The threat to penalty rates for aged care nurses

The workplace relations agenda of the federal Liberal government has become clear with the start of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into “all aspects” of working conditions. Penalty rates are under attack and aged care nurses are particularly vulnerable. Why? Here’s some FAQs.

What are penalty rates and why are they paid?
For decades penalty rates have been paid to employees like nurses to compensate for working during times which are inconvenient and anti-social. They are generally paid to employees who work evenings, nights (also referred to as shift allowances) weekends, or public holidays.

Penalty Rates weekend redo

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Posted in: Advocacy, NSWNMA, Nursing - Aged Care
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Nursing homes – warehouses for the vulnerable?

Jill Wright, herself a retired nurse and with her mother in a high-care nursing home, recently wrote to the NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner to express her concern about the threat to remove the requirement for a registered nurse to be in a nursing home around the clock. Jill shares her wider concerns with Nurse Uncut.

Hearing about the threat to RNs 24/7 was pretty scary. With the increased numbers of the Baby-Boomer ‘bubble’ coming through soon and no minimum staff/patient ratio in aged care, the cheapest high-care nursing homes could become warehouses for the most socially/economically vulnerable who have no buying-power choice.

At my mum’s high-care nursing home in Sydney I was shocked to learn from staff concerned about roster cuts that there are no minimum staff-to-patient ratio numbers! Surely if a home has a certain number of high care residents there must be a required number of RNs and personal carers to care for them?


Jill Wright.

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Posted in: Advocacy, Nursing - Aged Care
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Fifty years at the bedside

During her career, Pauline Branley was there at the beginning and the end for many. The Killarney Vale nurse/midwife has retired after 50 years at the bedside.

The mother of two started her training at age 16 in Lithgow Hospital. It was an era when doctors were gods and everyone on the ward lived in fear of matron.

Pauline as a student nurse. Continue reading

Posted in: Nursing - Aged Care, nursing history
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Stevie’s EN diary: Tell me something good

In Stevie’s last diary entry for Nurse Uncut, she wrote about being on a new ward – and feeling useless.

Two months on, things have improved, but she wonders why so many nurses don’t feel ‘good enough’.

So it turns out that when you’re cheeky enough to ask Ian from The Nurse Path to share something you wrote, people actually read it. Quite a few people read it. And people leave comments. Which led me to breaking Rule #42 of the Internet: do not read the comments! 

I didn’t reply, but I did read them. Most were positive, most were actually lovely, but of course, because I am a human being, I had to focus on the negative one.

notgood enuf Continue reading

Posted in: Stevie's new grad EN diary

Nutrition in nursing homes

Alison Foletta, a student who writes for MOJO online news at Monash University, is investigating how significant food is for quality of aged care. She wants aged care nurses (or anyone who has had someone they love in aged care) to contact her with their stories.

I am researching an article about nutrition in nursing homes. I’d like to be able to refer to human faces and real incidents where low food standards have been witnessed.


The overall issue I’m looking at is the importance of nurturance in the elderly and care standards in the nursing and care home industry. I’m looking at who upholds the standards and if we can continue at this level with an aging population.

If we cut the standards here, who is going to suffer? Continue reading

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Posted in: Nursing - Aged Care
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