Nursing degrees – declining standards?

Did you see last night’s Four Corners on the decline of academic standards – including in nursing degrees – in Australian universities?

The program exposed mass plagiarism, ‘soft marking’ and the bribery of academics as common in Australia’s higher education sector, linked to the need to make money through taking high numbers of international students. Academics spoke of the pressure not to fail students, even if they clearly were not able to pass assignments or exams.


Two retired nursing academics from two of the country’s largest nursing faculties, the University of Western Sydney (UWS) and the Australian Catholic University (ACU), said weak students are being undeservedly awarded nursing degrees, potentially endangering public safety.

Watch the program online.

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Posted in: Education, Student nurses
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The number four

Nurses encounter all sorts of moving, sometimes heartbreaking, situations. Amanda is an RN who works in paediatrics. This is one of her stories.

Basking in the extra attention given by the nurses, the child was open to all and had an innocence appropriate to her six years of age.

She had recently been removed from the care of her mother, due to gross medical neglect, and had become a little favourite on our ward.

Most times I tended to her, she would ask me to phone her mother. “But I don’t know her number”, I fibbed.

“It’s 4″, came her perplexing answer.


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Posted in: Nursing experiences, Paediatrics

Annette’s 50 years at Dorrigo Hospital

Enrolled nurse Annette Clark recently celebrated her 50th anniversary of working at Dorrigo Multi-Purpose Service on the NSW mid north coast.

Annette started at Dorrigo Hospital in 1965 as a domestic. Fresh out of school and 16 years old, she found her new working life very exciting and could be found helping the nurses whenever she got the time, as there were no electric beds, patient lifters or wardpeople in those days.

Annette Clark Old Photo

50 years ago – Annette Clark as a young girl about to start a lifetime of service with Dorrigo Hospital.

“The hospital had 25 beds,” Annette said. “Nurses were expected to do everything, from assisting with operations, delivering babies, caring for the elderly as well as dealing with all manner of emergencies.

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Posted in: Enrolled nurses, Nursing experiences, nursing history
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The impact of genital mutilation on mothers and babies

Midwifery and public health researchers from the University of Technology Sydney have led Australia’s first study of the obstetric outcomes for women with female genital mutilation (FGM) and its impact on their babies.

Conducted in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Sydney and funded by the Federal Department of Health, the study is informing the development of an online FGM education package to equip health professionals.

The results of the study were published in February in the journal Midwifery.


Research Fellow Dr Angela Dawson from the UTS Centre for Midwifery, Child and Family Health said the research has provided insights into the care women and their babies require in order to save lives and reduce disability.

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Posted in: Advocacy, Education

Report back: health and environmental sustainability conference

Janet Roden attended the Health and Environmental Sustainability conference put on in Melbourne last month by the Victorian branch of the Australian Nurses and Midwives’ Federation. Janet reports back on two inspiring speakers. NSWNMA will be holding a seminar on Environmental Health in Liverpool (southwestern Sydney) on Friday 15 May.

Three hundred nurses came to this Friday conference in Melbourne and they were very enthusiastic. The organisers hadn’t expected such a large attendance!


I  listened to a very inspiring paper delivered by Kirsty Albion, National Co-Director of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and Young Environmentalist of the Year 2013. Continue reading

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Posted in: Advocacy, Climate change
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