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Issue 25 17/12/12 fortnightly

New Year, New Career Nursing profession saddened at death of UK nurse Midwife follows her instincts to career change Who should fix the grad nursing crisis? Victorian paramedics ride morale low

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•CASUAL AIN’s (Cert IV) • TIME AIN’s (Cert III) • FOR Professionalism • Respect for ideas and experience • Strong leadership FORyour PERMANENT, & PART/FULL POSITIONS BE A PART OF APART/FULL NEW ERA OF: PERMANENT, CASUAL & TIME POSITIONS • Competitive above base salary • Professionalism • Respect for your ideas andaward experience • Strong leadership Mark Moran at Little Bay is currently attracting:

enjoy: enjoy: enjoy:

• Employee Benefits Card – more take home pay • Registered • Endorsed Enrolled Nurses •Mark Flexible lifestyleat Nurses Moran Little Bay is currently attracting: AIN’s (Cert IV) • AIN’s (Cert III) • A strong focus •on education & retraining • Registered Nurses Endorsed Enrolled Nurses •• Competitive Competitive above award•award base salary FOR PERMANENT, CASUAL & PART/FULL TIME POSITIONS Working closer toabove home • base salary •“People Competitive above award base salary • AIN’s (Cert IV) • AIN’s (Cert III) here are all motivated and A beautifully appointed luxury facility • Employee Benefits Card – more take home payPOSITIONS friendly” -RN few who “I of thefew lucky • Employee Benefits Card – moreTIME take home pay FOR PERMANENT, CASUAL & PART/FULL “I am one ofam theonelucky who • Easy – all more day, on-street parking •“The Employee Benefits Card take home pay gets to wake up each day and go • Flexible lifestyle training here is fantastic. There gets to wake up each day and go •• Flexible lifestyle Stunning coastal location of Little Bay, Sydney isaaplace lot. There comprehensive • Competitive above award base salary love are towith work with great o to a place I•tolove Flexible lifestyle to Iwork great lectures regularly” - RN • A strong focus on education & retraining • Friendly, fun environment • A strong focus & retraining • Employee Benefitson Cardeducation – more take home pay friendly - AINfew who friendly staff” AIN at “I am one of- staff” the lucky • Competitive above award base salary • Agetsstrong focus & retraining to wake up each day andon go education •Working Flexible closer lifestyle •• Working to home closer to home • Employee Benefits Card more take home to aam place I love toPROFESSIONALS workfew withwho EXPERIENCED SHOULD: a legal right –and visas to work in pay Australia. Submit “Iare one theall lucky • Abeautifully strongHave focus on education & luxury retraining “People here all motivated andgreat “People hereof are motivated and staff” -Letter AIN ••• A appointed facility •friendly” Working closer home A beautifully appointed luxury facility gets to friendly wake upCover each day and to goto updated CV & (With reference ID: CCC1STC) Flexible lifestyle -RN -RN with great • Working closer to home to a place Ifriendly” love to work nd A strong focus on education & retraining ••• Easy day, on-street parking “People here are all motivated and allallday, on-street parking friendly staff” - AIN appointed • A beautifully luxury facility •Easy A beautifully appointed luxury facility -RN There “The training isfriendly” fantastic. Working closer to home “Thehere training here is fantastic. There •• Stunning coastal location of • Easy all day, on-street parking •• Stunning coastal locationluxury of Little Bay,Little SydneyBay, Sydney here are allismotivated and is a lot. There are comprehensive •“People Easy all day, on-street “The training here fantastic. There Aparking beautifully appointed facility is a lot. There are comprehensive • Stunning coastal location of Little Bay, Sydney friendly” -RN - RN a lot. There are comprehensive •• Friendly, fun environment here lecturesisregularly” Easy all day, on-street parking lectures regularly” - -RN fun environment lectureshere regularly” RNTherelocation •Friendly, Friendly, fun environment • Stunning coastal of Little Bay, Sydney “The training is fantastic. • Stunning coastal location of Little Bay, Sydney ve is a lot. There are comprehensive lectures regularly” RN • Friendly, fun environment • Friendly, fun environment “I am one of the lucky few who gets to wake up each day and go to a place I love to work with great friendly staff” - AIN

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Is it time for a change for you?

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Nursing Careers Allied Health - Issue 25 | Page 3 Issue 25 – 17 December 2012 We hope you enjoy perusing the range of opportunities included in Issue 25, 2012. If you are interested in pursuing any of these opportunities, please contact the advertiser directly via the contact details provided. If you have any queries about our publication or if you would like to receive our publication, please email us at “FACT, NOT FICTION” The NCAH Magazine distribution is independently audited by the Circulations Audit Board. Total Audited Print and Digital Distribution: 28,090 The NCAH Magazine is the most widely distributed national nursing and allied health publication in Australia For all advertising and production enquiries please contact us on +61 (0) 3 9271 8700, email or visit If you would like to change your mailing address, or be included on our distribution, please email

Advertiser List ACT Health - Womens, Youth and Children AHN Recruitment CCM Recruitment Central Queensland University CQ Nurse Delmont Private eNurse Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council Koala Nursing Agency Lifescreen Mark Moran Medacs Healthcare Mercy Health & Aged Care

Published by Seabreeze Communications Pty Ltd Trading as NCAH. ABN 29 071 328 053. © 2012 Seabreeze Communications Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher. Compliance with the Trade Practices Act 1974 of advertisements contained in this publication is the responsibility of those who submit the advertisement for publication.

Oxford Aunts Patricia Whites Pulse Staffing Quick & Easy Finance Remote Area Health Corps Unified Healthcare Group University of Technology Sydney

Next Publication: New Year, New Career Publication Date: Monday 14th January 2013 Colour Artwork Deadline: Monday 7th January 2013 Mono Artwork Deadline: Wednesday 9th January 2013

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Nursing Careers Allied Health - Issue 25 | Page 5

1225-003 1PG FULL COLOUR CMYK (typeset) Adtype: No: SD 2102262V11 Reference Daily Dates:2x 11dec12 Size: 15.0 Cms X

Week First: WeekTotal:$2798.40 Next: .20 Weekly:$ 0.00 For eference No: 2102262V11 Publn:SCO SCO Adtype:11dec12 SD Classification: CPVG Daily Dates:2x Size: 15.0 Cms X 4 Cols Lines: 0 Daily First:11dec12 Daily Next:11dec12 Weekly:$ 0.00 Total:$2798.40 Week First: Price:$1399.20 Week Next: Classification: For Publn:SCO SCO CPVG Weekly 4 Cols Lines: 0

Daily Next:11dec12 Week No: Next: Reference 2102262V11 For Publn:SCO SCO Classification: Daily Dates:2x 11dec12 CPVG 4Daily Cols Lines: 0 First:11dec12 Daily Next:11dec12

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For Publn:SCO


• Superb rural seaside location - Warrnambool, Victoria – the progressive City by the Sea • Join the Allied Health team at Lyndoch Living – Award winning Aged Care and Rehabilitation facility • New graduates will also be considered Sea change opportunity, located in Warrnambool, Lyndoch Living is a leading provider of community service programs in South West Victoria. Warrnambool is the largest city on the Great Ocean Road located 3 hours south west of Melbourne.

The city boasts exceptional education, health, sporting and recreational facilities and offers a fantastic lifestyle to either a single person or a family. An exciting opportunity exists for a physiotherapist to join our Community based dynamic multi-disciplinary team. Rehabilitation services are provided to clients living in the community via our Community Rehabilitation Centre and Rehabilitation in the Home programs, treating a wide range of conditions. Candidates will need to demonstrate: • Eligibility to practice in Victoria (AHPRA registration) • A commitment to best practice providing services to older people and young people with disabilities • Ability to work autonomously and deliver a high standard of care • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to participate in a multidisciplinary team

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Queensland nursing project improves patient safety by Karen Keast A unique project is pioneering the way Queensland’s frontline nurses access and use data to improve patient safety.

Hospital, Longreach Hospital, Townsville Hospital, Prince Charles Hospital and Princess Alexandra Hospital.

The state-wide Nurse Sensitive Indicator (NSI) project, the first of its kind in Australia, was recently a finalist in the IPAA Queensland Public Sector Excellence Awards and has received national and international recognition.

After follow up improvements, QH nursing leaders – now for the first time- have the ability to compare and benchmark the nursing performance at 114 hospitals across the state.

Sandra Moss, Princess Alexandra Hospital nurse and NSI project manager, said the NSI reporting tool produces a range of organisational dashboards and reports, enabling each facility’s nursing leaders to monitor, trend, analyse and benchmark performance for numerous patient safety and nursing workforce indicators.

Nurses also have equal access to statewide patient safety data, helping nurses to drive quality and safety improvements for patients, while the reporting tool has also led to improved efficiency and savings estimated at up to $45,000 a month.

“In 2009, three discussion papers were tabled at the Director of Nursing and Midwifery Committee that identified the importance of capturing Nurse Sensitive Indicators for patient safety, quality, policy direction, cost efficiency, information equity and transparency,” she said. The Queensland Health project, commissioned by the Nursing and Midwifery Office Queensland in partnership with the hospital, first investigated existing NSI reporting practices throughout the state. Consultation and collaboration was then held with a range of groups, data source teams, universities and QH stakeholders to help develop a process and structure to create the tool. Ms Moss said two consultants came on board to build the NSI tool, which uses five QH systems linked into the one report, with key stakeholders providing data from their systems to populate the tool. The reporting tool was pilot trialled and evaluated at six QH facilities earlier this year, including Cairns Base Hospital, Gympie Page 10 |

“The importance of developing a standardised NSI reporting process has wide implications on patient safety, quality, policy direction, cost efficiency, information equity, transparency, reporting governance and accountability whilst enabling nursing contributions to be measured, recognised and valued,” Ms Moss said. “The project has delivered standardised, automated, evidence-based, resource efficient management tools and processes with common corporate-based data sources, which strengthened the position of nursing in QH to inform strategic quality decisions.” Ms Moss said while the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, there was more work to be done to improve the NSI reporting tool. “Numerous recommendations were obtained during the project and will inform the future direction of the state-wide NSI reports,” she said. “Currently planning is underway to enhance, progress and expand the NSI reports.”

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Nursing Careers Allied Health - Issue 25 | Page 11

Taking that step, making that change, doing something different with your life

Registered Nurse and Midwife Helen Kempton has had a fulfilling nursing career both in Melbourne, country Victoria and Tasmania but it wasn’t until she started remote nursing in the Northern Territory that she knew remote nursing was what she wanted to be doing. “I had a foot in two camps (city and country) which at the end of the day served me well because I was equally comfortable in both big city hospitals and small country environments where you dealt with people from all walks of life and all backgrounds,” Helen said. “Moving around was based on circumstances but it gave me lots of experiences and you get to meet some amazing people. It also encourages you to have the confidence to change direction, which a lot of people don’t have”. Helen’s placement in Gunyangara, a small community about 20kms out of Nhulunbuy in Page 12 |

the Northern Territory, was not her first time nursing there but it was the first placement she had undertaken through Remote Area Health Corps (RAHC) and she was more than impressed. “RAHC, through Northern Territory General Practice Education (NTGPE), provides face to face cultural and clinical training which I was excited about because I had never had any dedicated orientation or cultural awareness training. During my first time remote I just went in and was embraced by the community. They taught me a lot but now that I had that experience behind me I was excited to do some training,” Helen said. “One of the things that I really admire about RAHC is that they recognise that you shouldn’t cut corners and that training is very important. It was two of the best days I’ve had. I met amazing people and the cultural awareness

Helen is a great believer in people having the opportunity to change paths and finding something you love doing. “I have so many friends from my different layers of life who say ‘we would love to do what you do but we aren’t game’ or ‘we’re not confident to do it’, but it is really just about making the move. You find the networks are very supportive,” Helen said. “You know here I am at this stage in my life and I can’t wait to get back up there. “I will always come back to RAHC because of the opportunity to do short term placements, now I don’t want to do anything else. I know that with absolute surety. I have been offered jobs back down in Melbourne but I know in my heart that remote nursing is what I want to do.

“If you really do want to give it a go every little difference leads to a bigger difference. RAHC can give you the opportunity that you otherwise might not have. You don’t have to burn your bridges and walk away from your old job, a short term placement is an ideal way to get your foot in the door. “I have done a lot of different things but this has generated that energy where you really want to do something – it’s more than a job. It is a really nice thing to feel again and RAHC has been instrumental in that,” Helen said. The Remote Area Health Corps (RAHC) offers short-term paid placements to urban-based health professionals to support the hard working permanent health workforce in over 100 remote Indigenous communities all over the Northern Territory. If you are looking for a new experience visit the RAHC website ( and see how you can help make a difference.


New BegiNNiNgs for Midwifery at CQUniversity aUstralia CQUniversity is proud to announce the introduction of our new Graduate Diploma of Midwifery available to study from term 1, 2013*. • Contemporary midwifery education • Flexibility to study by distance education • Professional practice experience at one primary clinical site while you study Visit or call 13CQUni 13 27 86 for more information.

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trainer was the most amazing guy. I came out of those two days just so inspired and so keen to get back out there and felt really well equipped to do my placement.”

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Nursing Careers Allied Health - Issue 25 | Page 13

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Looking for a change? Why not consider an exciting new career with Mercy Health & Aged Care? Mercy Health & Aged Care Central Queensland Ltd has 5 Mater Hospitals which are located in Mackay, Yeppoon, Gladstone, Rockhampton & Bundaberg. We also have Aged Care facilities in Rockhampton. • We are one of Queensland’s highest paying private health and aged care employers; • Offer diverse career opportunities for Nurses and Midwives, Carer’s, Allied Health Professionals and all support services; • Flexibility to suit your lifestyle and commitments; • Professional Development opportunities; • Friendly and supportive working environment. Find out more or search for vacancies at: or call our recruitment team on (07) 4931 7478 today!

Nursing Careers Allied Health - Issue 25 | Page 15

From merchandise planner to nurse Catherine Martin of Geelong (Victoria) had always had the idea of pursuing a career in nursing, but it was only after a career as a merchandise planner for well-known retailers such as Target and Kookai that she took the plunge. “When I left school I studied for a business degree, but I’d always had an interest in healthcare too. Those were the two paths that were open to me and I took the former.” It transpired that the glamour and fast pace of retail and fashion weren’t enough to “go the distance” in terms of a fulfilling career however. “I took a career break and travelled and worked overseas from 2007 to 2009 and I remember thinking; this just isn’t really for me,” Catherine recalls. “Then when I got back to Australia, I picked up some temp work and ended up getting a job in a medical centre. I ended up managing the clinic which definitely helped crystallise what I wanted to do.” Catherine applied for a nursing degree by correspondence with the University of South Australia, which she has just completed. “It was a challenge switching careers and going back to study, but I have a very supportive partner. I’m not sure I would have been able to do it without him.” “I’ve just finished the degree and I’ve been lucky enough to obtain a nurse graduate It wasn’t easy going back to study and there were certainly some tough times, but it’s important to do something that fulfils you, and nursing is certainly that. – Catherine Martin, Graduate Nurse Geelong Hospital Page 16 |

Catherine Martin position at Geelong Hospital, starting in January. These positions are highly sought after due to a shortage in placements so I feel incredibly fortunate to have secured one.” In the long term, Catherine has it in mind to utilise her business experience in nurse management. She says the horizons offered by her new career are broad and promising however. “It’s such a good career. There are so many things you can do within nursing.” “To anyone who’s considering switching to nursing, I’d say to them ‘just do it!’.” “It wasn’t easy going back to study and there were certainly some tough times, but it’s important to do something that fulfils you, and nursing is certainly that.”

Have you thought about working remote in 2013? With a range of short-term paid placements available for Registered Nurses in remote Indigenous communities all over the Northern Territory, joining RAHC allows you the opportunity to make a real difference to Indigenous health in Australia, while still keeping your regular job back home.

Visit our new website today to find out more.

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Get involved. free call 1300 697 242

Nursing Careers Allied Health - Issue 25 | Page 17

Midwife follows her instincts to career change by Karen Keast Midwife and maternal and child health nurse Naomi Brown wanted to offer mums more than what she could while working in the public health system.

“It’s been quite hard but the few clients I have had have been really rewarding and that makes me feel that this is the right decision,” she said.

So in mid-2011, the Melbourne midwife took a major leap of faith and embarked on her own aptly titled venture, Finding Your Instincts, where she now helps new mums to do exactly that – find their instincts with their baby or children.

“I think it’s the fact that I can give a lot more time to women, and I see how much women and their partners appreciate that time.

“The hospital system was getting busier and busier and I felt I was not able to provide as high a standard of care as I would like to because of the sheer demand of work,” she said.

“They enjoy their babies that little bit more and it helps them feel more confident as a parent which I think has huge implications.”

“This way, I have more of a connection with my clients and feel more rewarded as a result.”

As her own boss, Naomi is able to work around her clients and visit them at home while providing continuity of care and consistent advice.

Naomi completed a double degree to graduate as a nurse and midwife and later did her masters in Child Family and Community Health for two years part-time through La Trobe University, and has since worked in the hospital system as a midwife and worked as a maternal and child health nurse for the City of Melbourne. Naomi, who is also a lactation consultant, now provides pregnancy through to early childhood care as a privately practising midwife and maternal and child health nurse, and operates clinics through Midwives and Mothers Australia (MAMA) at Kensington. Naomi said launching her own private practice has been tough. While her business is continuing to build its client base, Naomi has worked for two agencies; a maternal and child health nurse agency and a general agency, to financially support her business dream. Page 18 |

“If I can help them in some small way it’s very rewarding.

“I think it’s good for women to have the option to choose a service that suits them, without having to go to a service that they have to fit into,” she said. “I think for people who aren’t feeling very supported it’s important to have private services that are available to them.” Naomi urged other healthcare professionals considering a career change to surround themselves with a strong professional network. “I think it’s really important to have a network with other practitioners that you know who are doing the same thing as you, so that you can talk to them about the challenges as well as the positive experiences that you have,” she said. “It is hard work but I think the rewards outweigh the hard work in the end.”

that is what you will take to the next chapter of your career not just what you are doing right now. If you were part of a netball team, remember the teamwork, stamina, courage, determination and so on that you used then. They are all resources you have and can draw on anytime you need them, you may just have forgotten they are there. Find your passion There is no better feeling than doing what you love and loving what you do. So spend some time reconnecting with what you love to do. The quality of your life is based upon the questions you ask yourself. Think about what you’ve truly loved doing throughout your career. Ask yourself what would my ideal job look like? Dream, write, visualise your fantasy job and then explore how that could be possible. Have a plan and a goal

Five top tips to a fresh career start in 2013 – from life coach Anita Dickons at Above the Line Thinking Be honest with yourself While it sometimes takes a crisis for us to make a change in our lives, a good indication that you are no longer fulfilled is a lack of energy and enthusiasm on a daily basis. When the pain of desperation overrides the pain of action you’ll start moving towards your new career. Being self-aware can short cut this journey so you act sooner. If you take responsibility for where you are at it makes choice and change a possibility. Blow your trumpet Start with a list of your skills, strengths, resources, learning, achievements, greatest lessons etc. It’s easy to compartmentalise our lives and not make links between them all. Remember you are all of those things and

evaluated your options, take Once you have the time to set out a plan and ask yourself questions such as - do I need to retrain, do I need to develop specific skills; how can I do that? If I need to study how can I support that? What is my compelling reason why? Take the time to read, research and study this area or areas of interest. Look for mentors and people in your desired profession or skill area to speak with.

Reinvent your current role As an alternative to a completely new career path, it may pay to simply make a few changes to the role you currently have or look where you are able to experience new challenges, ways in which to contribute or to see where you feel you are able to serve best and what serves you best. You are never too old or too entrenched in any given profession to make a change. Focus on the experience that you’ve gained and the skills you have acquired rather than possible excuses for not moving forward. Nursing Careers Allied Health - Issue 25 | Page 19

Smooth sailing for nursing career in Defence by Karen Keast With a new year on the horizon, there are ample opportunities for exploring a new career or even broadening the scope of the career you already have. Just ask clinical nurse Paul Wirth, who works in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide. Paul is also an active Defence Reservist who has taken his professional skills as far afield as the Netherlands, Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor and Bougainville. The Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Australian Navy Reserve has been an active Reservist for about 20 years. Paul originally had his eye on a career in the Defence Force and when he enlisted in the Navy as a medic in 1985 they suggested he first complete a nursing course. “I did Enrolled Nurse training from 1985 to 1986 and Registered Nurse training from 1987 to 1990,” he said. “I had not anticipated a career in nursing; it just evolved.” Paul worked at Hampstead Centre, Pier Private Hospital and Repatriation General Hospital before working at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, where he has worked in haematology/ oncology and PICU. Paul now works part-time at the hospital, balancing two 12-hour shifts a week with his career in the Reserves. As a Reservist, Paul has had stints in Defence hospitals in East Timor, Bougainville and at Afghanistan, from where he was deployed to the Netherlands for a Mission Rehearsal Exercise. But it was his time as an ICU nurse at the USAF hospital in Iraq that stands out, due to the volume of trauma casualties, the workload Page 20 |

The command, management and leadership skills that I have learnt from Defence have certainly influenced how I conduct myself in the workplace. – Paul Wirth Clinical Nurse and the experiences shared with Australian and American personnel. “It is hard to imagine experiencing anything like Iraq again,” he said. Paul plans to stay on in PICU, where he enjoys the variety and complexity of his nursing job, and he recently transferred to the Navy Reserves, where he hopes to go to sea on the largest ships ever built for the RAN - the Amphibious Assault Ships also known as the Landing Helicopter Docks (LHDs), with the first due to be commissioned in 2014. Paul said nurses and other health professionals interested in pursuing a career in the Reserves could bring with them a range of professional skills not found in the Australian Defence Force, such as the competency and currency of being up to date with best practice and technology. Paul has also taken some of the valuable skills, learnt as a Reservist, back into his civilian nursing career. “The command, management and leadership skills that I have learnt from Defence have certainly influenced how I conduct myself in the workplace,” he said. “Being able to make quick, informed decisions and then communicate them effectively to my colleagues is a vital skill to have. I have learnt and refined this in the Reserves.” For more information visit

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To register phone +61 2 9239 5700 fax +61 2 9241 3345 Nursing Careers Allied Health - Issue 25 | Page 21

Who should fix the grad nursing crisis? by Karen Keast The Australian Nursing Federation is upping the ante in its campaign to help nursing graduates secure jobs with a new online poll. The poll, on the union’s website, aims to give nurses, midwives and members of the public a voice as Australia faces a looming nursing crisis, amid a predicted shortage of more than 109,000 nurses by 2025. The poll puts the Federal Government firmly in the spotlight; asking if Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek should do more to fix the graduate nursing crisis. It also questions whether Prime Minister Julia Gillard should waive HECS fees for nurse graduates who accept employment in areas of need. “There is a growing shortage of nurses and midwives across Australia and it’s only going to get worse,” ANF federal secretary Lee Thomas said in a statement. “Unless this is addressed now, safe patient care will be compromised and it will be the sick and the vulnerable who will suffer. “That’s why the ANF, as Australia’s largest health union, is calling on the Federal Government to work with state and territory governments to find solutions to the nursing crisis by funding a range of strategies which will ensure employment of graduate nurses and midwives and also importantly deliver the ongoing promotion of safe patient care.” The poll comes after the ANF launched a national campaign, titled ‘Stop passing the buck, Australia’s nursing grads need jobs!’, in response to “slash and burn budget-cuts” threatening the future of the nation’s nursing and midwifery workforce. It follows a major drop in the number of public health sector jobs offered to nursing graduates across most of Australia, with hundreds of Page 22 |

graduates missing out on nursing jobs. At this stage Queensland is the worst affected, with just 270 nurses, or less than 10 per cent, of the 2765 applications Queensland Health received through its graduate nurse online recruitment system receiving job offers in the latest round. In Victoria, more than 800 graduate nurses will be left without jobs while employment of Tasmanian nursing graduates is down 40 per cent, and the WA Department of Health has offered 827 graduate nurses and midwives places in its graduate program amid reports almost 1400 people applied. New South Wales and South Australia’s public health sectors are also facing major cost-saving cuts. The ANF is calling on federal and state governments to support a raft of strategies in a bid to secure employment for nursing graduates and for the ongoing promotion of safe patient care. Measures include waiving HECS fees for graduates who accept employment in areas of needs, state and federal government funding for 24-hour, seven day-a-week clinical supervision and mentoring, rotation through non-traditional graduate areas such as primary care and aged care, and joint state and federal funding for graduate positions. Ms Thomas said the campaign has so far prompted more than 2300 emails to politicians, with 800 emails sent to Ms Plibersek and 2000 people signing up to show their support. “We want to hear from ANF members as well as the public about who should fix Australia’s nursing crisis and how it could be done,” Ms Thomas said. To complete the poll visit

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Nursing Careers Allied Health - Issue 25 | Page 23

Pioneering Parkinson’s nurse role in jeopardy by Karen Keast New South Wales will lose its vital communitybased Parkinson’s nurse in February.

which costs the Australian economy $8 billion a year.

The state, which pioneered research into the importance of specialist Parkinson’s nurses through the renowned Shoalhaven trial and influenced other states to introduce the role, will now join Queensland as one of the only two states in Australia where the specialist service is not available.

In a two-year study, researchers at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Research Institute teamed with Parkinson’s Australia and Parkinson’s New South Wales to evaluate the impact of Parkinson’s nurses on their patients and carers in the Shoalhaven region.

Funding for the role will finish early next year and now the State Government says the responsibility to provide the $150,000 needed lies with the Commonwealth. The position originally received Commonwealth funding and funds from a private benefactor until February this year, and the role has since been funded by the benefactor and a pharmaceutical company while the Bendigo Bank has supplied a car and covered its costs. Parkinson’s NSW CEO Miriam Dixon said she was extremely disappointed the role could cease. “We are absolutely devastated and we think it’s absolutely outrageous that the funding is not going to be continued,” she said. “The impressive list of benefits that a specialist Parkinson’s nurse brings, including delayed entrance to aged care facilities and reduced anxiety for patients and carers, reiterates the need for this essential service, especially in the context of rural and remote areas of NSW where medical personnel are already under strain and under-resourced.” In the United Kingdom there are 310 Parkinson’s nurses and there have been calls for Australia to follow suit, with a national network of community-based nurses to help improve the quality of life for more than 64,000 Australians affected by the neurodegenerative disease Page 24 |

Their research found Parkinson’s nurse specialists significantly reduce the physical and psychological burden of patients and their carers. And research in the UK shows a single Parkinson’s nurse can save an average of $57,831 in clinical appointments each year and $105,600 in avoided hospitalisations each year. Parkinson’s neurodegenerative nurse Mirilia Pereira, who has spent 20 years as a neurodegenerative nurse after an earlier career as a lab technician, has received 292 referrals in three years and now has 224 active clients, with more than 60 per cent of those clients in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s. Ms Pereira said her clients face an uncertain future if alternate funding is not found. “I think they will end up in nursing homes prematurely or go into the hospital every time there’s a change in their Parkinson’s,” she said. “The emergency departments and GPs will see a lot more of these clients for things that can be managed in the home. “I think that if the service doesn’t continue here in the Shoalhaven that a lot of clients will be disappointed. “When I get a referral I don’t just get a client, I also get their carer and family members. I deal with carers’ issues as well.”

Ms Pereira said she was more concerned about her clients than losing her position. “I don’t look at it for me, I look at it as a service,” she said. “It’s really my clients who will miss out. I am a nurse who can always find a job somewhere but I really do love this job and I wouldn’t want to lose it.

each of the state’s 18 Medicare Locals. “We would love to see nurses like Marilia all over the state in every Medicare Local but we haven’t been able to achieve that,” Ms Dixon said. “This role is vital. There isn’t anything else like it. We are desperate to see that this position stays.”

“I think it is both the job satisfaction of being able to provide the support and to be able to help people living with this chronic condition.

A NSW Ministry of Health spokesperson said funding of primary care in the community is the Commonwealth’s responsibility.

“I have also got more health professionals interested in trying to make their services better by understanding the condition better.

“The Minister arranged for Parkinson’s NSW to meet with the Ministry of Health to explore the best ways to ensure patients with Parkinson’s disease continue to be provided with appropriate care,” the spokesperson said.

“Overall, it is job satisfaction because it means my clients will get better quality of life.” Parkinson’s NSW is calling for the specialist nurse role to be funded and expanded, with one Parkinson’s nurse specialist located in

A spokesperson for Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek was unavailable for comment.



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Nursing Careers Allied Health - Issue 25 | Page 25

Victorian paramedics ride morale low by Karen Keast Victorian paramedics are at an all-time morale low amid drawn-out wage negotiations, reports of bullying and disappointment surrounding the trouble-plagued motorcycle ambulance trial, according to the ambulance union. Ambulance Employees Association Victoria general secretary Steve McGhie said media reports a government study showing about one in three paramedics are searching to change jobs due to bullying, workload pressure and a lack of support came as no surprise. “Absolutely no surprise whatsoever with the way morale is on the job,” he said. “It’s probably at its lowest ebb in my 32 years in the industry. “People are either doing training for other qualifications or looking outside of the ambulance to go elsewhere. “I know a few paramedics that are looking into working in the mines and things like that…which is unfortunate.” Mr McGhie said the union served a log of claims in April, began negotiating a new wage agreement in August and the agreement expired on November 16. And he said despite several meetings little progress had been made and if no agreement is reached soon, paramedics could be preparing to take industrial action in early 2013. “I think if you take a look at all of the other public service bargaining such as the police and the nurses…they all had to resort to some level of industrial campaign,” he said. “I don’t doubt at some stage…paramedics will have to resort to some sort of industrial campaign which will probably include industrial bans.” Victorian paramedics are the lowest paid in the country and are campaigning for a 22 per cent pay rise, to bring them into line with the highest paid paramedics in South Australia and the Page 26 |

Australian Capital Territory. But Mr McGhie said the State Government has offered 2.5 per cent plus productivity and wanted to reduce entitlements and also change the flexibility of paramedics’ working arrangements. “Paramedics are annoyed, frustrated and disappointed that this is making such little progress,” he said. Mr McGhie said the government’s embattled $3 million motorcycle ambulance three-year trial was yet another disappointment. He said the two Piaggio three-wheeled motorcycles have spent more time off the road than on in the past year due to a range of health and safety issues. Mr McGhie said the 12 Paramedic Motorcycle Unit members have specialised motorcycle riding training, carry a different range of equipment, wear inadequate summer motorcycle jackets and respond to emergencies on their own. He said the union has argued for a $3 an hour allowance for the paramedics, which was initially rejected before the paramedics were given $1.80 an hour. “The whole thing, I would argue, has been a bit of a shambles,” he said. “Eight of the 12 people who are trained to work on these motorcycles are refusing to work on them. “When the government announced it, I thought the money could have been better spent in other ways instead of putting motorcycles on the road, particularly for the CBD of Melbourne where ambulance response times are some of the best in the state. “They would be better utilised for major events. There’s some merit in it but we will want to see the outcome of the trial.” For the full article visit

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Nursing Careers Allied Health - Issue 25 | Page 27

Death of British nurse reverberates throughout profession by Karen Keast The death of a British nurse in the wake of an Australian radio station prank call has affected nurses across Australia, while shining the spotlight on issues surrounding patient confidentiality, writes Karen Keast. The apparent suicide of the married mother-oftwo, in the days after she transferred a hoax call from Sydney-based radio station 2Day FM to another nurse at King Edward VII Hospital, who went on to disclose information about the Duchess of Cambridge, has prompted Australian nurses to contemplate the incident on both a personal and professional level. Patient privacy The prank has put patient privacy under the microscope and has nurses the nation over considering what they would have done in the same situation. “I think it would cause nurses to reflect on their own actions and what their response may have likely been and it probably has prompted a lot of discussion between nurses exploring that,” Australian College of Nursing executive manager of member relations Kathleen McLaughlin said. “It would also have health services looking at their protocols…checking are they still relevant and applicable today and do they need reviewing, and making sure their staff are informed and aware of the protocols. “Nurses at all times must maintain patient confidentiality and privacy and generally do their utmost to do so,” she said. “I suppose the incident reminds us there can be challenging situations for nurses in terms of maintaining that confidentiality and privacy, and I suppose when you are dealing with high profile media individuals it can be more challenging.” The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia has a code of professional conduct for nurses, requiring all registered and enrolled nurses to treat any personal information obtained in a Page 28 |

professional capacity as private and confidential. Under the national board, there are also competency standards for registered nurses and a code of ethics, with the code specifying that ethical management of information involves respecting people’s privacy and confidentiality without compromising their health or safety. Most health services also have protocols in place surrounding patient information. “The challenge of course is that when someone is on the other end of the phone, it’s not possible to identify people on the other end of the phone and it is up to patients generally as to what level of information they can disclose,” Ms McLaughlin said. Ms McLaughlin said while the details in the London incident, including whether or not the nurse who relayed the information had approval to convey it, are not yet clear, she advised nurses to broach the issue of relaying information with their patients. “It’s not unreasonable for a patient to advise a nurse as to what information they want and they are happy to have disclosed and there’s no harm in a nurse having that conversation with a patient,” she said. “You are delivering a message on behalf of the patient. It’s within their rights to say no information be given out. “It’s important also that the public recognise that the nurse on the other end of the phone is quite limited as to what they can say about a patient.” Ms McLaughlin said it was not unusual for a nurse to put a call requesting patient information through to another nurse, and nurses, who deal with a wide range of people, should treat every call seriously and also err on the side of caution. “If you start trying to work out whether a call is a prank or not you are going down a difficult path,” she said. “You have to treat every call as a serious call.

“You also don’t know anyone’s circumstances; the relationships they have, the sensitivities around those…even the most innocent information you think you are passing on, when you are not aware and it hasn’t been cleared, what might seem harmless can actually be quite detrimental.” The response In the days following the hoax call and before the nurse’s death, New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association general secretary Brett Holmes sent a letter to 2Day FM, criticising the stunt and the “very serious professional consequences” such a call could have for nurses and midwives in the Australian context. “As regulated health professionals, Australian nurses and midwives must comply with strict professional and legal obligations in terms of patient privacy,” the letter stated. “While the nature and extent of the nurse’s culpability in this situation is not clear, in the NSW context she could potentially have to respond to three separate disciplinary processes, including those conducted by her employer and other inquiries by the regulating authority and the Health Care Complaints Commission.” Mr Holmes went on to state those processes are “deeply traumatic experiences for many nurses and midwives, regardless of the level of wrongdoing or the nature of the precipitating incident”. Just days later as news broke of Ms Saldanha’s death, the union released a statement expressing its condolences to the nurse’s family, friends and work colleagues. Meanwhile, the nation’s peak body representing nurses, the Australian Nursing Federation, has withdrawn advertising of its current nursing campaign from 2Day FM while also expressing its sadness at Ms Saldanha’s death. Seek help

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Melbourne psychologist Dr Peter Cotton said nurses under pressure and feeling stressed should not delay in seeking help from a health professional. Continued next page Nursing Careers Allied Health - Issue 25 | Page 29

“People rarely commit suicide on the basis of one stressful event. Often there’s a context of other stresses and concerns and something like that can often be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.” Dr Cotton, who works with Beyond Blue and the Comcare Centre of Excellence in Mental Health and Wellbeing at Work, said early signs of stress include difficulty sleeping, wanting to avoid work and becoming negative about yourself and the world around you.

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• Professionalism • Re

He said a good team environment at work, where people feel confident to access support rather than feel stigmatised or retaliated against, can help to buffer people against stress. “We know that a good team environment, having a good relationship with co-workers and if you have a supportive manager, these things are protective in the workplace,” he said. Dr Cotton said Beyond Blue provides an online self-assessment questionnaire, which can tell you your risk level and when to seek help, while there are other good quality online resources from Sydney’s Black Dog Institute. “Whether face to face or doing things online, the general advice is don’t delay, seek help early,” he said. “The quicker you seek help, the quicker you will bounce back.” More information Nurses and midwives have a professional responsibility to be familiar with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia’s registration standards, professional codes, standards and guidelines that inform their practice. View these at For access to private psychologists in your area, contact the APS Find a Psychologist Service on the toll free number 1800 333 497 or conduct your own search on the APS website at www. For help call Lifeline on 131 114 or visit Page 30 |

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