Nurses slam plans to abolish DON

Nurses outraged over proposal to have one DON for Orange and Bathurst Base Hospitals

Nurses are outraged by a proposal by Greater Western AHS (GWAHS) to have only one DON for Orange and Bathurst Base Hospitals.

At NSWNA branch meetings on 10-11 October, more than 100 members at Bathurst and Orange Base Hospital branches unanimously voted to pass a resolution condemning the deletion of a senior nurse manager position in the GSAHS restructure.

Members have written to the GWAHS demanding the withdrawl of the proposal.

NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Judith Keijda said nurses at Orange and Bathurst Base Hospitals see this proposal as an attempt by the GWAHS to reduce the role of nurses in hospital management.

‘The proposal has serious implications for nursing practice,’ said Lee Taylor, president of the NSWNA Orange Base Hospital branch.

‘Orange is a busy tertiary hospital with 250 beds that receives referrals from across the state, and Bathurst is also a busy rural hospital with an extensive nursing workforce.

‘We need a senior nurse manager onsite at each hospital to provide nurses with clinical support and leadership. We need a senior nurse on hand who knows how the facility operates and understands nurse roles.

‘What the GWAHS is proposing is that one DON will be responsible for two hospitals that are an hour apart. There is no way one DON can provide the necessary leadership and support for such large Base hospitals,’ said Lee.

‘The proposal also undermines the nursing career structure in this region. It takes away an important nursing position that nurses in the area can strive for in building a nursing career.

‘It is hard enough attracting nurses to the area – this will just make the problem of nurse shortages worse. We already have 20 full-time nurse vacancies at Orange Base alone,’ said Lee.

Judith Kiejda said nurses at Orange and Bathurst Base Hospitals are united in fighting the proposal. ‘NSWNA members have taken a stand against this ridiculous proposal and if it is not dropped by the GWAHS they will meet again to consider industrial action,’ she said.