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Newly graduated nurses and employment: A dynamic landscape

      Summary

      This paper reports the uptake of graduate transition programmes, postgraduate study, travel intentions, and employment for 318 Australian and New Zealand graduate nurse respondents in the years 2010–2013. Nurses graduating from The University of Queensland, Massey University and University of Auckland were recruited into the survey. They completed the questionnaire electronically early in their first year of practice through the graduate e-cohort platform at www.graduates.e-cohort.net. New Zealand respondents had considerably better initial nursing employment prospects with 87.7% (n = 179) employed as nurses at the time of completing first survey compared to 57.9% (n = 66) Australians. Most employed nurses remained in their home country (Australian 98.5%, n = 65; New Zealand 96.1%, n = 172). Proportionally more New Zealanders were completing a graduate transition programme (95%, n = 170) compared to 77% (n = 51) of Australian respondents. A greater proportion of New Zealand respondents were also undertaking postgraduate education (59.8%, n = 122) compared to 10.3% (n = 12) Australian respondents. The majority of respondents worked in acute care hospitals (Australian 84.8%, n = 56; New Zealand 66.5%, n = 119), half had full-time permanent contracts (52.5%, n = 128). The primary health care sector employed greater numbers of New Zealand graduates (New Zealand 13.4%, n = 24; Australia 4.5%, n = 3). These results highlight differences in the availability of new graduate programmes, employment positions and postgraduate education opportunities between the countries. Workforce policy creating dedicated graduate positions along with supported post-graduate education influences graduate employment opportunities.

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