Nursing students are only one solution in responding to COVID-19 pandemic

18 March 2020

 The country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) says the Federal Government must commit to employing nursing graduates who have not yet secured permanent graduate positions and nurses who are underemployed. Engaging international nursing students is only one part of the solution. In health workforce preparedness to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the public need and deserve the protection of fully-qualified and trained staff.

The ANMF says the Government must:

  • Commit to engaging 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, we must 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.

Quotes attributable to ANMF Acting Federal Secretary, Lori-Anne Sharp:

“As frontline workers, nurses, midwives and carers understand how the rapid spread of COVID-19 is placing enormous strain on the health and aged care systems right now and in the months to come. Engaging international students should only be one part of the solution. 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, the Government should genuinely give them 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.
ANMF media release authorised by Lori-Anne Sharp, ANMF Acting Federal Secretary. 1/365 Queen St, Melbourne.   

The ANMF, with over 280,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.

ANMF media inquiries: Richard Lenarduzzi 0411 254 390

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