“A step forward” for staffing and patient care in NSW


NSWNA general secretary, Brett Holmes said the staffing changes in the new agreement with the State Government, are a big step forward for staffing and patient care in the NSW public health system.

“While there are still some areas that need work in future agreements, these new arrangements do provide for minimum, legally-enforceable staffing ratios in most hospital settings. The improvements are an acceptance by the State Government that the principle of mandated, minimum nurse-to-patient ratios is important if we are to improve the quality of the NSW hospital system.

“NSWNA members can see that and have voted to lock in the gains made during this first nurse-to-patient ratio’s campaign. We will continue to build on these gains in the years ahead, especially in the areas of skill mix, community health, other specialties and smaller hospitals.”

The proposed improvements will deliver approximately 1400 extra full-time-equivalent nurses in NSW hospitals by 2013 and more than 80 per cent of them will be registered nurses.

The extra 188 resuscitation nurses should see significant improvements in the quality and timeliness of care in the State’s larger emergency departments.

“Emergency department nurses themselves identified these extra nurses as their biggest priority and NSW Health is to be congratulated for listening to these experienced staff.

“Unfortunately NSW H ealth has not been as cooperative, at this stage, on community health services and that is something the NSWNA will be working very hard on over the next couple of years.

“The NSWNA will continue to remind the NSW and federal governments that community health services are an essential link in our hospital and healthcare system. They are, in fact, the future of healthcare for most Australians and we need to get the nursing and midwifery levels right if they are to do the important and expanding job expected of them.

“So, while there is still some work to be done, there is also no doubt that this new pay and staffing agreement represents a significant and positive reform of our public healthcare system.” Mr Holmes said.

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  1. I was looking forward to the possibility of total pt care (TPC) until my present NUM who I actually thought was a forward thinker stated that she preferred team nursing and that rather than having your own pt’s and doing everything for them she wanted to keep the current way of doing things where you have 8-10 pts with an EN or EEN and she will actually have RN’s doing the EN role rather than have TPC practised on her ward. There are +’s for both methods, but I find the negative is that when you don’t look after the Whole pt and are just handing out meds and chasing dr’s or allied health etc all day you can miss vital information about your pt if the person you are working with does not pass the info on. I am a former EN and I loved that role, I also miss that part of the job and I understand that most of the RN’s doing the EN role for a shift enjoy this aspect of personal care for their pt and thats why it happens. My NUM believes that working with someone else alleviates mistakes or things being missed in the care and that is why she organises the ward this way. I was looking forward to TPC with support if needed from the team but I can’t see this happening on this particular ward and wonder if there are any wards out there that actually do this as it is why I became an RN. I will keep searching for my nirvana LOL as that is another reason I became an RN as I now have the flexibility to go where I want and not get stuck somewhere that I will become bitter and whinge all day which I see happening around me some days.


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