Ratios Set To Roll

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The new nursing hours/ratios system is being implemented progressively in public hospital wards, and the first tranche of wards selected by the NSWNA and NSW Health is now converting to the nursing hours/ratios system.

Around 45 public health system wards will convert to the new system in July, and funding has been made available by NSW Health to increase staffing in these wards. It will mean about 180 FTE extra nursing positions.

The surgical oncology/gynaecology ward at RPA Hospital is in the first tranche of public health system wards to convert to the new nursing hours/ratios system. Left to right: Adi Tabaiwalu, Aaron Chadwick, Loretta Scarselletta, Lisa Bullock, Estela Swynny and Aaron Jones.

The new nursing hours/ratios system will be progressively implemented in eligible public hospital wards. All eligible wards must have converted to the new nursing hours/ratios system by July 2013. The selection of wards in each tranche is being agreed by the NSWNA and NSW Health.

The Lamp spoke with two nurses working in public health system wards about to convert to the new system.

Nursing hours will make a huge difference

‘I’m very excited that nurse ratios will be rolling out in my ward this month,’ said Sue. ‘Ratios will mean an extra 2.8 FTE nursing roles. It will make a huge difference.

‘At the beginning there will be details to work out. Being an acute medical ward, we have heavy workloads. The extra hands will make a difference.’

Sue says the nursing hours/ratios system will also help to better ensure safe patient care.

‘Nurses will have more time for patient care,’ said Sue.

Having time to do your nursing role properly will also boost staff morale and improve job satisfaction, especially for the younger nurses. It can be very frustrating when you can’t give patients the time you think they need.’

Aaron Jones, NUM in the Surgical Oncology and Gynaecology ward at RPA Hospital, is excited about being one of the first wards to have nurse-to-patient ratios.

‘It will make a big difference on my ward,’ said Aaron.

‘Nurse ratios will enhance the nursing care provided to patients. It will also provide an opportunity for me to do succession planning. I’ll be able to mentor staff and I’ll be free to focus on the NUM role and work more closely supervising staff,’ he said.

Aaron believes that ratios will affect the model of care applied on his ward.

‘We are planning to create a new admissions and discharge nursing role to help with the safe admission and discharge of patients to and from the ward.

‘This will mean smoother patient flow. It will also free me up to focus on a senior clinical role. At the moment I do the admission and discharge of patients, which takes me away from other clinical and supervisory duties.

‘We’ll also be able to improve skill mix on the ward. We’ll be able to have more new grad nurses and AiNs because nurse ratios mean we can better support these staff, and extra hands on board mean RNs will be able to focus on their RN role.’

What are you most looking forward to when ratios is implemented into your ward? How will it change your day to day working environment?

Image credit:NSWNA

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