Monday, November 28, 2011

Nursing, it is who you are, not what you are!!

The title to this post is just how I feel. Not only myself, but many of my colleagues feel this way too. If any of my readers have been keeping up with Victorian news, you would know that the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) Victorian branch have been duelling with Fair Work Australia (FWA) and Premier Ted Baillieu as well as the Victorian Health Minister David Davis. We have had meetings, a massive rally in the CBD last week, and will have another meeting this week too. It is the old story again and again... the powers that be want to increase productivity (increase nurse's workload) yet save money (put people's lives at risk... and have added stressors to nurses which will see mass exodus of trained professionals).
I remember this all too well from the 1980's. I was a student at High School then. I knew I wanted to be a nurse, my best friend's Mum was a charge nurse then, a midwife. Nurses fought long and hard with rolling strikes, bed closures, and, no pay, and got their message across loud and clear. The Government of the time were putting nurses, some of them who were senior nurses with more than 20yrs experience, at the lowest end of the pay spectrum.. which meant pay cuts. This in addition to increasing workloads. A recipe for disaster! Irene Bolger was the head of the ANF and the union grew by the hundreds every time the Health minister David White opened his mouth. Placards read, "‘Overworked nurses: under-cared-for patients’"
So what is it we are asking for?
Well, we want the Ted Baillieu Government to stop this unsound idea of abolishing minimum nurse/midwife patient ratios (at the moment it is 1 nurse to 4 patients) and wanting to replace us with health assistants. Stop the notion of bringing in split shifts for nurses, it just cannot be done in the health care setting. We need more nurses and midwives in Emergency Departments, Regional Trauma Services, Palliative Care, Rehabilitation Units, Birthing Suites, Day Oncology Units, Aged Care and Community Mental Health Services. In most cases, we are only asking for one extra nurse per shift in each area.
Victoria's hospitals are stretched beyond capacity as it is. Patients already face long delays, ambulances are regularly ramped at the emergency departments and demand is increasing. It does compromise patient care and places unsafe pressure upon nurses, midwives and mental health nurses.
For the record, we, in Victoria, do not have a nurse/midwife shortage. More than 500 Victorian graduate nurses and midwives ready to start work next year have missed out on a graduate year job. Our Government should be working to retain and recruit nurses and midwives to meet the increased demand. If it cannot come to the party with ANF negotiations, then there will be a new nurse/midwife shortage... this in the ONLY state that does not have a shortage.
My colleagues and I are taking action to improve the public access to the health system and in the expert care we can provide for them. I refuse to go back to nursing more than 4 patients in an acute setting. It is just that dangerous. I would not want to be nursed that way, and neither should you.
I will be there at the next ANF meeting. Festival Hall Wednesday 30th November 2011 at 2pm. Many of my colleagues will too. It is just that important.


Cazzie!!! said...

Sorry to my long time readers, I am just frustrated because I love being a nurse, it is who I am... I just don't think I can stay doing this job I love if the Government get their way and make us nurse more than the safe number of patients. We got a fair go 10 years ago when they abolished that practice and now this Gvt wants to go back there again. No, I can't do that.

Andrew said...

I think most of Victoria and more support you. I almost feel sorry for the health minister. He is on a road to nowhere. You missed criticising hospital administration who play the health department's cards.

FoxyMoron said...

And this is the worst part about it, truly caring people like you who are dedicated to their patients, not the money, career etc. To the PATIENTS.
I support you and your colleagues and most thinking and caring people anywhere in the world would.
If there is anything I can do, a petition to sign, a letter to write please let me know.

Cazzie!!! said...

Oh Andrew.. lots of hugs to you! I could have written 20 chapters in one post, but I did not want to sound like a sook. This stuff is keeping me awake at night... or day, whatever time I need to sleep. Yes, Hospital Admin sure do play those cards. I think, depending on the meeting's progress, we ought to be picketing at the Hospitals too. If not just to boost morale and support to the nurses walking in to face the day of work and criticism that comes from misrepresentation in the media.. yes, the Herald Sun to name one paper that has lame reporting (what do we expect?)
Thanks Foxy. There is a group on FB "ANF: Respect our work". We almost have 10000 strong "likes". Us nurses are giving up to date information as well as support to each other during this campaign. :)

Mom said...

Preach on sister. Patients require good nursing care to get well. Life is more important than the bottom line.

M said...

I fully support your cause and as a fellow worker in the caring field I hear you on being taken advantage of. Like nurses being replaced with less qualified/cheaper people they are doing the same with teachers as well. Giving people the option of a 10 week 'course' and then putting them bang into a classroom. How insulting!

Nurses work damn hard and it's a shame that the gov doesn't realise this. Fight the good fight!

Jayne said...

I hear ya, Cazzie.
Good luck at the meeting tomorrow and fingers crossed the dills sit up and listen properly.
In an increasing population we need INCREASED nurse numbers, not less.

Ginnie said...

I see that it's the same no matter what part of the world you live in. I'm always amazed at how money is at the core of it all and yet there is plenty to pay those huge administrative salaries.
I hope you have success, Cazzie, and stick to your guns.

Middle Child said...

Cazzie - glad to know whats going on. My eldest sister has been a Renal Dialysis since early 1980's in Brisbane and I hear much of this from her - hope you guys get what you want and need

Cazzie!!! said...

Thankyou so much guys. Nurses, fire men, police, teachers, people who work with PEOPLE need support.. not this BS. It is just ri;pping hearts out. We are trying to stand stong.

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