Voice for aged care nurses

 

Aged care nurses had the opportunity to raise and debate issues at the recent Aged Care Nurses Forum organised by the NSWNA.

Sixty nurses working in aged care attended the one-day forum in May where a diverse range of speakers including a representative from the Department of Health and Ageing and prominent nursing academics explored professional issues relevant to nurses working in the aged care sector.

NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes said: ‘The forum was a great success. The strong attendance shows that the Association is on the right track when responding to professional issues pertinent to nurses working in aged care.’

One of the benefits of such an event was the opportunity for aged care nurses to network with colleagues.

Nurses were also able to question the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing on different issues of concern without fear or repercussion.

‘Another beneficial element of this day is that Government and agency officials had the chance to hear directly from nurses working in the aged care sector,’ said Brett.

Brian Mason, NSWNA Industrial Officer, explained the federal government’s WorkChoices Industrial Relations legislation and how the new laws will affect aged care nurses.

The panel discussion and closing remarks was an interesting session with plenty of heated debate about issues including aged care standards, staffing levels and the changing role of RNs.

Betty Johnston, a significant consumer advocate who is passionate about aged care, offered her vision for the future of aged care – to lobby for the improvement of services including increased staffing levels and skillsmix, and to include consumers as part of the movement to improve nurses’ work conditions, pay and training and to improve the quality of life for older people – whether they receive community aged care or are residents in aged care facilities.

Members who attended the forum described the issues discussed as ‘thought provoking’ and ‘informative’.