New nurses for Wagga Base

WAGGA NURSE: Registered nurse Skye Cameron was one of the 2011 nursing graduates at Wagga Base Hospital. She will be heading to Wollongong next.   Picture: Oscar Colman
WAGGA NURSE: Registered nurse Skye Cameron was one of the 2011 nursing graduates at Wagga Base Hospital. She will be heading to Wollongong next. Picture: Oscar Colman

WAGGA Base Hospital nursing shortages will be eased with the addition of 22 new nursing graduates but some are questioning whether it will be enough.

The amount is equal to last year’s intake and of that number 87.5 per cent of nurses have decided to stay at the hospital.

Acting department director of nursing and midwifery Keryl Dallinger said retaining a high number of graduate nurses was very important.

“I think it shows that we have a good program,” she said.

Ms Dallinger also highlighted that the new hospital development would be significant in helping attract more nurses to the area.

“The issue is multifaceted –a lot of people don’t realise what services are past the Great Dividing Range,” she said as to why more nurses didn’t work in Wagga.

The new graduates will help ease shortages according to acting assistant general secretary of the NSW Nurse’s Association Lisa Kremmer.

She said time would tell whether it would be enough though. “You can’t employ that amount of nurses without it having a significant impact,” she said.

“The cautionary note is we hope the minister for health made sure there was sufficient support in place for these nurses.”

Of the 22 new nurses, 16 are from Charles Sturt University’s bachelor of nursing class where there were 48 students graduating in Wagga.

Another seven of those graduates will be heading to Calvary Hospital.

This time last year nurses had closed one in four beds across the state as part of an industrial action to try to convince the state government to bring in a staffing ratio of one to four patients.

Nursing hours ratios are now embedded in the Public Health System Award which has improved staffing issues, although Ms Kremmer noted there was still scope for improvement.