NZNO's Blog

Succession planning

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passing the baton (1)Succession planning is a big part of solving our looming nursing workforce crisis. We already know there are many strands to consider when planning for a sustainable, home-grown and highly skilled nursing workforce.

At the moment we have, at one end of the spectrum, great newly graduated nurses, who are motivated, want to give something back to society but who are unable to find jobs. And for the new grads lucky enough to get a job, some of those positions are not suitable for a new grad unless there are appropriate supports in place, and they shouldn’t be forced to take them. For example, sole charge residential aged care roles, with no support or mentoring/preceptoring available – a pretty scary proposition for a first time RN.

At the other end of the nursing spectrum there are thousands of skilled, experienced nurses who have had long and varied careers who would love to be able to pass their knowledge on to a new graduate, but are not given the opportunity to.

No matter which way you look at it, the nursing workforce is in a quandary!

We need to value our New Zealand educated nursing workforce, and think about succession planning in terms of passing the baton – sharing the knowledge, skills and experience held by the existing workforce with new graduates. It’s just another way we can walk the talk of “growing our own”. (And there’s no doubt that a predominantly home-grown nursing workforce is what we should be aspiring to. But more on that in another blog…)

We need our experienced, skilled older nurses to be prepared to step up as preceptors/mentors; what they know and can share is vital to the development of the workforce.

If it doesn’t happen, where will we be in 2020/2035 when the workforce shortage really bites?

We need a sustainable health workforce plan that supports all our new grads into “nurse entry to practice positions” and at the same time releases our valuable late career nurses from enough of the work at the coal face so they can build the mentoring relationships with younger nurses that will strengthen our workforce and profession.

You can find out more about the issues on our website: www.nzno.org.nz/newgrads

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