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International search to fill nursing shortfall

AT WA Business News’ recent Success and Leadership breakfast, Premier Geoff Gallop announced his intention to focus on more training for traditional fields of police, teachers, and nurses.

The announcement highlights the need in the community for more nursing staff but, until any significant inroads are made, recruitment agencies are spreading their net to attract international workers to fill the current void.

Select Appointments has recently established a nursing division in Perth.

Called nurseworldwide, it is headed by Pauline Kelly, who said the company’s global clout was suited to the current demand from nurses to have flexible careers.

“A lot of them are not staying in permanent jobs and they want flexibility rather than shift work,” Ms Kelly said.

She said a lot of nurses were travelling on visas, and Select Appointments’ contacts in London, Canada and New Zealand provided them with areas from which to attract quality candidates.

“The local market is drained at the moment and we are not producing enough nurses,” Ms Kelly said.

“We sell what WA has to offer, from the coastline to the experience of working in regional communities.

“A lot of people are taking short-term contracts and you can offer them things around the State.”

She said that more and more nurses were turning to nursing agencies and recruitment firms to gain better conditions.

“Nurses are looking for a more flexible lifestyle and they don’t want to commit to a hospital. They get an increased rate of pay and can often get out of night shifts and don’t have that commitment,” Ms Kelly said.

While nurseworldwide was a new player in the medical recruitment market, she said there was room for growth and did not rule out moving further into the allied health field.

“I can see Australia heading the same way as the UK. Agency nurses staff most hospitals in the UK,” Ms Kelly said.

“There are a multitude of agencies small and large. nurseworldwide originated from our Queensland nursing arm, Queenstate, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t go into allied health.”

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