Shortland Street is not going to fix the nurse shortage crisis

Shortland Street is not going to fix the nurse shortage crisis

New Zealand Review Editorial: New Zealand Review report, Health Minister Andrew Little has announced the government is teaming up with a popular New Zealand hospital drama, Shortland Street, to recruit nurses in real life.

I do not think Shortland Street is going to fix the nurse shortage crisis. One of my friends is a good nurse who works in Christchurch for a long time. She told us she decided to leave Christchurch and go to work in Australia or move to the UK. She already quit her job and arranged work plans in Australia and UK. She is not the only one who does that.

Why not focus to keep the current nurses instead? No matter how many new nurses you recruited, if you cannot keep them, that would be a problem in the future.

You need to compete with Australia, the UK, and Canada in nurse recruitment.

Since Covid Pandemic, nurses are very needed in many countries. If Australia, the UK, and Canada give more attractive working environments or salaries, domestic nurse recruitment might face fierce competition. The nurses can be free transferred from these three countries.

Employers always want to treat the new nurse well while ignoring the needs of nurses who have been working for a while. Because they assume current nurses stay because they like the job. Sometimes, that is not the situation. There has no channel to reflect their needs. It looks easy to hire a new nurse rather than keep the current nurse. But the experience and skills for training new nurses will cause more in the long term.

Good doctors and good nurses, the government needs to provide a better working environment for nurses in New Zeland

We have heard a few cases in that nurses are not treated well in the hospital by doctors. They cannot have their own options regarding the decision on medical treatment. We know that nurses spend a long time looking after patients. So if they can see something is not right, it should be easy to give feedback to doctors. It seems not the case in New Zealand.

If the government wants to keep the current nurses, they need to provide a good working environment for nurses. Especially training doctors to care about the nurses. This is the inner change that needs to do to keep good nurses. If you do not do that, they are going to want to change their jobs as nurses are in strong need in the future.

The door to recruit overseas is opened, but not fully opened

New Zealand government only allows to recruit nurses from a few countries, most of them are recognized as UK standards medical system. The nurse’s training on another side of this medical system is not recognized. So even if nurses from those countries want to be nurses in New Zealand, the journey would be really difficult.

If the aging population continues, the government might need to rethink this. They might need to broaden the recruitment countries and have a standard regarding nurses.

I do not think the public relations events for nurse recruitment are going to change the fundamentals. Keeping the nurses in New Zealand is the better way to do or it will end up in a situation that spends lots of money on training new nurses, but current nurses are going overseas.

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