Nurses continue raising voices for a stronger future

The incredible courage of nurses and their unwavering dedication to patient care is being recognised this International Nurses’ Day (12 May). As tens of thousands of aged care, public and private sector nurses celebrate, they are united behind the desperate need for governments to invest in nursing and deliver safe staffing.

Acknowledging the extraordinary sacrifices by nurses, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has urged the community to support calls for shift by shift nurse-to-patient ratios to be introduced into public hospitals, mandated staffing levels in aged care, and fair pay across the profession.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said it was time governments stepped up to support and protect the nursing workforce and adequately invested for the future.

“Nursing sits at the heart of our health care system and nurses’ voices deserve to be heard by the decision makers to ensure better health outcomes are achieved,” said Mr Holmes.

“Ask any nurse of any classification across the state what they want on International Nurses’ Day and the overwhelming majority all agree on the need for safe staffing and decent wages.”

NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary, Shaye Candish, said the vital role nurses play in providing care, compassion and comfort to patients and residents was unique, yet governments fail to match their work value.

“It’s widely acknowledged our health and aged care systems rely heavily on the proficiency of their nursing workforces,” said Ms Candish.

“The contribution nurses make to the wellbeing of our society is invaluable, and the depth of this has been on display throughout the global health pandemic that we still find ourselves in today.”

NSWNMA Councillor and aged care nurse, Jocelyn Hofman, said nurses deserved better support.

“As a registered nurse in aged care I want what is best for the residents in my care, and that is safe staffing. We need a federal government that will reform aged care now,” Ms Hofman said.

NSWNMA Orange Base Hospital Branch President, Grace Langlands, said rural and regional health had been neglected too long and patient care was continuing to suffer.

“We need people to understand nursing is a hard job, but it’s a rewarding job. We’re doing the best we can, but we really need more nurses and safe ratios,” said Ms Langlands.

NSWNMA Canowindra Memorial Hospital Branch President, Samantha Gregory-Jones, said nurses deserved safe workplaces and staffing ratios.

“We do all of this for our communities and our families, but we need the NSW government to recognise our claim for nurse-to-patient ratios and remember that we are amazing,” added Ms Gregory-Jones.

NSWNMA Prince of Wales Mental Health Branch Secretary, Skye Romer, said as advocates for patient safety, nurses were fighting to secure better health care for all.

“We’ve got a tough job and nursing isn’t for everyone, but we do it with dedication and empathy to give our patients and consumers the best possible outcomes. It’s time for the government to give us safe staffing ratios and stop taking our goodwill for granted,” Ms Romer said.

The NSWNMA is continuing to advocate for the introduction of nurse-to-patient ratios on every shift and for the wellbeing of all nurses and midwives across NSW.

International Nurses’ Day on 12 May marks the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of modern nursing. It’s also a day to recognise the professionalism and perseverance of nurses around the globe.

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