Casualisation of the nursing workforce in Australia: driving forces and implications.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Australian health review : a publication of the Australian Hospital Association, 2003, 26 (1), pp. 201 - 208
Issue Date:
2003-01-01
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This article provides an overview of the extent of casualisation of the nursing workforce in Australia, focusing on the impact for those managing the system. The implications for nurse managers in particular are considerable in an industry where service demand is difficult to control and where individual nurses are thought to be increasingly choosing to work casually. While little is known of the reasons behind nurses exercising their preference for casual work arrangements, some reasons postulated include visa status (overseas trained nurses on holiday/working visas); permanent employees taking on additional shifts to increase their income levels; and those who elect to work under casual contracts for lifestyle reasons. Unknown is the demography of the casual nursing workforce, how these groups are distributed within the workforce, and how many contracts of employment they have across the health service--either through privately managed nursing agencies or hospital managed casual pools. A more detailed knowledge of the forces driving the decisions of this group is essential if health care organisations are to equip themselves to manage this changing workforce and maintain a standard of patient care that is acceptable to the community.
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