Grad­u­ate dis­heart­ened by lack of nurs­ing jobs on of­fer

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By KATASHA McCULLOUGH

Nurs­ing grad­u­ate Me­gan Lyell feels ‘‘ripped off’’ af­ter fail­ing to find a job.

The 23-year-old has been liv­ing at home since grad­u­at­ing in Novem­ber.

She gets ‘‘lit­er­ally three to five re­jec­tion emails a day’’ and is con­sid­er­ing mov­ing to Aus­tralia or be­com­ing a nanny in­stead.

Me­gan works one shift a fort­night as a nurse at a rest home but doesn’t earn enough to start pay­ing off her $40,000 stu­dent loan.

She loved ev­ery­thing about the bach­e­lor of nurs­ing de­gree she stud­ied for at Unitec, jug­gling place­ments, as­sign­ments and ex­ams.

‘‘I pretty much didn’t have a life for three years,’’ she says.

All stu­dents ap­ply through the Ad­vanced Choice of Place­ment (ACE) scheme to se­cure a reg­is­tered nurse po­si­tion in a Nurse En­try to Prac­tice (NETP) pro­gramme.

Me­gan had two in­ter­views through ACE but was un­suc­cess­ful.

She says the stu­dents were never told NETP had limited en­try.

‘‘We thought ‘ we’re gonna get a job be­cause there’s a short­age, it’s pretty much granted, hos­pi­tals are al­ways short-staffed’.’’

Me­gan has since ap­plied for 30 to 40 jobs on her own and had seven in­ter­views, but the jobs al­ways went to more ex­pe­ri­enced nurses.

Nurs­ing Coun­cil records show 1329 new nurses were reg­is­tered in De­cem­ber 2013 but only 750 of them have iden­ti­fied a work ad­dress.

Me­gan spends her time vol­un­teer­ing for hospice, Plun­ket and the Heart Foun­da­tion so she can feel like she is help­ing and be­ing pro­duc­tive.

‘‘You kind of feel ripped off. I thought I would fin­ish my de­gree and get a job and my life would be com­plete.’’

Me­gan has set up a Face­book page for un­suc­cess­ful ACE ap­pli­cants which has at­tracted more than 100 likes.

She has writ­ten to her lo­cal MP, the Nurs­ing Coun­cil, Min­is­ter of Health Tony Ryall, Chief Nurse Jane O’Mal­ley and the New Zealand Nurs­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion and is en­cour­ag­ing oth­ers to do the same.

Me­gan says her fel­low grad­u­ates are fright­ened to speak up.

‘‘I guess people are wary com­plain­ing as such.

‘‘They don’t want to rock the boat if they’re look­ing for a job. But I don’t have a job so I might as well find out why,’’she says.

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Tough time:

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