Emergency room nurses undermined and undervalued

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The 2018 NSWNMA Award claim regarding nurse to patient ratios, including Clinical Nurse Educators (CNE) for every shift, can’t come quickly enough for the Emergency Room Nurses at Sydney Hospital and Sydney Eye Hospital (SHSEH).

The Emergency Room nurses have been without clinical nurse education for 2 years since the restructuring of Nursing Education Research Learning Unit (NERLU) resulting in the Emergency Department’s (ED) Clinical Nurse Consultants’ removal from any clinical education role or responsibilities and the Nursing Executive’s failure to appoint an Emergency Department-specific Clinical Nurse Educator. The Emergency Department is the only ward/unit in the hospital without a CNE.

SHSEH Emergency Nurses, as per their Code of Ethics, value nursing care and recognise that they are accountable for the decisions they make regarding a person’s care, accept their moral and legal responsibilities for ensuring they have the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to provide safe and competent emergency nursing care and practice within the boundaries of their professional role.

Emergency nurses are concerned about the lack of clinical education in the emergency service’s primary goal to provide initial resuscitation and/or stabilisation of the critically ill patient and the impact on patient safety and quality, productivity, staff morale, recruitment and retention and the multidisciplinary and ward teams.

The triage nurse role in emergency requires advanced clinical decision making expertise and the emergency nursing staff agreed they will not be deprived of their right to clinical education, undermined and undervalued by the Nursing Administration at SHSEH.

We have seen a combination of:

  • micromanagement,
  • the merger of the Eye ED with the General ED,
  • chronic understaffing,
  • a reluctance by nursing administration to pay overtime,
  • no agency staff,
  • no emergency nursing specific casual pool,
  • no replacement of staff or with unqualified ward nurses,
  • unsafe skill mix,
  • no facilitators to complete assessment of transition to ED nursing and triage roles through Area courses and,
  • lack of accredited Advanced Life Support (ALS) nursing staff to attend code blue emergencies hospital wide, and Nursing Unit Managers being directed to undertake the clinical education role and responsibilities.

These issues have forced the united emergency nursing staff to raise their concerns with SHSEH NSWNMA Branch who voted and agreed to a resolution requesting the appointment of 2 ED specific CNE’s by the Director of Nursing without delay.

Sydney Hospital Sydney Eye Hospital was recently voted by the Australian Patient’s Association as the most outstanding City hospital in Australia. The Emergency Room Nurses have absolutely nothing outstanding to say about the Nursing Administration’s disregard of agreed SHSEH nursing values, specifically teamwork and learning.

Share your nursing experiences by emailing us at nurseuncut@nswnma.asn.au

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