Quality care for older Australians – March 2009


We’re going to put aged care in a positive light

On 17 March the Australian Nursing Federation will launch a national campaign (see page 12), in which the NSWNA will play a major role, to win a fair deal for the aged care sector.

Research commissioned by the ANF indicates that nurses in the sector and residents’ families are one in their thinking about the challenges facing aged care.

They don’t think aged care is sufficiently on the radar of governments and the wider community and that nurses working in the sector deserve better pay and improved staffing levels.

There is a shared concern that there is not enough accountability in the sector and that resources, most of which come from taxpayers, should be used more effectively to deliver quality care to residents.

We want to give a voice to aged care nurses, who deserve recognition and reward for their hard work, and to older Australians and their families who deserve quality care and security. We intend to show aged care in a positive light and put it high on the public and political agenda.

Along the way we want to show the good things about the sector: that nursing in aged care is a highly-skilled discipline and that older Australians still have much to offer society.

We need all nurses – in the public health system, private hospitals and elsewhere – to support this campaign. Our research shows that nurses in aged care often feel their work is not appreciated by nurses in other sectors. This is a chance to show that nurses, no matter where they work, will stick up for each other.

Nursing retains its identity in new award process

The decision by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission to issue a draft nursing occupational award (see page 23) is one the NSWNA welcomes warmly.

Congratulations must go to the ANF who led a determined campaign to ensure that in the new award modernisation process nursing retained its historical occupational identity.

A petition signed by 7,000 nurses and a letter writing campaign obviously had some effect. The draft still needs to survive a final submissions process, where other unions and aged care employers have already opposed it, but if it clears this hurdle it will be a substantial achievement
for nurses.

It will provide nurses covered by the Federal industrial relations system with a good safety net.
Victorian nurses rise to the occasion during bushfires

The Victorian bushfires (see page 18) are a terrible calamity that has touched us all. We all feel for the communities down there, especially our colleagues who have lost their homes. We are very proud of the role Victorian nurses played in the emergency response. There were many stories of commitment, selflessness, compassion and professionalism from nurses as they contributed to the emergency response to this tragedy.

As always in these situations there will be an ongoing need for more help, such as blood donations to which we can all contribute.

The NSWNA made a donation of $20,000 to the relief appeal as a contribution on your behalf to help these communities in their hour of need. If needed, we stand ready to provide further assistance to our colleagues in Victoria.