Raising the bar on nursing

 

Our series on advancing the nursing profession continues. In this issue of The Lamp, we examine developments in the Area Health Service restructure, and how these will impact on nurse manager positions and the status of the nursing profession.

We need strong nurse managers

The NSWNA is negotiating with the new Area Health Services about the make-up of nurse manger positions on the fourth tier of the new structure.

Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda said the union is committed to protecting nursing positions at this level.
‘Senior nurse management positions need to be underpinned by strong support positions. And clinical nurses need nurse managers and nurse educators,’ Judith said.

‘Therefore, we must make sure that nursing is protected throughout this next phase of consultation and that there is a consistent approach across the state.

‘We also need to ensure that there is consistency of positions across all AHS’s, and ensure all nursing positions are appropriately classified and graded.

NSW Health last year amalgamated AHS’s into eight new AHS’s. This restructure required a reassessment of management positions. So far the first-, second- and third-tier positions in the new structures have been released.

The Association negotiated centrally with NSW Health regarding the positions proposed for the first three tiers of the structure.

However, the make-up of the remainder of the structure – the positions underpinning those on the third tier – are being determined at local AHS level.

Judith said the NSWNA has joined in meetings with other health unions at each AHS to discuss common issues.

‘However we are meeting separately with each AHS to discuss issues specifically impacting nurses,’ she said.

‘At this stage, the main focus of NSWNA-specific meetings is on the roles and grades of the nurse manager positions and the structure underpinning the Area Director of Nursing and Midwifery position.

As this issue of The Lamp goes to press, we are close to agreeing on the structures for these positions in North Coast AHS, Greater Southern AHS and Greater West AHS. However, there is still a significant amount of work to do in relation to the metropolitan AHS’s and Hunter New England AHS.

‘While fourth-tier negotiations are underway, at press time we were still awaiting details of the proposed structure, position descriptions and gradings from some metropolitan AHS’s for the third-tier positions underpinning the Director Nursing and Midwifery and their support structure.

‘The NSWNA remains committed to protecting the grading and structure of positions at the third tier,’ Judith said.