Healthcare and Medical: Hot in 2015

The demand for healthcare is still strong and stable for the long-term, driven by an ageing population and new technologies.

Health Workforce Australia predicts that the country will face a shortfall of 109,000 nurses and 2,700 doctors by 2025, with the brunt of the shortage facing rural communities and in areas requiring specialised skills.

As a result, healthcare is expected to grow faster than any other industry over the next three years (Industry Employment Projections 2014, Department of Employment).

Occupations in high demand

  • High acuity nurses
  • Theatre and recovery nurses

Why high acuity nurses?

  • Australia’s ongoing population growth, ageing population and increase in chronic health problems are driving the demand for acute care services within the health system. This has in turn created a demand for experienced nurses within these specialisations. However, gaining the required experience needed for these positions can be difficult, especially for early career nurses, as positions within Transition to Specialty Practice Programs (TSPP) are hotly contested. (My Health Career).
  • Government spending on health is another driver. New projects such as the Fiona Stanley Hospital in WA and Royal Adelaide Hospital will also stimulate the need for acuity nurses. (Labour Market Research - Nurses, Department of Employment).
  • The average age of Australia’s nurses is increasing and nearly 25 per cent of registered nurses are now 55 or older, as reported by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. While there are plenty of nursing graduates, they don’t yet have the experience to fill the roles that retiring nurses are leaving.

Why theatre and recovery nurses?

  • Registered nurses in emergency departments or intensive care units require increasingly specialised knowledge and skills to care for their patients safely and effectively. As demand in the healthcare sector grows, the number of specialist staff required by hospitals increases.
  • A transition to Specialty Practice Programme (TSSP) training or other higher education is needed to work in theatre and recovery nursing. As theatre and recovery nurses require these niche skills, demand for trained or experienced nurses is higher than those areas that don’t require further study

Words from an expert

"The Australian health workforce has been growing at an incredibly fast rate. However, there are many challenges that are further driving demand for health services.

The staff shortage in rural and regional areas is reflected in the fact that the health workforce is still reliant on immigration.

Telehealth and video streaming are offering alternative approaches to addressing healthcare in rural areas and helping to close the gap in treatment and diagnosis within indigenous communities.

We are seeing advances in medical technology that will shape the future healthcare system. In December 2014 we saw the opening of the first fully integrated digital hospital in Queensland, which uses state of the art technology such as computerised and integrated operations, and equipment and services.”

- Helena Murphy, General Manager of Ensure Health

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