One-third of nurses to retire in 10 years

ALMOST one-third of nurses employed by the North Coast Area Health Service will retire between 2011 and 2016.

The average age of nurses employed by the service is 48, with 17 per cent under 35 and 29.2 per cent over 50.

Both Coffs Harbour Health Campus manager, Margaret Bennett, and the executive officer for Dorrigo and Bellingen hospitals, Vince Carroll, have been active in programs to attract, train and retain nurses.

There are now close working links to both Southern Cross University and the University of New England to provide the practical component of their undergraduate nursing course.

Coffs Harbour Health Campus takes the highest number of new graduate registered nurses of all the hospitals in the North Coast Area Health Service.

There are currently 16 new graduates who have placements in Bellingen and Dorrigo.

NCAHS spokesman Robin Osborne said an additional new graduate position next year would be added next year.

"The new graduate nurses then apply for vacant positions at the end of their year's contract we have found this to be an effective recruitment and retention strategy," he said.

"In addition we run with five trainee positions for enrolled nurses."

The service offers the Nursing Career Break Scheme, where nurses can apply to bank 25 per cent of their salary for four years and then take one year off on pay and more than 30 per cent of nurses have taken up the option of working part-time.



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