Sunday 15th May 2005
A key aim of our pay campaign is to solve the crises of excessive workloads and nurse shortages.
Branches are encouraged to take action to stop award breaches, including unreasonable overtime worked due to nurse shortages or the inability to fill shifts with agency nurses.
Closure threat delivers new nurses at Shoalhaven
Shoalhaven Hospital has agreed to recruit more staff after overworked nurses threatened to close an operating theatre because the hospital breached the award by not meeting ACORN 2002 standards.
Fed-up theatre nurses swung into action when hospital administration failed to address chronic understaffing.
After an NSWNA meeting in late-March threatened to close one of Shoalhaven’s four theatres, hospital management moved to advertise and fill five positions by the end of May.
NSWNA Branch President Hugh Whitfeld said the union campaign had been led and driven by ‘RNs on the ground’.
‘Grassroots nurses did all the hard work. They crunched the numbers to find that the theatres were short of 10 FTE positions,’ said Hugh.
The hospital was running two theatres but with only enough nurses for one, according to ACORN standards.
Hugh said the key to the success of the campaign was the ‘unity of fed-up nurses’. He said having reasonable workloads provisions incorporated into the award gave nurses the power to take action on chronic understaffing.
A letter to Robyn
CNEs , tired of lower rates of pay and high workloads, are writing personal letters to the Director General of NSW Health, Robyn Kruk, to explain why they deserve a better deal.
RPAH, Prince of Wales and Liverpool Hospital CNEs have written to Robyn arguing that their jobs have gone beyond their award descriptions. They are increasingly asked to conduct university tutorials, plan courses and write policies.
CNEs, who implement NSW Health policies that protect patient safety, are vital to maintaining safety standards in hospitals.
The current pay and conditions claim includes for CNEs to have the right to pursue futher pay increases during the next four years – to recognise their increasing work responsibilities. So far the claim to be able to arbitrate a pay increase has been refused.
If you’re a CNE who hasn’t yet written a letter, contact the NSWNA on 8595 1234 (metro) or 1300 367 962 (country) and ask to speak to the campaigns office.
Make sure you sign the petition to support more pay increases for ENs who achieve the qualification to administer medication.
Download the petition from the NSWNA website or ask your delegate.
Nepean theatre nurses win fairer workloads
Nepean theatre nurses have achieved a major win in the campaign against unreasonable workloads and chronic overwork.
Nepean Hospital has seven theatres but – according to the Australian College of Operating Room Nurses (ACORN) standards – the hospital only has the nursing skills mix to staff four or five theatres. The Hospital attempted to address the issue by having theatre nurses work overtime and extra shifts.
The fed-up nurses arranged a meeting to discuss the problem and sent a firm resolution to manage-ment saying that they could only operate four theatres at the current staffing levels. The resolution made management sit up and take notice.
In consultation with the Workloads Committee, the hospital agreed to look at the nursing skills mix in theatres.
The Committee decided that three managers must now meet daily to discuss the staffing needs for that day to ensure they meet ACORN 2002 standards. If staffing levels do not meet ACORN 2002 standards, theatres will be closed.
Nurses in action
Liverpool Hospital Rally – 4 April
More than 16 kilos of sausages were sizzled at the lunchtime rally which attracted hundred of community members and nurses.Branch president Brian Grant addressed the rally, along with Brett Holmes and the local member for Liverpool, Paul Lynch, who pledged to take the issue of nurses’ pay back to his fellow parliamentarians.
Parliament House Rally – 5 April
Pensioners selling lamingtons to help Bob Carr fund the nurses’ pay rise joined nurses from Sydney and St George Hospitals, as well as representatives from the Combined Pensioners and Superannuates Association of NSW. Many members of the public signed postcards, and passing taxis tooted their support.