Keeping nurses and midwives in the Territory 


Why do nurses and midwives come to the Territory, why do they stay and why do some leave?

Researchers at Charles Darwin University (CDU) hope to have some answers to these questions by early next year.

‘We recognise there is a high turnover of nurses and midwives in the Territory,’ says Professor Stephen Garnett of the School for Social and Policy Research. ’It is in everyone’s interests to know how we can keep people longer.’

The research, which is being supported by the Department of Health and Community Services under the government’s partnership agreement with CDU, will look at all the different groups of nurses and midwives in the Territory.

‘We want to talk to a whole range of nursing professionals – from city and regional hospitals, private and public clinics, remote area nurses,’ says Professor Garnett. ‘We are particularly interested in nurses and midwives who have worked in the Territory for extended periods and how they differ from visitors.’

The study will also gather the statistical data needed to compare turnover in the Territory with other parts of Australia and to quantify some of the costs that arise from high turnover.

‘Recruitment costs money,’ says Professor Garnett, ‘but a bigger cost may be the lost productivity as new nurses and midwives adapt to local conditions.’

The Department of Health and Community Services is encouraging Territory nurses and midwives to participate in the study.

‘By contributing to the research your views will be part of extensive intelligence that will offer clear direction in our future recruitment plans,’ said Rose Rhodes, A/Deputy Secretary, The Department of Health and Community Services.

Another part of the study will aim to understand the issues related to nurses who have been trained overseas.

‘On occasion the Territory has recruited nurses from overseas,’ says Dr Kate Golebiowska, who will run that part of the study. ‘We want to hear of their experiences and will also be trying to understand any special issues associated with such employment.’

The researchers will be looking to interview a sample group of nurses over the next few months. They will then send out a survey based on issues raised in the interviews to as many nurses as possible, both past and present.

‘While we need numbers for analysis,’ says Professor Garnett, ‘we also want to hear stories that will bring the statistics alive.’

Media Contact – Stephen Garnett, School for Social and Policy Research (0428 832 109).