341 new nurses and midwives join Western Sydney hospitals

Westmead Hospital graduate nurse Emma Rose Purser-Hanson speaks at the press conference, encouraging the public to get their booster vaccine and treat healthcare workers with kindness.

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) has welcomed the first of 341 graduate nurses and midwives to join western Sydney hospitals and community services this year.

The first intake of 15 eager graduates started early on 31 January to assist with the response to COVID-19. A total of 320 nurses and 21 midwives are set to join the District across several intakes by May 2022 – an increase of 40 on 2021’s intake.

Among the new graduates is 31-year-old West Pennant Hills resident Michael Buskin, who traded a career in insurance policy for nursing and is now in Mount Druitt Hospital’s emergency department.

Since January 31st I’ve loved every single moment of working. The teamwork is probably the most enjoyable thing – I know that I can go up to any nurse, any doctor in the ED and ask them for help and they will come and help straight away.”

Michael Buskin

“I did two student placements at Westmead Hospital. To go to the traumatic brain injury unit and hear that a patient I had in ICU went there and has now gone home; that really inspired me that this was the right career path I’d chosen.”

The nurses and midwives have commenced work at WSLHD as part of the 12-month GradStart program, which includes clinical rotations and educational support for future specialisation and career development.

WSLHD Nursing & Midwifery and Clinical Governance director Caroline Farmer welcomed the new graduates to the frontline of healthcare in western Sydney.

“We are always looking to grow our agile, adaptable, skilled and sustainable workforce, and these new graduate nurses and midwives are a very welcome addition to Western Sydney Local Health District,” Caroline said.

“It’s wonderful to see their eagerness to make a difference and how they’ve already been welcomed by their colleagues. The learning and development opportunities in our District will strengthen their clinical skills and knowledge, setting them up for a rewarding career providing patient-centred care.”

Premier Dominic Perrottet, Health Minister Brad Hazzard, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant and Deputy Secretary Susan Pearce commended eight of WSLHD’s graduates in person on 10 February.

Among them was Blacktown local Kyra Mula, who is doing her first rotation in Blacktown Hospital intensive care unit following a student placement in Westmead Hospital’s emergency department.

“Intensive care was overwhelming when I first started because I didn’t have any placements there, but everyone is super helpful and the support is really good. There’s always someone around to help,” Kyra said.

Once I had my first placement as a nurse I realised you can do so much with a nursing degree and find your groove as you start working. I like how it’s health-focused but it’s also people-focused.”

Kyra Mula

Between mid-2012 and mid-2021, WSLHD increased its workforce by an additional 2,199 full-time equivalent staff – an increase of 23.9 per cent including 421 more doctors, 1,000 more nurses and midwives and 105 more allied health staff.

To be eligible for the GradStart program, a candidate must complete a Bachelor of Nursing or Midwifery. For more information about the Gradstart program, visit: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/nursing/employment/Pages/recruit.aspx