Work bans at Grafton

Nightshift nurses at Grafton Base Hospital have minimised the entry of non-clinical data, following the continued refusal of the North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) to appoint a night-time clerk.

NSWNA Branch Secretary Jasmine Brown said it was not industrial action at this stage but a strategy implemented in consultation with the hospital executive to maintain clinical standards and patient safety while negotiations continue.

‘We acknowledge the minimising of data-entry by night nursing staff will increase the workload of clerical staff during the day but nurses feel strongly that their core business is to deliver safe and efficient health care,’ said Jasmine.

The branch has requested an extra night-time clerk and an RN in the ED as part of its Reasonable Workloads Submission.

So far the Area has only offered to divert night-time phone calls from the ED and supply an extra EN. Due to circumstances unique to Grafton ED, night duty nurses can often end up working alone.

‘No nurse should have to practice in isolation – enrolled nurses during morning and evening shifts do not staff the resuscitation area or triage in the ED and it is not acceptable that they be put in this position on night shift,’ Jasmine said.

Negotiations between the NCAHS and the NSWNA Grafton branch have been slowed by the Area Executive’s continued requests for extra data.

According to branch president Gwen Simpson, nurses are already overworked and are struggling to complete the information requests during work hours, as required under the award.

‘Nurses are having to compile the data in their own time after long night shifts and in some cases the Area is asking for data that is simply not kept,’ she said.