The Nurses Association in Papua New Guinea says the government has to change how nurses are recruited after graduating from training school.
The minister of health wants a major expansion of training for nurses and other health workers, starting next year, to avoid a staffing crisis in the sector.
The nurses' association treasurer, Norah Changei, says not only has the quality of training declined but there is no guarantee that a nurse will get a job at the end of it.
"The training trend is not improving or like what it used to be like before. Or people are being trained, but not being employed. The policy is that nurses that are trained they have to wait until positions are made available in the government before they can apply."
Norah Changei says they are currently involved in a tribunal hearing to push for improved pay and working conditions, including the introduction of a housing allowance.