Hundreds of hero nurses lose their jobs or have their hours cut because of the coronavirus – as many take up work in supermarkets
- Thousands of casual nurses have been left out of work due to coronavirus crisis
- Many are now considering taking other roles in supermarkets and Centrelink
- Some are struggling so much they’re unable to pay annual $175 registration fee
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
Thousands of casual nurses have been left jobless after the outbreak of coronavirus with many now turning to roles offered in supermarkets.
As health departments crack down on elective surgeries and non-essential hospital visits, hours have been cut and nurses are struggling to keep a shift.
Stephenie Wardle, a casual nurse who worked full time hours across South Australia has not worked in a month and now can’t even afford the annual nursing registration fee of $175 – due next month.
Thousands of casual nurses have been left jobless after the outbreak of coronavirus with many now turning to roles offered in supermarkets (pictured: Nurses preparing for patients at COVID-19 clinic in Adelaide)
Ms Wardle said that due to the care needed for patients with coronavirus, other medical departments were not needed.
‘You’re not getting car crashes or accidents … surgical and major departments [have shut down] so nurses like me don’t get that work,’ Ms Wardle told the ABC.
‘I’ve applied for jobs now that I would never have considered before – retail, packing for Coles and Woolworths.’
Ms Wardle is employed by a casual nursing agency and said her along with others struggling to pay the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) registration fee would soon be left unemployed.
She said she was desperate to help those working on the front line but knew she would be soon left with no other choice then to find another job.
The nurse said it was a legal obligation to have the registration and with many unable to afford the payment, fewer nurses would be left in the workforce.
Some nurses say they are struggling so much that they are unable to pay the annual registration fee of $175 (pictured: hospital staff testing patients for coronavirus in testing clinic in Barossa Valley, SA)
Around 40,000 retired nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers were recently called back to work and placed on a register.
These workers are not required to pay the $175 fee and can return to the workforce if they are needed.
But Ms Wardle is questioning why nurses struggling like her can’t be given the same opportunities.
‘Why can’t they use those nurses and put them into the system before taking those people out of retirement?’ she said.
A spokesperson for the AHPRA told Daily Mail Australia they were working to support struggling healthcare workers.
‘Registration fees go directly to regulating for safety in each health profession and keeping the public and practitioners safe. Our regulatory work is entirely funded by registrant fees and we receive no government funding for this work,’ they said.
‘The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), which is currently in its annual registration renewal period, has announced that a payment plan will be available for nurses and midwives experiencing genuine financial hardship due to COVID-19. It is expected that a similar approach will be rolled out to other regulated professions for the duration of the pandemic response.
‘More widely, we are modifying our regulatory approach to support health practitioners in these exceptional circumstances.
‘While maintaining standards for safety, we are introducing new policies that will get more experienced and qualified practitioners into the health system to support the existing health workforce, increase employer flexibility and cut red tape.’