Night shift shortfalls at Grafton

NSWNA demands more RN and clerical support for Grafton ED.

The NSWNA and Grafton Base Hospital Branch are continuing a determined campaign to get adequate night-duty staffing for the hospital’s busy emergency department.

Management of North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) has repeatedly refused nurses’ requests for a Night Duty RN and Ward Clerk.
NSWNA has been attempting to negotiate with the NCAHS about the Grafton ED workload issue since January and is now considering industrial action.

NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes said there was a clear need for a Night Duty RN and a Night Duty Ward Clerk.

‘Night-duty nurses at Grafton are using meal breaks to cover gaping holes in the roster and are so swamped by clerical duties that one nurse is often left working in isolation when patients present for assessment and treatment,’ said Brett.

‘Nurses are spending considerably more time with administrative duties at night – duties that must be done before they can provide patient care. Using nursing staff for these administrative tasks creates unnecessary risks for patients, extra stress for nurses, and is a waste of their skills and talents.

‘The NCAHS’s only concession has been to divert night phone calls from the ED.’

According to Branch President Gwen Simpson, nurses are already overloaded and the lack of clerical staff is causing enormous stress.

‘Nurses in the ED are constantly being taken away from patient care to do clerical work. With the increasing clerical demands on nurses today, especially in the ED, 24-hour support is vital,’ she said.

‘If nothing is achieved soon we may need to consider industrial action.’

Following a determined Reasonable Workload campaign by the local branch of the NSWNA, the NCAHS has provided extra clinical staff to relieve daytime workload pressure at Grafton but is so far stonewalling discussion regarding the night shift clerical and clinical workloads.