Why we went to Bathurst

From left: Leonie Keen, Kim Eason, and Deborah Noakes.
From left: Leonie Keen, Kim Eason, and Deborah Noakes.

“It’s not about us as individuals but nursing as a whole.”

Deborah Noakes, Child and Family Health Nurse, Forster.

“I’m here to advocate to National Party politicians for ratios that already apply to city areas, to be extended to country areas and specialty areas like EDs, pediatric wards, intensive care units and to community health.

As a community nurse I’m particularly passionate about seeing some equity in nurse staffing in the community as well as in hospitals.

The whole event has given me a better understanding of the ratios issues, which will give me confidence to be able to talk to my local MP.

I gained a lot in campaigning with other nurses and the NSWMNA organisers alongside me. I hope this will give me ideas and confidence to do the same at home.”
Kim Eason, Endorsed Enrolled Nurse, Gilgandra Multi Purpose Service.

“My electorate of Barwon has many isolated rural hospitals and it’s very important they get ratios. Without mandated safe numbers it gets very dangerous at times for patients and staff.

We have a 19-bed lockdown ward for high nursing care patients, with two highly demented people who wander. At times the ward has to be covered by one nurse while the rest have to go to accident and emergency.

I’ve come here [to Bathurst] on my days off. I feel very passionate about trying to make the National Party and my local MP aware of the importance of fighting for the cause of having ratios throughout rural areas.

I think politicians are getting the message that we do care about what we do, that it’s not about us as individuals but nursing as a whole. I think they see that we are actually very professional in how we are carrying out this campaign.”
Leonie Keen, Registered Nurse, Queanbeyan Hospital.

“This is an important issue for the future of nursing and we just want politicians to listen to us.

Rural hospitals like Queanbeyan have fewer nurses on shift than city hospitals, things can fall apart really easily and patient care is put at risk.

If our nurses are exhausted and given no time for tea or lunch breaks they will eventually get sick of the conditions and go to nearby Canberra hospital where they get more support. Ratios will help Queanbeyan to keep our experienced staff.

We hope our message about safe patient care is sinking in with National Party delegates. The fact that we’re campaigning here in the freezing cold weather shows we’re not going to back down.”