At the North Coast TAFE Ballina Campus studying a Diploma of Nursing 1st Block are, from left, Andrew Sampson of Byron Bay, Meg Ahearn of Ballina, Maddy Gabriel of Ballina and Scott O’Neill of Alstonville.
At the North Coast TAFE Ballina Campus studying a Diploma of Nursing 1st Block are, from left, Andrew Sampson of Byron Bay, Meg Ahearn of Ballina, Maddy Gabriel of Ballina and Scott O’Neill of Alstonville. Cathy Adams

Demand for nurses is growing

THE impact of an aging population means nurses are in high demand on the North Coast.

North Coast TAFE health, nursing and aged care acting head teacher Gabrielle Rodda said it meant there were "great" employment outcomes for nursing graduates.

"It's a high demand industry so there really are a lot of job opportunities out there," Ms Rodda said.

The proportion of people aged 65 years and over in the North Coast Area Health Service is 18% compared with the NSW average of 14%.

It is predicted this will reach 23% by 2016, leading to increased demand on aged care services.

Ms Rodda said Australia's nursing workforce was also aging.

"Statistics have shown a high percentage of nurses are due to retire over the next 10 to 15 years and those positions will need to be filled," Ms Rodda said.

TAFE courses in nursing are popular with school leavers looking for entry-level positions and with mature-aged students who want to return to work.

Many universities also give credit to TAFE graduates who then want to study a Bachelor of Nursing and qualify as a registered nurse.

ON-Q Human Resources consultant Rob Spall said there was extraordinary demand for registered nurses on the North Coast.

But he said TAFE-qualified nursing assistants were also in high demand.

"Training and development officers source candidates as soon as courses end," Mr Spall said.

Maddy Gabriel of Ballina has just begun studying a TAFE diploma in nursing while working in an aged-care facility.

She said she finds nursing fulfilling and thinks she has the skills required in the industry.

"My girlfriends told me about it and said I would be good at nursing because I have that sort of personality," Ms Gabriel said.

"You have to be happy and compassionate at the same time and I'm enjoying it."



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