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DEMOGRAPHICS ON THE EMPLOYMENT OF NURSES AND MIDWIVES.

The latest nursing and midwifery workforce data is sourced from the National Health Workforce Dataset (NHWDS) 2016 published by the Australian Government Department of Health. (4)

According to the NHWDS, in 2016 there were a total of 369,940 nurses registered in Australia. 364,632 nurses were registered to practice and of these, 310,364 (83.9%) were registered nurses, midwives and dual registrants and 59,576 (16.1%) were enrolled nurses. (5)

Not all nurse and midwife registrants are in the nursing workforce. In 2016 there were a total of 340,257 nurses and midwives in the workforce. This number includes those employed; those on extended leave; those employed outside the profession and looking for work in nursing or midwifery and those not employed and looking for work in nursing or midwifery.

91.4% of registered nurses/midwives/dual registrants and 94.8% of enrolled nurses are in the nursing workforce. Of these, 92.6% were employed in nursing; 4.6% were on extended leave and 2.8% were looking for work in nursing. Of those nurses not in the nursing workforce, 26.6% were not employed and not looking for nursing work; 23.7% were working elsewhere and not looking for work in nursing; 23.1% were employed overseas in nursing and not looking for work in Australia; 12.3% were employed overseas in nursing and looking for work in Australia and 14.2% were retired. (6)

The 2016 data shows that the largest proportion of nurses and midwives were employed in clinical practice (91.5%). Of these, 26.6% were employed in the clinical practice areas of medical and surgical nursing; 15.8% were employed in aged care; 12.7% in critical care emergency; 8.8% in operating theatres; 5.5% in community health; 7.4% in mental health and 4.6% in general and medical practice nursing.

Overall, 30,333 nurses were authorised as midwives. Of these, 4009 were registered midwives only.

Approximately 61.5% of employed nurses and midwives work in public and private acute hospitals; 12.8% in residential health care facilities; 7.4% in community health care services; 6% in private practice including GP practice and the rest in other nursing areas including government departments, schools, universities, industry, defence force facilities, and correctional services.

About 72.2% of all employed nurses work in major cities; 25.8% in inner/outer regional areas and 2.0% in remote/very remote areas. "Remote" areas had the highest supply of employed nurses, with 1193.6 full time equivalent nurses per 100,000 population. "Outer regional" had the lowest supply at 1,076.9 full time equivalent nurses per 100,000 population.

It was estimated in 2016 that there were 108,126 unlicensed nursing and personal care assistants employed in the residential aged care sector to assist nurses in the provision of nursing care. Around 80.3 % are employed part time, 8.9% full time and 10.8% casual. (7)

The overall supply of employed nurses and midwives in 2016 was 1,138 FTE per 100,000 population, the same as in 2015, however below the 2013 average of 1156.3 FTE per 100,000 population.

Average hours worked by all nurses and midwives was 33.4 hours per week compared to 33.5 hours in 2015. Average hours worked by RNs was 32.7 hours per week, down slightly from 32.8 in 2015. For Enrolled nurses average hours worked remained the same at 31.7 per week, similarly for midwives with average hours of 21.9 hours per week.

In 2016, the average age for all nurses and midwives was 44.3; for registered nurses 43.9; midwives 47.8 and for enrolled nurses it was 46.1 years. Fifty percent of the nursing workforce is aged 45 years and over with 25% aged 55 years and over.

These figures have implications for nursing education and for workforce planning as over 50% of nurses will be contemplating retirement within the next 10-15 years and it is likely they will be those with the most experience and with specialist qualifications or expertise.

There has been little change overtime in the number of males employed in nursing, with males comprising 10.9% of the total national nursing workforce in 2016 (up from 8.4% in 2001).

Patient separations in acute public hospitals have remained relatively stable. The latest figures show that there were 44.7 patient separations per full time equivalent nurse in 2016-2017. (8) This is similar to the previous year which was 44.8 separations per full time equivalent nurse.

In 2016, almost half (49%) of employed nurses and midwives worked less than 35 hours per week. Approximately 59% of enrolled nurses worked less than 35 hours per week compared with 47% of registered nurses and midwives.

There has been an increase in the number of people completing undergraduate nursing courses each year between 2002 and 2016. (9) However, while the figures are improving this increase is not considered sufficient to meet the demand for nurses now or in the future. The NHWDS reports that in 2016, there were 0.9 new registrants for every nurse and midwife that did not renew their registration from 2015.

Health Workforce Australia's (HWA) 2014 Report provides updated workforce projections for the nursing workforce based on alternative scenarios using different assumptions. Projections based on a "do nothing" approach shows a current shortage of 11,451 registered and enrolled nurses and midwives, growing to 122,846 by 2030. Applying a "constrained labour demand" scenario, the figures show a current shortfall of 8,169, growing to 93,900 in 2030. (10)

The 2016 Higher Education statistics for domestic students show there were 11,030 nursing graduates, a 12.6% increase on the previous year (2015). (11)

Over the last few years the improvement in the numbers of nursing graduates has been somewhat negated by the lack of employment opportunities for new graduates. However, governments in some states have recently committed to increasing the number of graduate employment opportunities in the public hospital system. The ANMF is currently monitoring the impact of these changes.

There are insufficient university places for those eligible people wishing to undertake a nursing course. Figures from the Department of Education and Training show that in 2017 applications outstripped offers by approximately 9,600 with 73% of applicants receiving an offer. (13)

Extracted from Table 6: Applicants by field of education 2016 and 2017

Table 30: Applicants, applicants receiving offers and offer rates, Nursing 2010-2017

NB: Comparison with figures prior to 2009 is not possible due to the introduction of the "demand driven system" intended to provide access to more university places. Previously figures were based on "eligible applicants" which excluded applicants below an

(4) http://data.hwa.gov.au/ (The Health Department took over this function from the AIHW in 2016)

(5) NHWDS Ibid

(6) For purpose of Table 1, the 2016 figure for RN includes nurses with the dual registrations of RN & EN, RN & midwife, EN & midwife, RN, EN & midwife. The number for EN is those registered as EN only.

(7) Mavromaras K, Knight G, Isherwood L, etal 2017. The Aged Care Workforce 2016.

(8) Hospital Resources 2015-16: Australian Hospital Statistics, Table 5.1, page 60 and Table D2 p.79. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/hospitals/ahs-2016-17-hospital-resources/data

(9) https://www.education.gov.au/higher-education-statistics

(10) Health Workforce Australia 2014: Australia's Future Health Workforce--Nurses Overview, page 16.

(11) https://www.education.gov.au/higher-education-statistics

(12) https://www.education.gov.au/ucube-higher-education-data-cube

(13) https://www.education.gov.au/undergraduate-applications-offers-and-acceptances-publications
Table 1 Registered nurse, midwife and enrolled nurse workforce
Australia 1993-2016

YEAR    RN      EN

1993  175 392  57 211
1994  184 761  57 466
1995  178 996  52 167
1996  180 454  50 065
1997  183 060  48 832
1999  186 294  47 688
2001  189 674  46 888
2003  196 091  49 440
2004  202,994  50,598
2005  206,873  48,083
2007  223,313  53,984
2008  230,192  52,895
2009  236,305  54,941
2011  247,502  55,508
2012  255,549  55,627
2013  262,730  55,258
2014  268,242  55,469
2015  275,235  55,780
2016  283,784  56,473

Source: AIHW Nursing Labour Force 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006,
2008-2016, NHWDS 2017

Table 2 Nursing and Midwifery Workforce 1993-2016

Year          1993       1994       1995       1996       1997

In workforce  232,603    242,225    231,163    230,519    231,892
Not in         38,117     26,745     27,996     25,085     23,659
Workforce
% of RNs &         14.1        9.9       10.8        9.8        9.3
ENs not in
workforce

Year          1999       2001       2003       2004       2005

In workforce  233,982    236,562    245,531    253,592    254,956
Not in         22,956     23,513     27,846     29,110     30,663
Workforce
% of RNs &          8.9        9.0       10.2       10.3       10.7
ENs not in
workforce

Year          2007       2008       2009       2011       2012

In Workforce  277,297    283,087    291,246    303,010        311.176
Not in         28,538     29,649     29,735     23,659     22,902
Workforce
% of RNs &          9.3        9.5        9.3        7.2        6.9
ENs not in
workforce

Year          2013       2014       2015        2016

In Workforce  317,988    323,711    331,015     340,257
Not in         26,202     29,127     28,993      29,683
Workforce
% of RNs &          7.6        8.3        8.05        8.02
ENs not in
workforce

Table 3 Undergraduate Course Completions 2001-2016 (Domestic)

Year         2001  2002  2003  2004  2005  2006  2007  2008

Completions  5074  5269  5280  5620  5628  6088  6661  7178

Year         2009  2010  2011  2012  2013  2014  2015  2016

Completions  7249  7443  7903  8425  9012  9591  9794  11,030

Table 4 Undergraduate applications, offers and acceptances 2010-2017

Year             2010    2011    2012    2013    2014    2015    2016

Applications     24,185  24,230  24,603  24,999  27,537  30,886  34,706
Offers           17,579  17,796  18,859  19,750  21,001  24,130  26,788
(*) Acceptances  13,285  13,284  14,494  14,759  16,387  19,105  21,190

Year             2017

Applications     35,872
Offers           26,247
(*) Acceptances  20,547

(*) Acceptances exclude deferrals
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Publication:Nurses' Paycheck
Article Type:Statistical data
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jun 1, 2018
Words:1694
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