A Positive Future for Nursing and Allied Health in Australia
30 March 2016
A number of contemporary healthcare issues have helped build an increased demand for healthcare workers, particularly within the nursing and allied health sectors. Australia has an ageing population and is seeing an increase in chronic illness and disability across society. Indigenous health, technological advances and the competing budgetary requirements of the private sector and the state and federal governments have all put stress on the provision of healthcare. As a result the industry looks to be a shining light for new job opportunities across several sectors.
Projected demand for healthcare workers
Both Australia’s ageing population and the advent of the National Disability Scheme have created an economic and logistical challenge for the current healthcare system. In the International Journal of Nursing Studies, Goa et al (2014) projected that demand for healthcare workers will triple by 2050 - just within aged care. This will heighten the need for highly skilled, upper-level management roles within primary and acute care, as well as rehabilitation services.
Boosting Nurse capacity
Health Workforce Australia has predicted that there will be a deficit of 80,000 registered nurses by 2025. As such, the sector must focus on boosting nursing capacity without compromising tertiary and vocational education qualifications. Leadership and management skills will be necessary to provide the community with high quality, evidence based and timely healthcare. The Australian Government has projected a 15.4 per cent jump in the number of registered nurses by 2018, meaning an additional 36,900 will enter the profession. In addition, a further 4189 enrolled nurses (ENs) are also expected to assist in catering to growing demand. There will also be extended opportunities for non-licensed healthcare workers such as nursing assistants or personal carers. Many of these will be in the aged care and disability sectors.
Allied Health growth
Aside from nursing, Allied Health is the second largest healthcare sector. It too is projected to see an increased workforce, seeing 24.9 per cent growth or 43,000 more positions in 2018. These positions will range from physiotherapists to dieticians, social workers and speech pathologists Allied health input to Australia’s contemporary healthcare issues is essential to make sure patient needs are adequately catered for.
As Australia begins to deal with these concerns, our healthcare sector is set to become the largest employment industry in Australia (Health Workforce Australia, 2014). This will open the door for future leaders to influence positive change in 2016, and beyond.
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Australian Government. (2014). Employment Outlook to November 2018 [On-line]. Available: https://cica.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Employment-Outlook-to-November-2018.pdf (Accessed 19/02/2016).
Gao, F., Newcombe, P., Tilse, C., Wilson, J., & Tuckett, A. (2014). Models for predicting turnover of residential aged care nurses: A structural equation modelling analysis of secondary data. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 51, 1258-1270.
Health Workforce Australia. (2014). Assistants and support workers: workforce flexibility to boost productivity – Full report. Health Workforce Division, Canberra.