11 February 2023

As nation faces health workforce shortfall, Riverina partnership plans to help grow nurse numbers

| Albert McKnight
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TAFE NSW nursing lead Zachary Byfield said a partnership with Ramsay Health was already helping build the local nursing workforce. Photo: Supplied.

While a concerning skills gap is looming in the country’s health workforce, a landmark partnership in the Riverina plans on helping to build the number of the region’s nurses.

TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga formed the partnership with Australia’s largest private hospital operator, Ramsay Health Care, at a time when the Health Department has predicted a shortfall of about 85,000 nurses nationwide by 2025.

The recently-launched Ramsay Cadetship Program will support enrolled nursing students by giving Diploma of Nursing students in Wagga Wagga guaranteed work placement, the opportunity for employment while studying and a guaranteed interview for a position at a local Ramsay hospital after graduating.

TAFE NSW nursing discipline leader Zachary Byfield said the partnership provided a powerful example of how Australia’s largest vocational education and training provider worked closely with industry to address critical workforce needs.

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“The pandemic has reinforced the vital role our nurses play in our communities and TAFE NSW is committed to ensuring a steady pipeline of nursing graduates across the state,” he said.

“This partnership ensures TAFE NSW nursing students become part of the Ramsay workforce while still studying and gives them a practical experience of their course material.”

The partnership also ensures TAFE’s Wagga Wagga students are given a mentor during work placement and work across a number of wards and departments, affording them a deeper understanding of Ramsay’s culture, policies and practices.

As well as a job within a Ramsay hospital while they study, cadets receive a guaranteed graduate interview when they finish their course.

Positions on offer for cadets in NSW include assistants in nursing, undergraduate enrolled nurse, registered nurse and midwifery roles in a range of areas including operating suites, maternity, mental health, cardiac and rehabilitation services.

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Ramsay Health Care chief nurse and clinical services director Dr Bernadette Eather said the national cadetship program would help to develop leading nurses of the future.

“Ramsay Health Care has a wonderful relationship with TAFE NSW and we’re excited to take this a step further by offering cadetship places to TAFE NSW Diploma of Nursing students,” she said.

“The cadets will gain valuable experience and genuine insight into what it’s like working in the healthcare industry as a nurse.”

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