The Right Nurse Campaign is about protecting patient safety from budget cuts that undermine the proper nursing skill mix in healthcare settings. There is no doubt cutting Registered Nurse numbers poses a serious risk to patient well-being in our hospitals, Mr Holmes.
Managing today’s clinical environments requires skilled nurse leaders who understand but can also manage this complexity to ensure a safe and work environment for staff and positive outcomes for patients.
Despite the findings in this report, NSW health has proposed the introduction of untrained nursing assistants or health care assistants. I am worried that the employment of these workers will not assist registered nurses but substitute us.
The Garling Report released this year stated that nurses were carrying out too many duties that did not require the expertise and skills of a registered nurse. Although this would suggest that more assistance is needed, this does not mean that we should relinquish nursing duties and cares.
Assistants In Nursing are valuable to our nursing teams but cannot and should not replace the jobs of trained and educated registered and enrolled nurses. Yesterday the Health Minister for NSW, John Della-Bosca, addressed the NSW Nurses’ Association’s Annual Conference. He claimed that he had heard of no plan to replace registered nurses with these new health care workers.
Unfortunately, as an association and as a professional body we cannot blindly believe this statement. My skepticism is based on information provided by members of the NSWNA who claimed that the NSW Department of Health already planed to replace 200 registered nurses.
On Thursday, hundreds of nurses who are members of the NSWNA took to the streets of Sydney in their lunch break to rally against the introduction of these health care assistance chanting “right nurse, right place, right time.” I attended this rally as I believe we need to protect our skill mix for the safety of a our patients and the nursing profession.
What do you think?