The total number of all nurses and midwives registered in Australia rose by almost 7% between 2011 and 2014, but not all are finding work in their field, according to new data released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The Institute's Nursing and midwifery workforce 2014 web pages show that there were nearly 353,000 nurses and midwives registered in 2014, compared to 330,680 in 2011 when the new national registration system was established.
'About 92% of all registered nurses and midwives in 2014 were in the nursing and midwifery workforce,' said AIHW spokesperson Dr Adrian Webster.
Of these 323,700 registered nurses and midwives, 9,100 were looking for work in nursing and midwifery, up from 8,200 in 2013 and 4,500 in 2011.
'The remaining 29,000 registered nurses and midwives were neither employed, nor looking for work in these fields,' Dr Webster said.
Despite the changes in numbers, the overall supply of employed nurses and midwives, when hours worked and population growth are taken into account, has remained relatively stable.
'In 2014 the overall supply of employed nurses and midwives was 1,134 full-time equivalents or FTEs for every 100,000 people. This compares with the figure of 1,107 FTEs per 100,000 in 2011,' Dr Webster said.
Nurses and midwives tend to be women, with women making up almost 90% of all employed nurses and midwives in 2014. Fewer than 2% of midwives were men.
In 2014, about 111,300 nurses and midwives worked in the private sector, and 178,700 in the public sector.
About 75% more registered nurses worked some hours in the public sector than those who worked some hours the private sector (152,700 compared to 86,500). More than double the number of midwives worked some hours in the public sector compared to the private sector (20,200 compared to 7,900).
On average, employed nurses and midwives worked 33.6 hours per week in 2014, and almost half worked part time (less than 35 hours per week). While the overall supply of employed nurses and midwives varied across remoteness areas, those in Very remote areas worked the greatest number of hours per week (40.3). Nurses and midwives in Inner regional areas reported working the least hours (32.6).
Between 2011 and 2014 there were increases in the number of employed nurses and midwives in both the younger (less than 30) and older (50 and over) age groups. During this period, there were more employed nurses and midwives in the 50-54 year age group than any other age group.
The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.