Nurses campaign for fair pay

It’s three months since the NSWNA lodged its claim for improved pay and conditions for public health system nurses and midwives and we are still waiting for an offer from the State Government.

Across NSW nurses and midwives have been active sending a resounding message to Mr Iemma that they are determined to maintain the fight for improved pay and conditions. It’s a simple message, Mr Iemma: Fair Conditions. Fair pay. Nurses Stay.

Take a walk in their shoes

The evidence is in – many NSW nurses are run off their feet.

New data collected by the NSWNA shows that many NSW nurses are run off their feet at work, with some walking up to 10 kilometres a day.

As part of the Fair Conditions. Fair Pay. Nurses Stay. It’s that Simple campaign, NSWNA members at a number of NSW hospitals recently wore pedometers for five days during working hours to highlight how much walking they do at work.

Orthopaedic CNC Suzanne McNeill from John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle said she was staggered by the results.

‘I knew we did a lot of walking but I didn’t realise quite how much. I raised the point with Commissioner Garling recently that with so many “outlying” beds at John Hunter we spend a lot of non-productive hours walking to and from patients,’ she said.

‘One of my patients is almost a kilometre away.’

NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes said while figures varied from facility to facility, they showed that many nurses are covering a lot of kilometres a day just to get their job done.

‘For example, the participating nurses at Sydney/Sydney Eye Hospital and Wagga Wagga have walked more than 600,000 kilometres during their careers to date, or 15 times around the world at the equator. The seven John Hunter nurses have walked 1.16 million, or 29 times round the world,’ said Brett.

‘Some individual nurses in general wards walked more than 40kms during the week. One even did more than 60kms.

‘There is no doubt many nurses are run off their feet just keeping the health system going. To retain these nurses the State Government must properly reward nurses for the hard work they do and address key issues such as pay rates for experienced nurses and fair pay rates for working night shift as raised in the NSWNA claim for the next public hospital nurses’ wages and conditions agreement.’