one of those unfortunate new grads who can’t find a job

  2. Student nurse

  3. Im an enrolled nursing student and am worried on getting a job as there are not much enrolled nursing jobs in wellington!

  4. Lisa Winter student nurse

    New grad nurses are a vital component in the health service we need to be given
    an opportunity to be able to use the skills that we have gained to become fantastic
    nurses. Without support and help, new nurses will be lost to elsewhere and the
    Health service that we know will start to disappear.

  5. I have been in this situation and unfortunately missed out through ACE. It was daunting and psychologically stressful! Give all new grads a job and keep them in their chosen careers!

  6. My biggest fear is not that I will not get NETP (though I really really want to make it into the programme!), but that any work I am able find will be unsupportive, unsafe, and force me into a role as a new grad that may put me outside my scope rather than just outside my comfort zone.

  7. NETP should be available to ALL nursing new grads (including international students). I recently got my residency and am disappointed to find out that I don’t qualify for NETP as I’m not a permanent resident/citizen. Considering how much work and money I’ve loaded into the degree it seems only fair that at least international students/residents get the option of applying through NETP (even if they do get lowered priority).

    • Hi Laura- this seems like important info you should have been made aware of from the start. I feel for you and am sure you have worked hard this far – but at the same time NZ citizens are struggling to get a position also. There should be a priorty as you will find is the case in most countries. That priority will be citizens first and migrants second

  8. I fully agree. Net-P is a great idea and every grad should be given the opportunity.

  9. I support the Net-P idea

  10. Unfortunately I am one of those unlucky nurses who never got the chance to participate in the NetP programme and been left in the dark not knowing what to do next.
    A well earned degree with nothing to show for.
    This is appalling NZ and more and more international nurses are getting hired while your new graduates struggles trying to find a nursing job.

  11. Im a nurse of 11 years. There should be some competition with places in the new grad programmes but even 11 years ago there were 200 applicants for just 24 places. I am lucky to have been placed. 12 years later it is difficult to get a job as there are not many nursing jobs advertised. There seems to be no shortage. Sadly our laws dont exclude migrant nurses having to wait to get a position only if a NZ citizen can not fill it like other countries do. Migrant nurses enrich the nursing world dont get me wrong- however the reality is there are no jobs out there for NZ citizens to apply for. From new grad to senior positions the jobs are few and far between. Given that and the fact nurses are poorly paid in NZ it is no wonder nurses look overseas. Nurses have to support themselves somehow!!!!

  12. What about the older experienced nurses? I see these ones are treated poorly and made to work in the likes of call centres or practices where they’re expected to work like entry level corporate plebs. Not on!!!

    • Anon- senior nurses in a call centre is a good thing. I have done this and nurses are well supported and the work is varied and challenging. You can’t do this work as a junior nurse as you need the knowledge and experience of acute nursing. The pay is comparable also with the MECA

      • Hi Supercarli,
        They’re not supported – high turnover of staff. The pay is not worth the grief. It doesn’t matter if they’re in a call centre or working in a practise, they’re treated like scum. I agree it’s a great thing but not at the risk of GPs and managers dumping on them repeatedly. They deserve to receive the respect of years of putting up with people and DHBs.

  13. I was one of the fortunate few who obtained a NETP position last year, and although full-time shift work, post-graduate study and learning to be an RN all at once was stressful, I guarantee I was nowhere near as stressed as those who did not get jobs. I didn’t learn how to be a nurse as an undergraduate. I learned on NETP. The problem is two-pronged. Yes, more NETP places need to be created. But until they are, the money hungry educational institutions need to stop training so many nurses! There were so many in my intake that we couldn’t all fit in the lecture theatres! People were sitting in the aisles; it was ridiculous and a fire hazard. High numbers also meant more difficulty in securing quality clinical placements for all students. There were people placed in the transit lounge in my class, ie where patients go after discharge while they are waiting to be picked up! At this same time as a friend of mine was in transit lounge making cups of tea, I was on the surgical ward where I ultimately gained my NETP position. I truly believe it was luck of the draw. I got my job because I was a familiar name in a huge pile of identical new-grad CVs. Food for thought.

    • The over training of new nurses is a problem. When I trained 11 years ago it was hard to get placements then. But all were in the hospital wards. Not in clics or transit lounge but real wards with acute pts. No one missed out on acute nursing. Nursing Council needs to regulate class size or something so we are not left with new grads with no job prospects at the end of 3 years

    • What school did this take place at? I can’t believe you knew students who were placed in the transit lounge for placement! That’s not where the training registered nurse should be placed in order to gain knowledge.

  14. I really hope to get a netp position but pretty hard when so many graduating and very few spots available – shocking situation!

  15. I think in addition to signing this petition, universities should also limit the number of nursing students they allow to enroll when they know full well that new grad programmes are limited.

  16. We need a promise from Ministry of Health that we will all be gainfully employed after 3 hard years of studying and financial hardship for the long term benefit of our families, community and country

  17. what is NETP?

  18. I have a friend who is one of those unfortunate Grads.

  19. I have serious concerns about the lack of opportunities for New Grads, the watering down of the NZ trained nursing work force with immigrant nurses. These immigrant nurses bring skills and diversity however with and aging NZ trained workforce we need to develop from within NZ. This is just one faction of a larger immigration and housing issue that NZ is facing. I have contacted a few MPs and have yet to receive a satisfactory reply as to the development of the NZ Nursing workforce

  20. My daughter will be looking next year after her training, and we support this all the way.

  21. Student nurse studying to be a RN, lack of job opportunities means i plan to go overseas, it’s too unstable in NZ, unfortunate since it would be nice to give something back to the country you studied and grew up in

  22. I’m a student nurse who was hoping to get a NetP position when I graduate. I’m very disappointed that I’m not eligible to apply for NetP through ACE as I don’t have a permanent residency. In order for me to gain permanent residency, I need a job offer as a nurse, but I cannot even apply for DHB related jobs without permanent residency. I understand that the permanent residents and citizens comes priority, but I’m saddened that international students are not allowed to apply even though we have work visa after our study. I really don’t know what to do if my post-study work visa expires before I find any nursing jobs…I wouldn’t want to think that all my time, effort and tuition fees (about 6 times more expensive than domestic students) could go down the drain. I really want to stay in NZ and raise my daughter in this beautiful country. Having said that, I support this petition all the way and wish all the best for my peers as they deserve the supports.

    • Hi Ella, do you have a Kiwi partner? I applied for residency via partnership and now I’m a resident after three years of being a foreign student. You do have to collect a lot of evidence but Immigration was generally quite fast with their processing.

      • Hi Laura, thank you for your reply. I didn’t mention in the post, but I’m married and my husband is not a Kiwi. So, unfortunately I cannot apply residency via partnership, but it’s good to hear that Immigration was generally quite fat with the processing.

  23. The country needs all the nurses it can get.

  24. It is just shocking that the NEtP even exisits. DHB are funded by state funds and as such should be responsible for nurturing and growing our work force. A proper in-service training programme can achieve as much as a NEtP programme with a much better outcome for many more graduates. It would just take a bit of thinking outside the box and redeployment of the existing training corps. This can be done immediatley with some creative thinking. I wonder what would be the most valuable – a new grad with 6 placements completed in NZ and who can communicate with patients, or a overseas qualified nurse with 2 years experience whose government bothered to employ them, giving them the opportunity to have a career in NZ even though we do not know anything about their level of practice apart form what they and their (sometimes questionable) referees tell us? It is not only unfair to patients in stressful situations to strugle with understandfing their nurse, its also placing these nurses at risk. I recently had the wrong test performed on me. I am sure a new grad would have been able to read the GP instructions and perform the right tests.
    If not every new grad can get a NEtP place, DHB must be instructed to drop the 2 year experience requirement for employment in teaching hospitals

  25. Lots of good points raised here-.
    New graduates may have had 6 placements in NZ but this does not guarantee that they can communicate with patients, or the quality of the placements they have experienced. We have had third year students on their first inpatient placement who appear to lack the basic skills in communication. We have referred issues with students back to their education providers and seen no resolution- is it about quantity or quality? How much hands-on patient interactions time is there in those 6 placements?
    Overseas nurses can bring a variety of skills and experience to a team. NZ does need to grow its own nursing workforce but not at the exclusion of overseas trained staff. The positions taken by overseas staff are not the same NETP positions that would be offered to new graduates.
    Consideration also needs to be given to the existing nurses who are required to support and preceptor new graduate nurses- with no reduction in their workload. We are given no choice about the number of nursing students or new graduates that are working in our areas at one time. With students on three or four week placements the turnover and paperwork requirements are huge. We can often be looking after a couple of students and/ or new graduates every shift. We appreciate the need to mentor and work with new staff- but in an already busy environment this can add extra pressure- especially if the student or new graduate requires extra input or supervision. With so few hours in actual hands on placements sometimes it can be like training new graduates from scratch – do I really get time to do that effectively or do I just pay lip service to the process?

    Why cant the education providers turn out nurses that are equipped with the skills to be a nurse?

    I trained over 20 years ago and did not have the guarantee of a job.
    No other degree based profession guarantees positions for all of its graduates- why should nursing be different?
    And once those nurses finish their NETP programme will they then be demanding guaranteed jobs?

  26. I agree with the last post. I have been nursing for 16 years and I do agree with providing netp position for each new grad but a lot of thought does need to be given to our current workloads and staffing levels. Having nursing students and new grads does take up a lot of time and the paperwork is huge, when nurses are often struggling with their own work load, and stressed to tears some days. I do not think it is fair on our nursing grads unless more support is given to Registered Nurses already working on the floor. Lack of netp positions has been going on for a long time… When I graduated in 1998 I could not get a new grad job in NZ so I went to Sydney and spent several years overseas

  27. New Grad –
    I was very lucky to have been successful in my NETP application and I currently have a job as a new grad in Auckland. It is disheartening that those you studied with and helped you get to where you are (as my class were very close) are without jobs! I hope that everyone is able to get a job! That would be awesome – plus it’s not like those three years of study are easy so a job should be almost guaranteed.

  28. Just letting out my frustration –
    I am a recent new grad who didn’t gain a NETP position. It is so disheartening to not even be given an opportunity to be a nurse after all those years study, money and hard work. I know I have the potential to be a great nurse! I’m not so sure I like the ACE process it just feels like you have one shot at NETP (especially when you only had one interview) and then you’re out until mid way through the year. I have recently gained my Australian Registration and am looking over there as I saw a lot oft new grad opportunities on SEEK but I guess that’s what you get in a bigger country.

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