THE Western NSW Local Health District is trying to bolster its workforce as people in its communities continue to contract and be impacted by COVID-19, including its own staff.
The health district has issued an appeal on Facebook for registered, enrolled and undergraduate nurses to "fill shifts" across the region.
In the post, it said nurses could stand to earn an "additional $823 a week".
A WNSWLHD spokesperson said the purpose of the call for more nurses was to "augment our existing workforce" in anticipation of more staff becoming furloughed.
Already, there are around 140 staff across the health district who have been granted leave after they've either contracted the virus or been deemed a close contact, with nursing under the most pressure.
Recruitment and retention of healthcare workers in rural locations is an ongoing challenge.WNSWLHD spokesperson
Smaller communities, particularly those in more remote areas, are more vulnerable simply because of the size of the workforce.
"Recruitment and retention of healthcare workers in rural locations is an ongoing challenge," the spokesperson said.
"This current call is designed to augment our existing workforce so we're prepared for staff becoming unavailable as a result of being 'furloughed'.
"Staff may be required to be furloughed because they are in isolation themselves. Others may be unable to attend work because they need to care for others in their household who are in isolation, or to care for children affected by disruption to childcare arrangements.
"We are interested in hearing from nursing staff who have current registration, who may be willing to be part of our COVID-19 response."
It is anticipated that the number of furloughed staff will fluctuate as the COVID situation evolves with the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.
"It's reasonable to assume that staffing numbers will be further affected as this phase of the pandemic unfolds," the WNSWLHD spokesperson said.
"The WNSWLHD currently has a workforce strategy in place that is accommodating the additional pressures of the pandemic.
"Having a contingent workforce of frontline staff that can be used if and when needed is a component of that strategy that has been in place since the early days of the pandemic."
Nursing staff with current registration who might be willing to be part of the health district's COVID-19 response are encouraged to get in touch with the health district.
Start and end dates are negotiable and accommodation and travel will be provided.
Anyone interested should contact the workforce and culture team on 0413 346 889.
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