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P19. State of the Workforce: 2020

Poster 19

P19. State of the Workforce: 2020

Learner category:

  • Novice Level

Learning objectives:

  • Participants will be able to describe the results of a large scale workforce mapping project.
  • Participants will explore challenges to the addiction nursing workforce.
  • Participants will explore potential dangers to the ongoing sustainability of addiction nursing in Australia and New Zealand


Introduction During 2019, the Drug and Alcohol Nurses of Australasia (DANA) undertook an ambitious project to ‘map’ and understand the drug and alcohol nursing workforce in Australia. This project was devised to provide a detailed overview of nurses working in drug and alcohol positions across Australia. Methods The project used three distinct phases to achieve its aims. Primarily, key informant interviews were used to highlight concepts for further exploration. Online job advertisements were examined for a twelve month period to provide a snapshot of the labour market for drug and alcohol nurses. The second phase, an online survey, was deployed in order to ascertain demographic information of drug and alcohol nurses in Australia. Additionally, the survey sought to ask drug and alcohol nurses questions around their current practice and problems and concerns in the specialty. These responses were used to develop a semi-structured interview guide for the final phase, a qualitative interview process conducted with drug and alcohol nurses. Results Ten key informants were interviewed, 337 surveys were completed and 40 drug and alcohol nurses interviewed in the final phase of the study. A number of concerns were explored, including an ageing workforce who are highly qualified and highly experienced not only in drug and alcohol nursing but bringing experience from other specialties. Conclusion Prior to this project, DANA did not fully understand the drug and alcohol workforce; now we know that they are highly experienced, highly qualified, and potentially ‘endangered.’


Adam Searby
RN, PhD Deakin University/Drug and Alcohol Nurses of Australasia

Dr Searby is a registered nurse who has worked across mental health, community and addictions nursing. He is currently a lecturer at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia and has research interests in addiction nursing workforce development and older adult addiction issues. Dr Searby is the president of the Drug and Alcohol Nurses of Australasia, the peak professional body for addictions nursing in Australasia.

State of the Workforce Poster Presentation (PDF)

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