Statistic of the Week: Shortage of Nurses in Australia

By David Webb|February 3, 2016|Australian EducationAustralian Education,Nursing|29 comments

According to the Australian Government’s (2012) Health Workforce 2025 report, a significant shortage of nurses in Australia has been predicted. The shortage of doctors projected was much smaller, at only 2700. In fact the report projected a shortfall of 109,000 nurses by 2025. One of the key findings was that Australia’s healthcare sector would “…continue to remain highly dependent on migration of international health professionals”.

Training and educating more nurses in Australia

What can be done to address the shortage of nurses in Australia? The obvious solunurses in Australiation is of course to train and educate more new nurses, so there are opportunities for both local and overseas students to enrol in programs leading to AHPRA registration, such as Diploma of Nursing courses and bachelors’ degrees. However, huge influxes of new nurses without there being sufficient experienced nurses to take on important mentoring roles could reduce quality of care. So what is being done to help keep maintain a significant proportion of experienced, expert nurses in the workforce?

Overcoming the experience gap

Currently, programs such as the Initial Registration of Overseas Nurses (IRON) program, also known as overseas nurse bridging programs or Entry to Practice for Overseas Qualified Registered Nurses (EPIQ-RN) programs, offer overseas qualified nurse the opportunity to have their qualifications recognised in Australia and obtain registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

There are also programs that help people who have previously bee

n registered nurses return to practice, known as Registered Nurse Re-Entry to Practice (RNRP) programs. These programs refresh the nurses’ knowledge of theory and assess their nursing skills in a clinical setting to ensure their success and the safety of their patients. There are also refresher programs to help nurses who are between jobs maintain their clinical and theoretical currency and stay registered.

Why does all this matter?

It matters because nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system. They are the ones who provide the constant care of patients, monitor and pick up on changes in their condition, save lives and provide comfort and care. Their work is highly skilled, both at a degree qualified Registered Nurse level and at a Diploma qualified Enrolled Nurse level. As a popular Australian bumper sticker reads, “Nurses: You can’t live without them”.

29 thoughts on “Statistic of the Week: Shortage of Nurses in Australia

    1. David Webb Post author

      Thank you for your question. We do have an office in the Philipines. Here are the contact details:

      Health Careers International Pty Ltd Trading, Unit 2903B, 29/F West Tower, Philippine Stock Exchange Building, Exchange Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
      Zip Code : 1605
      Phone: 0063 2696 4311

  1. egmx

    How can there be a shortage when there are literally hundreds of new grads who can’t get jobs, job freezing in WA so no new nurse had a chance, and all RN jobs going to EN’s? It is a load of shit – I spent 4 years getting a degree to finish and be totally unemployed

  2. Sofia Mwadzaya

    Where do I start?Am Tanzanian,with a diploma in Nursing and Midwifery.Currently in my second year Bsc.Nursing course.Interested in working in Australia.

    1. David Webb Post author

      Dear Sofia,

      There are several options for you. Once you have completed your Bsc. Nursing, you could apply for the Initial Registration of Overseas Nurses (IRON) program, which is how you become a Registered Nurse here.

      If you don’t want to wait, you could come right now and study to be an Enrolled Nurse here by enrolling in the Diploma of Nursing and coming on a student visa. If you provide the right kinds of evidence you may be able to apply for some credit toward the Diploma of Nursing through a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL), but you would still need to study most of the course. Some students fund their study by working while they are here and to help with that you could do a quick aged care or disability care certificate before you start. We can help with that.

      Thank you for your question. I hope to see you soon on campus 🙂

      Best regards,


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    1. David Webb Post author

      Hi Ms Cleef! That’s an astute observation to be sure. Which of the Nurses in the image were you describing may I ask? I assume you mean second from the left in the middle row. Her mortarboard hat is very becoming of her and she looks very professional.

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    1. David Webb Post author

      All the courses we offer are CRICOS approved, so you can come and study as an overseas student from there. We also have online courses. Is that what you are asking?

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