NETP programme needs to work better.
Subject: Health boards (Officials and employees)
Nursing education (Management)
Pub Date: 02/01/2012
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: Feb, 2012 Source Volume: 18 Source Issue: 1
Topic: Event Code: 540 Executive changes & profiles; 200 Management dynamics Computer Subject: Company business management
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 282425926
Full Text: Of the 1100 registered nurse (RN) students who sat their State final examinations last November, 1068 passed. By late last November, 696 (64 per cent) had been offered employment, according to an informal survey conducted by Nurse Educators in the Tertiary Sector (NETS). Of these, 579 (83 per cent) had gained places on the nurse-entry-to-practice (NETP) programme. Numbers of funded NETP places available this year are 1013, an increase of 93 from last year. In addition, there are 159 funded nurse-entry-to-specialty practice (ie mental health) places.

Not all new graduates have been successful in gaining a place. Success is dependent on a number of factors, including the numbers of places available at each district health board (DHB) and whether graduates are able to shift in order to take up a position. Also, some schools have two intakes a year, meaning some students wanting NETP places are graduating in July.

"The 1013 NETP-funded places are for the whole year," explained Nursing Council chief executive Carolyn Reed. "Also, some DHBs may not have the capacity to provide more placements."

In some areas, new graduates have struggled to gain places on a NETP programme. At UCOL, about 50 per cent of the 105 students graduating from its programmes in Palmerston North, Whanganui and Wairarapa had gained places by last November. A UCOL student, Emilie Kitchin, who failed to gain a place, has said the experience of being a new graduate, which she had so looked forward to throughout her studies, had left her feeling bitterly disappointed. "We have been left up the creek without a paddle, and deeply disappointed by a profession that promised so much throughout our training," she wrote in a letter to Health Minister Tony Ryall, the Nursing Council and NZNO (see 'A new graduate's plea', p3).

Around 50 per cent of new graduates from Unitec had also been offered places, fewer than the previous year. This was due to improved student retention rates, according to head of Unitec's nursing school, Sue Gasquoine.

At Canterbury DHB, 60 new graduates were on a NETP programme (ten more than last year), with 82 of the 88 students who sat state finals having jobs by last November. At Waikato DHB, just under 200 new graduates applied to join the NETP programme. However, only 74 gained a position. "The problem is there are more students than places available. I suspect some new graduates are being forced to go to Australia," said NETP co-ordinator Lesley Macdonald. The DHB sometimes has a small intake mid year, though at this stage, it was not clear whether this would go ahead.

At Nelson Marlborough DHB, 27 new graduates were on the NETP programme, a small increase on the previous year. Nurse consultant Sandy Matheson said the DHB had about treble the number of applications as places available. "Processing this number is hugely time-consuming and demoralising for the large numbers of excellent new graduates we have to turn away," she said. "It seems we have a two-tiered system running at the moment. This works extremely well for those who gain a NETP place, where they receive wonderful support, but it's devastating for those who miss out. Those who are more mobile benefit from the current system; those who can't move can have their nursing careers badly affected."

According to Ministry of Health chief nurse Jane O'Malley, the sector is working hard to come up with a system that will work well for DHBs and the new graduates. Ideally, she would like to see a nationally co-ordinated process for placing graduate nurses across the 20 DHBs. Such a system would aim to solve the issue of graduates making applications to multiple DHBs for a NETP place. More details about this proposal are expected to be released later this month, following wide consultation.

Further information about new graduates' employment status will be available in March, following a more formal NETS survey.
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