NSWNA hails nurses from the Central West

The NSWNA kicked off its 2009 Roadshow with a visit to hard-working members working in public and private hospitals, health services and aged care facilities in Central Western NSW.

NSWNA officials and Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda hit the road in late September for an exhausting but exhilarating roadshow to Central Western NSW. Over five days and around 1,800 kms, the NSWNA team visited 29 hospitals, community health services and aged care facilities from as far afield as Trundle and Canowindra to further inland at Orange and Bathurst.

Judith said the annual roadshow is a highlight on the NSWNA calendar and provides an important opportunity to meet with members at their workplaces and hear and see first hand issues that are concerning them.

‘Across the Central West we heard the same message time and time again: nurses are under huge pressure because there are not enough nurses and poor skills mix. There are not enough experienced, senior nurses for nurses to be able do their jobs safely.

‘Right across the Area Health Service, management has relied heavily on the goodwill of our members going beyond the call of duty to provide safe patient care. However, this is becoming less and less possible as resources become more and more stretched and the skills mix becomes more diluted, while the demand for more complex care continues to rise,’ said Judith.

‘From what I saw, Central West nurses have had enough.’

Along with hearing members’ concerns, the NSWNA team was able to able to help resolve a number of recruitment problems on the spot while visiting the hospitals.

‘We found a number of vacant front-line positions, which we were able to discuss with Area Health Service management and secure commitment to filling those positions immediately. Mem-bers had been trying to get these positions filled for months and they were absolutely delighted we could get this commitment.

‘The gratitude from our members on resolving these recruitment issues alone made the entire trip worthwhile,’ said Judith.

Visiting the tiny town of Canowindra, near Cowra, added a very special dimension to the Central West tour for Judith. It was a return to her home town and the Canowindra Soldiers Memorial Hospital where she was born and did her first placement as a newly-graduated RN.

While exhausting, the Central Western Roadshow was exhilarating for the NSWNA team, who have come home with a long list of issues for resolution.