The Lamp April 2022

Page 1

MEDIA

MENTAL HEALTH

AGED CARE

REGULARS

Strikes win positive media cover

Healthcare workforce in severe distress during COVID

Chronic understaffing “fundamental contributor” to aged care crisis

page 10

page 23

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Your rights and entitlements at work Crossword Reviews Nursing research online

THE MAGAZINE OF THE NSW NURSES AND MIDWIVES’ ASSOCIATION VOLUME 79 NO. 2 APRIL/MAY 2022

FIGHTING FOR OUR PATIENTS Print Post Approved: PP100007890

p.30 p.39 p.41 p.45



CONTENTS Contacts NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association For all membership enquiries and assistance, including The Lamp subscriptions and change of address, contact our Sydney office. Sydney Office 50 O’Dea Avenue, Waterloo NSW 2017 (all correspondence) T 8595 1234 (metro) 1300 367 962 (non-metro) F 9662 1414 E gensec@nswnma.asn.au W www.nswnma.asn.au

VOLUME 79 NO. 2 APRIL/MAY 2022

Hunter Office 8–14 Telford Street, Newcastle East NSW 2300

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NSWNMA Communications Manager Janaki Chellam-Rajendra T 1300 367 962

COVER STORY Overworked and underpaid, nurses and midwives unleash their anger.

For all editorial enquiries, letters and diary dates T 8595 1234 E lamp@nswnma.asn.au 50 O’Dea Avenue, Waterloo NSW 2017 Produced by Hester Communications T 0414 550 376 Press Releases Send your press releases to: F 9662 1414 E gensec@nswnma.asn.au Editorial Committee Brett Holmes, NSWNMA General Secretary Shaye Candish, NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary O’Bray Smith, NSWNMA President Michelle Cashman, Long Jetty Continuing Care Richard Noort, Justice Health Liz McCall, Byron Central Hospital Diane Lang, South East Regional Hospital, Bega Valley Printed by Ovato Print Pty Ltd, 37–49 Browns Road, Clayton VIC 3168 Advertising Danielle Nicholson T 8595 2139 or 0429 269 750 F 9662 1414 E dnicholson@nswnma.asn.au Information & Records Management Centre To find archived articles from The Lamp, or to borrow from the NSWNMA nursing and health collection, contact: Adrian Hayward, Coordinator. T 8595 2175 E gensec@nswnma.asn.au The Lamp ISSN: 0047-3936 General Disclaimer The Lamp is the official magazine of the NSWNMA. Views expressed in articles are contributors’ own and not necessarily those of the NSWNMA. Statements of fact are believed to be true, but no legal responsibility is accepted for them. All material appearing in The Lamp is covered by copyright and may not be reproduced without prior written permission. The NSWNMA takes no responsibility for the advertising appearing herein and it does not necessarily endorse any products advertised. Authorised by B.Holmes, General Secretary, NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association, 50 O’Dea Avenue Waterloo NSW 2017 Privacy Statement The NSWNMA collects personal information from members in order to perform our role of representing their industrial and professional interests. We place great emphasis on maintaining and enhancing the privacy and security of your personal information. Personal information is protected under law and can only be released to someone else where the law requires or where you give permission. If you have concerns about your personal information, please contact the NSWNMA office. If you are still not satisfied that your privacy is being maintained, you can contact the Privacy Commission. Subscriptions for 2022 Free to all Association members. Professional members can subscribe to the magazine at a reduced rate of $30. Individuals $84, Institutions $140, Overseas $150.

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COVER STORY

Perrottet’s ‘frontline heroes’ send a message Rank-and-file nurses and midwives told some inconvenient truths about our hospitals when addressing the crowd outside state parliament.

REGULARS

12

5 6 29 30 34 COVER STORY 39 United and strong 41 Over 5000 members from our Sydney and Greater Sydney branches took a stand outside 42 Parliament House on behalf of our patients and 45 sent a powerful message to the government about the dire state of our public health system

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COVER STORY

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Morale booster for regions In cities and towns across NSW, the strike lifted nurses and midwives’ morale and their involvement in union branch activity, to achieve safer workloads and better pay.

Editorial Your letters What’s on Ask Shaye News in brief Crossword Book Club Your Health Nursing Research Online and Professional Issues

MEDIA

MENTAL HEALTH

AGED CARE

REGULARS

Strikes win positive media cover

Healthcare workforce in severe distress during COVID

Chronic understaffing “fundamental contributor” to aged care crisis

page 10

page 23

page 24

Your rights and entitlements at work p.30 Crossword p.39 Reviews p.41 Nursing research online p.45

THE MAGAZINE OF THE NSW NURSES AND MIDWIVES’ ASSOCIATION VOLUME 79 NO. 2 APRIL/MAY 2022

MENTAL HEALTH

10 per cent of healthcare workforce considered self-harm New research shows Australia’s healthcare workforce has been in severe distress during COVID. AGED CARE

Chronic understaffing “fundamental contributor” to aged care crisis Aged care is a sector under maximum stress with 37 per cent of staff planning to walk from the job.

FIGHTING FOR OUR PATIENTS Print Post Approved: PP100007890

COVER: Photographed by Sharon Hickey

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THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 3


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4 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022


EDITORIAL

BRETT

Holmes GENERAL SECRETARY

Fighting for the rights of our patients This historic strike throughout the state showcased our unity and strength but it also revealed the breadth of support we have in the community and in the media. February 15, 2022 will go down as a significant day in the history of our union. Nurses and midwives took part in 48 demonstrations across NSW during our first statewide nurses and midwives’ strike since 2013. About 150 hospital and community health branches took strike action. There was much to savour from the day not least the determination of nurses and midwives to stand up for our patients, our public health service and our profession. Your passion, creativity and strength came through in spades and it was inspiring. It was also a warning shot to a NSW government that has hardly covered itself in glory as COVID has wreaked havoc on an unprepared and vulnerable public health system, for which it is responsible. What the day also made clear is that the government is misinformed and isolated from the real world that nurses and midwives experience in our public health system. They either do not listen to the frank and fearless advice of their public servant leaders or they all fear the consequences of accountability and transparency that shift-byshift nurse and midwife ratios would deliver. We have highlighted time and time again, going back many, many years, the staffing shortfalls, the lack of resources and the vulnerability and fragility of the system that puts patients lives at risk. What February 15 revealed with absolute clarity is that the community and the media

What the day also made clear is that the government is misinformed and isolated from the real world that nurses and midwives experience in our public health system. understand what we have been saying, COVID having exposed the weaknesses in the system and the government patently incapable of rising to the challenge posed by the pandemic. The NSW Minister of Health continues to trot out the same tired old lines about the disproportionate share of the state budget taken by health and the burden shouldered by taxpayers. He should reflect, as should the Premier and the NSW Treasury on the economic carnage caused by a pandemic for which we were unprepared and how the public was left vulnerable by a public health system that has been neglected and allowed to run down. They should also reflect on the fact that other states like Queensland and Victoria have listened to the economic science as well as the health science that has empirically shown that ratios not only improve care but they are also cost effective. COVID has shown that the economic costs of doing nothing are massive compared to the costs of doing the right thing. We are going to keep fighting for ratios because we have no choice. It is our professional responsibility. And I am 100 per cent certain you are up for this fight.

LET’S MAKE THE FEDERAL ELECTION A REFERENDUM ON AGED CARE Along with this issue of The Lamp you will find a supplement on the federal election which is expected to be held in May. This election will be a decisive moment for aged care. It goes without saying that things must change. The terrifying stories that have flowed out of the sector over the two-plus years of COVID have been heart-rending. The Royal Commission into Aged Care didn’t mince its words when it delivered both its interim and final report on the state of the sector. The interim report was titled: “Aged Care in Australia – A Shocking Tale of Neglect. The final report: Care, Dignity, Respect. The commission identified staffing as the key issue if the problems of the sector were to be resolved. It agreed with us that ratios were central to the solution. We want this federal election to be a referendum on aged care. We want to see accountability and a fresh start for the sector. Our older citizens deserve no less.n

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Working in a busy ED, we are no strangers to hectic, fast-paced work environments. Whatever comes through the doors, we are ready to mobilise and get a team together to deliver excellent patient-centred care and help our communities. For the past two years, we have been at the frontline of the COVID pandemic, busting our guts to make sure our patients, colleagues and the community are kept safe. Increasingly, we are turning up to shifts two, three or even four staff members short, but having to deliver the same model of care. We are expected to take unsafe patient loads of six or seven patients because ... what other options are there? Nurses are beyond exhausted. Multiple times in a shift you will find staff broken down, crying, struggling to hold it together. Every shift there will be at least one person on overtime in the midst of an 18-hour shift. A recent shift had six staff on overtime! And then, we were short the next day too! Has Dom Perrottet ever stepped foot in a public hospital, let alone an ED during this crisis? If the Premier wants us to have a “strong health system”, how about he shows some respect to the staff working in it so that we actually want to stay in our jobs! Damien Davis Frank, RN

“I don't sleep well at night – scenes from my shifts play in my mind over and over” For years, we have been campaigning for ratios for patient safety, only for it to fall on the government’s deaf ears. Long before COVID hit, we often had nursing shortages on shift, poor skill mix, RNs on sick leave replaced by AiNs, and huge amounts of overtime on offer. I don’t know how we managed to get through it and keep our patients safe but we did – but then along came COVID. We didn’t know what hit us. Patient numbers swelled and nurses were deployed from each ward to staff COVID units. Staff were exhausted from constantly working overtime, and with the overtime, wards were still short-staffed. We all worried that we would take COVID home to our families too. I work in the wards, and it is horrendous. I don't even have time to chat with patients during the course of my shift, to offer them the emotional support that I normally would. All we can do is concentrate on completing all the tasks we must do. I don't sleep well at night – scenes from my shifts play in my mind over


SEND YOUR LETTERS TO: Editorial Enquiries EMAIL lamp@nswnma.asn.au fax 9662 1414 MAIL 50 O’Dea Avenue, Waterloo NSW 2017. Please include a high-resolution photo along with your name, address, phone and membership number. Letters may be edited for clarity and space. Anonymous letters will not be published.

and over. What we do is bloody hard work, and we still have no real acknowledgement from the government. We desperately need our ratios NOW, before the next wave hits us. Our residents in Western Sydney deserve better. The residents in NSW deserve better, as do the nurses and midwives. Christine Boxsell, EN

Bandaids on bleeding stumps The pandemic has brought with it a steep rise in people experiencing mental health issues. As a result, public mental health services are being flooded. Even before COVID-19, mental health nurses were struggling to keep up – but now, we are drowning. We are being forced to push people out of the units faster and faster, to make space for the next person who needs a bed. Even if this means discharging people to unsafe environments that contributed to their mental health issues, or if they are still mentally unwell and a risk to themselves or others. Nurses are leaving mental health en masse, and as a result mental health units are chronically understaffed. Those of us who stayed are working with increasingly unsustainable workloads, and are expected to do the same amount of work each shift with fewer nurses. We can no longer guarantee safety for our patients or ourselves, with incidences of aggression becoming not just daily but on every shift. We feel like we are failing every single patient who comes onto our wards. They came to get help, to find a way to get better. But with things the way they are, mental health nurses have become, at best, bandaids on bleeding stumps, and at worst we are just working in a system that causes harm. It’s become commonplace that when I come home from work – late yet again because I put patient care before my personal time – I break down in tears from stress and the knowledge that I came into mental health nursing to help, and it never feels like I'm doing that anymore. Aislynn Kearney, RN

LETTER OF THE MONTH Perrotet is culpable for ‘Let it rip’ As an emergency nurse, I was convinced we would have been pretty prepared and ready to “open up” in December. It was not like the government didn’t have two years to plan for it, and we have seen the massive impacts of COVID-19 across other countries’ health systems. How were we not able to prevent this? Premier Perrottet’s “Let It Rip” strategy was a massive failure and an act of neglect against the people of NSW and the NSW health system. To defy and dismiss health advice regarding masks just weeks before Christmas must be considered criminal. In the last weeks of December and first week of January, our unit lost one out of five nurses to COVID, and within a matter of days we had huge skilled staffing shortages in Emergency. It was correctly predicted that we would see close to 180–200 presentations a day over this period – our normal is about 120 – but to try to handle that amount of extra patients with casuals, unorientated staff and working short in the highest acuity unit in the hospital was extremely exhausting. COVID has made everything so

much harder. COVID-positive patients with dementia and delirium coming from nursing homes into our ED are difficult to manage. We have had orthopaedic patients with serious lacerations have treatment or operations delayed for hours because they were COVID-positive. Our bed block has become overwhelming due to COVID – and that’s not because of patients infected; it’s because staff are. Large parts of the hospital cannot open beds due to unsafe staffing levels. A “capacity crisis” is called every day but nothing changes. On most morning shifts, we are lucky to be allocated one bed in the entire hospital after people have been stuck in ED for over 60 hours. ED overcrowding kills. I am sick of it because it is preventable. The failures to predict, or just act on the idea that people would swamp testing centres immediately after letting COVID run free in the community, just shows incompetence. I feel sympathy for my managers for not being given resources to fend off this tide of admissions. What a nightmare! The staff on the floor have the solutions to this mess, and we should be respected and listened to. Premier Perrottet needs to go. #letitripfailed. Ben Landsdowne, RN

Letter of the month If there’s something on your mind, send us a letter and have your say. The letter of the month will WIN a gift card. The letter judged best each month will receive a $50 Coles Group and Myer gift card.

THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 7


COVER STORY

Overworked and underpaid, nurses and midwives unleash their anger A monster Sydney rally was just one of 48 demonstrations across NSW on 15 February during the first statewide nurses and midwives’ strike since 2013. About 150 hospitals took strike action on the day.

S

ydney’s Macquarie Street was packed with nurses and midwives wearing masks and scrubs when NSWNMA members rallied outside parliament house to demand shift-by-shift ratios and a decent pay increase. Thousands of nurses walked off the wards and assembled at hospitals across Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast, before boarding buses to take their message directly to the government of Premier Perrottet. From the speakers’ podium outside parliament house, Nathan Moran, CEO of the Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council, set the tone of the rally when he delivered a Welcome to Country on behalf of traditional owners. “Today we stand in solidarity with the nurses and midwives union,” he declared. “We stand in support of you and hope you achieve the change you seek to get the required resources and hopefully a greater respect for the job you do – because you are vital to our people.” He was followed by NSWNMA President, O’Bray Smith, who said nurses wanted political leaders to invest in the public health system, invest in nurses and midwives, invest in ratios, and stop the attacks on workers’ compensation. “Then we will gladly return to the 8 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022

‘Ratios save lives, decrease morbidity and mortality AND reduce the health budget – research has shown that.’ —O’Bray Smith hospitals and do our jobs, but until then we’re here for the long fight,” she said. O’Bray said she was struck by the fact that politicians who had “no background in health, no health experience and no understanding of healthcare” – including the premier – were making decisions that profoundly impacted nurses’ working lives. She told t he crowd t hat Association representatives had met health Minister Brad Hazzard for so-called “crisis talks” the previous day. He had offered nurses and midwives nothing but “a pat on the back”. “Make no mistake, those crisis talks were merely a tick-box so they could go to the Industrial Relations Commission and the media and say, ‘Oh, we tried.’” “The Minister was very quick to

tell us that one third of the budget goes towards health and he couldn’t possibly afford more. “But Minister, ratios save lives, decrease morbidity and mortality, AND reduce the health budget – research has shown that.” “An outlay now will save lives and money in the future, but they’re too short-sighted to see it.”

WE’RE GOING TO FIGHT UNTIL WE WIN NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, told the rally it was “heart-warming” to see such strong support for the strike. “There has been an amazing turnout at our branches to vote in favour of this action. That tells me you’re ready to fight and you’re ready to stay fighting until we win,” he said. “I know each and every one of you has been doing it really tough. “There are so many in our


COVER STORY

NSWNMA GENERAL SECRETARY BRETT HOLMES TOLD THE CROWD OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT HOUSE: “NOT ONLY DO YOU DESERVE TO GO TO WORK WITH THE RIGHT NUMBER OF NURSES AND MIDWIVES TO LOOK AFTER THE RIGHT NUMBERS OF PATIENTS, BUT YOU DESERVE A PAY RISE AS WELL.”

community, including many inside (Parliament House) who have had the opportunity to hide away and try to stay safe during the pandemic. “None of you had that choice and in my mind that gives you the right to stand up, speak out and demand better from this government. “Let us not forget what this premier did to you in 2020. “This premier said, ‘We want you to go to work, put your life on the line, put your family’s life on the line’ – this is all before we had the magical vaccinations – and then he said, ‘Well bugger you, you ought to take a pay cut as well.’” Brett added: “Not only do you deserve to go to work with the right number of nurses and midwives to look after the right numbers of patients, but you deserve a pay rise as well.”

TIME FOR THE PREMIER TO LISTEN NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary, Shaye Candish, shared a story from an NSWNMA member in a rural hospital, who wrote: “The elderly are being made to wait in their own faeces and urine, and as an AiN in a small rural town I’m told to attend to the ones that need it more. “This should not be the case. We

are the only people some patients see all day and we’re running in and out like a chook with its head chopped off.” Shaye said the state government had praised nurses and midwives, while ignoring the need for safe staffing and better pay and conditions to support the health workforce. Premier Perrottet had also repeatedly claimed that ‘the system is coping’. “We know for a fact the system is not coping and the only reason we have gotten through these last two years is because of your hard work and steadfast commitment to your patients,” Shaye told the crowd. She said it was time the premier listened to nurses and midwives. “We are not going away until our demands are met. We will come back time and time again and continue to expose the lies and misinformation that this government insists on telling. “We will come back bigger and angrier each time we are ignored. “Unless you want to see us here again, Premier, listen to all of us and meet our demands.” She called on the government to: • implement shift-by-shift ratios for safe patient care

‘We will come back bigger and angrier each time we are ignored.’ — Shaye Candish • c ommit to a fair pay rise above 2.5% and introduce a COVID-19 allowance • w ithdraw the amendment to the Workers’ Compensation Act that would force health workers to prove they contracted COVID-19 at work. n

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COVER STORY

Perrottet’s ‘frontline heroes’ send a message Rank-and-file nurses and midwives told some inconvenient truths about our hospitals when addressing the crowd outside state parliament. On the eve of the statewide nurses and midwives’ strike, an ex-nurse challenged NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet with some home truths. “You keep saying NSW has a strong healthcare system,” she said. She told him she had quit the profession after experiencing “constant” staff shortages and worker stress that left her feeling “broken”. She said the health system was weak and needed “a plan going forward – what is that plan?” the Canberra Times reported. Perrottet trotted out a familiar line – and promised more of the same. “Our frontline workers are the heroes of the pandemic and I thank them for everything they do,” he said. “They have worked tirelessly for two long years and it’s likely that will need to continue.” Outside parliament house on strike day, several of those “frontline heroes” took to the speakers’ platform to deliver more inconvenient facts about our health system.

10 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022

Westmead’s ‘horrible’ normal Westmead Hospital branch secretary and perioperative nurse Tim Blofield said people could wait “well over 24 hours in the waiting room” while access block forced patients to sleep on the floor. “That was back in 2019 – now it’s absolute chaos. “We had one instance where there were 28 COVID patients on the ward with one RN, two ENs and an AiN to care for them. “And the funniest thing is, they want us to return to normal. “The problem is, normal was horrible. “I recall an instance where three coronary bypasses and two liver resections – time-critical and urgent procedures – had to be postponed because there were no ICU beds.” He said patients had been sent to a general ward following whipple procedures, due to a shortage of ICU beds. He said he took part in an “emergency meeting” with health minister Hazzard the previous day, but nurses’ appeals for help had “bounced right off him like water off a duck’s back”. “I learned that day how little we have in common with many of those people in that building (Parliament House). “We need ratios – we don’t need to see our colleagues die inside every single time they come to work. “We don’t need a tea break to be a rare luxury. “In ICU we lost 11 full-time positions in just a couple of months. “I just want to say to Premier Perrottet: give us ratios, give us a worthy pay rise. “I don’t care about your thanks. I can’t pay my mortgage with your thanks.”

‘We need ratios – we don’t need to see our colleagues die inside every single time they come to work.’ — Tim Blofield, Westmead Hospital

Patients in car parks Emergency nurse, Kelly Falconer from Wyong ED, called on her fellow nurses to “stand up, unite and fight for the rights of our patients.” She said she had to tell a packed waiting room they would have to wait 10 hours to see a nurse or doctor. “Is that appropriate? Is that a worldclass health system?” she asked. “We are nursing patients out in car parks; we have patients in ambulances for three hours. “We have red waiting rooms. Do you know what they are? They’re park benches out the front of hospitals.”


COVER STORY

‘We are nursing patients out in car parks; we have patients in ambulances for three hours.’

— Kelly Falconer, Wyong Hospital

A broken system Sarah Morton, a nurse and midwife member of the NSWNMA’s Wollongong branch, said midwives continue to experience unacceptable conditions, such as excessive workloads and increased overtime. “We have four-week rosters with 150 shortfalls and babies aren’t counted in our staffing numbers. “Midwives are unable to provide the bare minimum standard of care that our women and babies deserve. “The pride we used to feel in where we work and serving our community is dwindling because we are embarrassed by how broken this system is.

community is dwindling because we are embarrassed by how broken this system is.’ — Sarah Morton, Wollongong Hospital

Give us a break! Karen Fernance of BankstownLidcombe Branch has been a nurse since 1973 and took part in 2009 industrial action that resulted in adoption of the nursing hours per patient day system. “It was a start, but 10 years on, it doesn't work,” she said. “We need nurse-to patient-ratios on every shift – don’t just count the number of patients at midnight. “We ask the government, who mandates how much care a patient gets, to give nurses and midwives a chance to have a break. “Give nurses and midwives a bathroom break, a chance to attend training and a chance to go home on time.”

Stop gaslighting us Skye Romer, mental health nurse and secretary of the NSWNMA’s Prince of Wales Hospital mental health branch, said working conditions had deteriorated as staffing vacancies worsened. “Our scope of practice has been diluted, our admissions have skyrocketed, and now untrained staff have been introduced into care models,” she said. “All of this has resulted in inferior care being provided to NSW residents and it is not good enough. “My message to our politicians is: enough with the platitudes – stop gaslighting us. We won’t stop fighting until we achieve the safe staffing levels that our communities deserve.” n

Join the campaign Go to: www. ratioslifeordeath.org.au

‘The pride we used to feel in where we work and serving our

‘Give nurses and midwives a bathroom break, a chance to attend training and a chance to go home on time.’ — Karen Fernance,

Bankstown Hospital

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COVER STORY

United and strong February 15 2022 will go down as a significant day in the history of our union. Over 5000 members from our Sydney and Greater Sydney branches took a stand outside Parliament House on behalf of our patients and sent a powerful message to the government about the dire state of our public health system.

12 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022


LISMORE 400 COFFS HARBOUR 250 SHOALHAVEN 200 BEGA 150 PORT MACQUARIE 150 WAGGA 150 TAMWORTH 110 ARMIDALE 100 MANNING 100 BATHURST 100 ALBURY 90 GRIFFITH 80 ORANGE 70 DUBBO 60 KEMPSEY 50 COWRA 40 BROKEN HILL 40 YASS 40 KYOGLE 35 COOMA 23 COROWA 20 MURWILLUMBAH 20 CANOWINDRA 18 MANILLA 17 INVERELL 16 NARRANDERA 13 WARREN 13 GRENFELL 12 SPRINGWOOD 12 TOCUMWAL FINLEY 12 COOTAMUNDRA 11 GILGANDRA 11 BALRANALD 10 COONABARABRAN 10 DUNEDOO 10 HAY 10 LEETON 10 CROOKWELL9 BLAYNEY 8 GUNNEDAH 8 RYLSTONE 7 TRANGIE 6 WEST SYD DISABILITY SUPPORT 6 TWEED HEADS COMMUNITY 6 BOURKE 5 BRAIDWOOD 4

SYDNEY 5,000 NEWCASTLE 1000

COVER STORY

BRANCH RALLY TURNOUTS PER LOCATION

TOTAL

8522

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COVER STORY

Morale booster for regions In cities and towns across NSW, the strike lifted nurses and midwives’ morale and their involvement in union branch activity, to achieve safer workloads and better pay.

Muswellbrook takes a stand NSWNMA members from Hunter Valley hospitals including Muswellbrook, Scone and Singleton travelled to Newcastle for that city’s rally of over 1000 nurses. Seventeen nurses from the 46-bed Muswellbrook District Hospital went to Newcastle on a bus organised by the NSWNMA. Muswellbrook nurse Peggy Smith played a key role in organising the strike – her first involvement in union activity. “The branch had been inactive for some time and a lot of people felt deflated and pessimistic,” she said. “It was pretty daunting to take on the challenge.” “We set up a Facebook group for members and non-members who were interested in joining the union, which generated a lot of discussion and enthusiasm, and helped to organise the strike. “Veteran nurses got their energy back and decided they needed to have another go at trying to improve conditions for ourselves and our patients.

14 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022

‘ The strike got a lot of support and even our new grads took part. They recognised they had to stand up for their future careers – because who wants to be a nurse with a healthcare system that looks like this?’— Peggy Smith “The strike got a lot of support and even our new grads took part. They recognised they had to stand up for their future careers – because who wants to be a nurse with a healthcare system that looks like this? “People who couldn’t miss a day for financial reasons took other actions, like work bans, or only participating in patient care and essential documentation.” “Some nurses who didn’t attend the rally did other things to help, like organising people to cover shifts and reaching out to the media.” Peggy did radio interviews on local stations Power FM, 2NM and the ABC in the lead-up to the strike. “I had never spoken to the media before and it was fairly daunting. One of the interviews was done live as

we were getting on the bus, and my manager was phoning me as I was speaking. “I thought she was listening to the radio and I’d said something wrong, but she just wanted us to hold the bus for the night-shift staff, who had decided to come with us. It’s fantastic to have that level of support from your management.” Peggy spoke at the rally and was interviewed by NBN TV. “The rally was great – there was lots and lots of energy. It has invigorated people and got them talking again, and we are reviving the branch and holding elections for office bearers.”


COVER STORY

Wagga Wagga revitalised

Bathurst sets a record

About 180 nurses from Wagga Wagga Base Hospital rallied in a local park before marching to the office of state MP Dr Joe McGirr to deliver a resolution from the NSWNMA’s Wagga Wagga branch. Branch delegate Karen Hart said Dr McGirr was in Sydney for a sitting of parliament and arranged for his assistant to receive the resolution, which called for safe staffing ratios, a pay rise and a COVID allowance. She said the strike raised members’ involvement and enthusiasm for the safe staffing campaign, led several non-members to join the union and revitalised the branch, which had struggled to get a quorum at meetings. “People realised there is power in numbers; they were encouraged by the amount of favourable media coverage and support from the community,” Karen said. “We were at risk of the branch folding and now we have more nominations for branch positions than we need to fill the vacancies. “Our next task is to organise unofficial stewards on each ward who can be proactive with getting messages to people and keeping them up to date with what’s happening. Each ward or unit can start its own Facebook message group.” Before the strike, Karen was interviewed by Triple M Sydney and ABC Radio National. On the day, the strike was covered by Prime and WIN TV, local ABC radio and Wagga’s newspaper The Daily Advertiser. “Nurses were keen to get their views across to the media and spoke as NSWNMA members on the day to give their first-hand experiences,” she said.

More than 100 nurses from Bathurst, Lithgow and Cowra hospitals rallied in Bathurst outside the office of local MP and Deputy Premier, Paul Toole. It was the biggest local nurse rally in memory, said Bathurst Hospital’s NSWNMA branch secretary, James Adams. The strike was the lead item on WIN News and Prime TV channels that night, and was prominent in local newspaper the Western Advocate. Prime 7 News Central West featured statements from four nurses who were out on strike. “Members are at the point where they want to have their voices heard; on strike day they were jumping in front of the TV cameras to have their say,” James said. “People stayed strong, despite the order from the Industrial Relations Commission. They’ve had enough basically.” He said the strike was preceded by the branch’s biggest ever meeting, where members voted overwhelmingly to hold a four-hour strike and rally. “There has been a much higher level of engagement in branch activity by members since December and particularly since we decided to take the action. “We lost 17 nurses from ED alone in the last 12 months; that’s a huge turnover. At least half have gone to other facilities or services where they feel more supported. The rest have retired or quit the profession. “The staffing situation is getting worse and nurses are still leaving because they can’t cope with the impossible conditions. “They see the union is fighting for them but they’re at the point where they can’t go on any longer.” n

‘People realised there is power in numbers; they were encouraged by the amount of favourable media coverage and support from the community.’ — Karen Hart

‘Members are at the point where they want to have their voices heard.’ — James Adams

THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 15


COVER STORY

Big and small, branches take a stand Regional centres staged impressive rallies on strike day – from 1000-plus nurses and midwives in Newcastle, to inspiring turnouts in tiny towns like Bourke and Braidwood.

MORE THAN 90 NURSES MARCHED IN THE BORDER TOWN OF ALBURY DURING AN EIGHT-HOUR STRIKE AT ALBURY BASE HOSPITAL. PRIME 7 NEWS FEATURED COMMENTS BY FOUR NURSES AND DESCRIBED THE MOOD OF THE RALLY AS “ANGRY AND FRUSTRATED”.

IN THE RIVERINA TOWN OF BALRANALD, POPULATION 1100, NURSES AT BALRANALD MULTIPURPOSE SERVICE JOINED THE STRIKE ALONG WITH NURSES AT OTHER FAR WEST LHD FACILITIES.

MORE THAN 150 NURSING STAFF FROM THE BEGA VALLEY AND EUROBODALLA RALLIED IN THE TOWN OF BEGA. NSWNMA DELEGATE AT SOUTH EAST REGIONAL HOSPITAL, DIANE LANG, TOLD 2EC RADIO THE HOSPITAL’S NURSES AND MIDWIVES VOTED 96 PER CENT TO TAKE INDUSTRIAL ACTION. ANOTHER NURSE TOLD THE STATION: “WE’RE SICK OF BEING DISRESPECTED AND DISREGARDED, NOT LISTENED TO.”

SIXTEEN NURSES FROM INVERELL DISTRICT HOSPITAL RALLIED IN THE NORTHERN TABLELANDS TOWN OF INVERELL. IT WAS ONE OF SIX HUNTER NEW ENGLAND LHD TOWNS AND CITIES TO HOST RALLIES. NATIONAL PARTY MEMBER FOR NORTHERN TABLELANDS, ADAM MARSHALL, DESCRIBED THE STRIKE AS “THE LAST-GASP PLEA OF THAT WORKFORCE, WHICH IS ALSO IN SOME PARTS ON THE BRINK OF COLLAPSE”.

16 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022


COVER STORY

MORE THAN 400 NORTH COAST NURSES MARCHED THROUGH LISMORE, LOCAL MEDIA REPORTED. “THEY’RE HERE BECAUSE THEY’VE GOT ONE CAUSE IN MIND: WE NEED RATIOS. WE NEED TO PROTECT THE PROFESSION. WE NEED TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE OF THIS STATE,” A NURSE TOLD NBN TV NEWS.

IN YASS ON THE SOUTHERN TABLELANDS, ABOUT 40 NURSES JOINED A PROTEST WHILE WARNING THAT THE LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM IS IN DANGER OF COLLAPSE IF THE GOVERNMENT DOESN’T TAKE URGENT ACTION. “WE WANT THE COMMUNITY TO KNOW THAT IF WE CONTINUE DOWN THIS ROUTE, THEN WE ARE GOING TO HAVE NO HEALTH SYSTEM LEFT; WE WILL HAVE NOTHING,” NSWNMA YASS DISTRICT HOSPITAL BRANCH PRESIDENT PAUL HAINES TOLD THE GOULBURN POST. AROUND 110 NURSES HELD A RALLY IN TAMWORTH. THE STRONG TURNOUT FOLLOWED AN OPEN LETTER FROM TAMWORTH BASE HOSPITAL STAFF TO THE HUNTER NEW ENGLAND LHD, NOTING THE HOSPITAL HAD 19 FTE NURSE VACANCIES IN THE ED AND THERE WERE NOT ENOUGH NURSING STAFF TO FILL THE BASE NURSING ROSTER. WITHIN 24 HOURS OF THE OPEN LETTER BEING CIRCULATED, OVER 200 STAFF AT THE HOSPITAL SIGNED ON, DESPERATE TO RESOLVE THE STAFFING CRISIS.

THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 17


COVER STORY

Strike wins positive media coverage Nurse and midwife activists get top billing in media’s sympathetic reporting of statewide strike.

“They’ve spent two years on the frontline of COVID, doing long hours wrapped in plastic PPE. But today, nurses across New South Wales drew a line in the sand. Overworked and underpaid, they marched.” That’s how Channel Nine’s Tracy Grimshaw introduced Channel Nine’s A Current Affair’s report on the statewide nurses’ strike. ACA reporter Hannah Sinclair followed by describing “a sea of scrubs down Macquarie Street – the angels of our healthcare system pushed to breaking point and begging the NSW government for help.” Media coverage of strikes is rarely suppor tive, but ACA’s sympathetic tone was echoed across all TV channels. And there was no shortage of rank-and-file nurses and ex-nurses happy to go on camera. AC A inter v iewed Amy Halvorsen, who quit her job at Westmead Hospital after working as a registered nurse for four years. “The government isn’t giving us the capability and if we don’t have the capability, they need to be honest with the public, so we stop getting abused and screamed at, and copping those frustrations at the government's failings,” Amy said.

Channel 9 News presenter Peter Overton called the nurses “the strongest soldiers in our COVID war, putting their lives on the line to save countless others.” He went on: “Today, thousands of nurses from across Sydney and the state declared ‘enough is enough’, coming together in historic strike action … a new frontline for our battle-weary nurses frustrated by a system under strain.” Nine News interviewed nurse Lesley Woods, who said she was so busy she had to leave a dying man alone for five hours without any care. “It just destroyed me,” she said.

‘The government isn’t giving us the capability and if we don’t have the capability, they need to be honest with the public.’ — Amy Halvorsen

18 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022

To Channel 10 News reporter Lachlan Kennedy, the protest was “a loud, unmissable plea for help”. He added, “The people who care for us are demanding the state government start caring about them.” Channel 10’s current affairs and talk show program The Project featured Skye Romer, a Sydney mental health nurse and NSWNMA branch secretary. Skye said the public hospital system was stretched well before COV ID hit a nd COV ID had highlighted its failings. “It’s rea lly ha rd for t he community to grasp just what we’re dealing with at the moment when we’ve got our parliamentary leaders telling everybody that the hospital system is coping and everything is okay,” Skye said. She gave examples of inadequate care due to staff shortages and said nurses felt “gaslighted” by the government’s constant assurances that staff are coping. “If we don’t stand up and do something about it, there are going to be more lives lost, there are going to be more nurses leaving and, in the end, we’re going to be worse off.” Skye said the government needs to take action to provide the world-class hospital system it claims it is providing.


COVER STORY

Following the interview, The Project’s co-host Kate Langbroek commented that occupations such as nursing, teaching and childcare – “jobs we can’t just quantify” that require “love, care, tenderness and compassion” – were being “treated terribly”. She said her father died in hospital last year and “the nurses could not have done more”. “They are under such pressure; they literally watch people die and they try to make their end of days as good as they can be. And yet we can’t see 2.5 per cent in that? That’s nuts.” On Channel 7’s Sunrise breakfast program, presenter David Koch inter v iewed Westmead Hospital intensive care nurse Julie Butterworth. “Does it annoy you that politicians constantly praise our frontline healthcare workers and then won’t give you a 2.5 per cent pay rise?” Koch asked. “It’s incredibly insulting that we only got a 0.3 per cent pay rise and actually a pay freeze during the pandemic, when we were the ones putting our lives at risk and putting our families at risk as well,” Julie replied. She assured listeners that patients would be looked after by skeleton crews during the strike and warned that severe understaffing

would become a permanent fixture without government action. Koch ended the interview with: “I have a lot of nurses in the family and we wish you all the best.” Channel 7 News reporter Amelia Brace observed that “nurses are losing patience after two harrowing years on the frontline” and noted the union’s determination to “do whatever is necessary to ensure a better health system for the people of NSW.” Seven News interviewed several hospital patients and found “almost unanimous support” for the strike. Outside Westmead Hospital, 7 News reporter Sarina Andaloro spoke to cancer patient Yeni Ellis, who “mustered all her strength to speak up for nurses on strike”. “I couldn’t praise them enough,” said another patient. ABC News 24 did a live cross to Westmead Hospital to interview midwife Daniella Asima and ICU nurse Louise Nakkan for its breakfast program. Daniella said she had no second thoughts about going on strike after the Industrial Relations Commission ordered nurses not to. “It’s not what we want to do, but we feel like we’re not being heard. It’s just come to the point where we just have to do something –something’s

got to give,” she said. Louise said she had worked in Westmead ICU for 30 years and the stress levels and amount of overtime needed had brought the unit “close to breaking”. “It’s incredibly stressful – lots of mental health issues for staff and droves of staff leaving,” she said. “The problem is being compounded by lack of support from the local health service and from Health generally. It’s getting really dire.” Louise was asked why ratios were so important. “If we can provide safe staffing ratios that are mandated shift by shift, people will stay in the system and that will be a really great retention strategy,” she said. “We just want to provide the safest, best care that we possibly can.” Christine Boxsell also did a live cross from Blacktown Hospital for Channel Nine’s Today Show. n

‘It’s not want we want to do, but we feel like we’re not being heard.’ — Louise Nakkan THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 19


COVER STORY

On TV and speaking their minds Television news coverage showed nurses and midwives will not be intimidated into silence.

Channel 10 News reporter Lachlan Kennedy stood on the steps of parliament house as his camera operator panned over the crowd of nurses below. “This is a major step for nurses and midwives to be taking today… They are angry, they are desperate and they are sending the Perrotet government a very clear message,” Kennedy said.

Outside parliament a nurse carried a home-made placard that declared, “1:38 is not safe”. She told Channel 10, “We need one to 3 in ED. I had to work a night shift on my own with 38 patients and one doctor. It’s so unsafe.”

On Channel 7 News, midwife Erin Smith said, “We are burnt out, we're anxious and it's impacting our patients.” Several nurses stepped forward to Channel 10 to speak their minds. “No one seems to care that there’s people behind the numbers. We’re humans and the people we look after are humans and it's not fair. We're tired and we've had enough,” one nurse said. A Westmead Hospital nurse, Julie Butterworth, described the strike as being “like the last stand for us.” Her colleague said, “We are losing staff left right and centre. People are tired, people are exhausted.” 20 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022

Nurse Hirunee Sarathchandra made it clear to Channel 7 that nurses had been left with no alternative but to take industrial

action: “We don’t want to be here today striking – we want to be looking after our patients,” she said. Channel 7 reported that nurses’ protests in regional areas were just as lively as the Sydney demonstration. Channel 7 showed footage from rallies on the north coast, south coast, Tamworth and Broken Hill.

A Tamworth nurse, Jill Telfer said, “We’re going home in tears every bloody night.” “They need to stop saying that we’re coping and everything's fine,” a Broken Hill nurse said. “It wasn't fine before this last two years and it's much worse now.” Nurse rallies outside Sydney were also covered by Channel 9 News Sydney. “From the coast to the bush, nurses were in full voice with the same force as their Sydney colleagues,” said reporter Liz Daniels. “Newcastle, Tamworth,


COVER STORY

Taree, Bathurst, Lismore, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie to name a few …As the 2023 election draws near you can expect to be seeing a lot more of this. This is a political problem that’s only growing louder.”

A nurse told Channel 9, “Wearing the PPE is very hot and when you don't have enough staff and you’re running around trying to care for people it’s very hard.” Another nurse said, “It’s been a whirlwind of a year. We’ve had a lot of people quit nursing. I’ve never seen such a mass exodus of people leaving the profession.”

On Nine’s A Current Affair (ACA), a reporter noted that “Nurses are clearly fed up with being pushed around by the government. And patients think they deserve more too.”

A hospital patient told ACA, “I think the nurses definitely all need a medal and they certainly need more help. Even more so than the money, they need help to run the wards.” ICU nurse Joy told ACA: “No one wants their family member to die in a room by themselves but that’s what it’s coming to at the moment. There are so many nurses that are quitting, so many nurses that are fed up.”

‘They need to stop saying that we’re coping and everything’s fine. It wasn’t fine before this last two years and it’s much worse now.’

Added another nurse: “It’s so unfair. We want proper staffing ratios so we can look after our children effectively.” A third nurse, Audrey Figues (Auburn Branch), told ACA, “We need more help. We can’t keep going on like this. We’re burnt out....We can’t look after our patients properly if we don’t look after ourselves. We can’t look after our patients if you don’t listen to us.” n

‘We need one to 3 in ED. I had to work a night shift on my own with 38 patients and one doctor. It’s so unsafe.’ THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 21


MENTAL HEALTH

10 per cent of healthcare workforce considered suicide or self-harm during pandemic New research shows Australia’s healthcare workforce has been in severe distress during COVID.

A

new study has found that one in ten healthcare workers in Australia had thoughts of suicide or selfharm in a two-week period during the second wave of the pandemic between August and October 2020. Even among those who did not have such thoughts, high levels of burnout, anxiety, depression and trauma symptoms were observed. The study a na lysed data from the Australian COVID-19 Frontline Healthcare Workers Study and was published in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry (ANZJP). Eig ht thousa nd hea lt h professionals completed the survey. Lead researcher, Professor Marie Bismarck from the University of Melbourne, said the results were “alarming”. “Even before the pandemic, healthcare workers had higher rates of suicide than people in other occupations, but it does seem that it has become worse with the pandemic. “I’m a health worker and I can tell you that we are exhausted. One of the striking things of our study was that among the healthcare workers with thoughts of suicide or self-harm, 90 per cent described emotional

22 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022

‘ Our results matter a great deal for healthcare workers and the people who love them, but they also have really profound implications for the quality of patient care.’ — Professor Marie Bismarck exhaustion – which is one of the components of burnout. “But even among the other healthcare workers, 70 per cent of them were describing mental exhaustion.”

NO TIME TO GET HELP Professor Bismarck said it gave her “chills down my spine to see my colleagues … doing everything they could to help patients in the hospital, and to know from this study that one in ten of them was struggling”. “One of the most worrying findings from our study was that among the healthcare workers with thoughts of suicide or self-harm, fewer than half of them sought any kind of professional help,” she said. “Some of them said even though they were really struggling with their mental health, they just didn’t have the time or energy to get help. They would come home from the hospital

absolutely exhausted, and to try and access care for themselves was like another thing on their to-do list that they just didn’t have the energy for.”

YOUNGER WORKERS MORE LIKELY TO SEEK SUPPORT The study found that healthcare workers with thoughts of suicide or self-harm were more likely to seek support if they were younger or had prior mental health concerns. Certain groups were more vulnerable, including those who had friends or family infected with COVID-19, were living alone, had poor physical health or prior mental illness, and increased income worries. Professor Bismarck said access to care was also problematic. “It has been hard to access psychologists or to access mental health support during the pandemic,


MENTAL HEALTH

SOURCE: SAGE JOURNALS

and that is equally true for healthcare workers themselves. “When healthcare workers are struggling with their own mental health, it can have real implications for patient care. We know people who are profoundly depressed are likely to make mistakes or errors in their work. So, our results matter a great deal for healthcare workers and the people who love them, but they also have really profound implications for the quality of patient care. “I think that the study sounds alarm bells that we are not doing enough for the people who have been caring for us throughout the pandemic. “I think healthcare workers in general are very good at putting on a brave face, getting on with the job, placing the needs of patients first and I think it is time we realised how much healthcare workers have been struggling through the pandemic, and give them the care they need and deserve. n

Key points • One in ten healthcare workers in Australia had thoughts of suicide or self-harm in a two-week period during the second wave of the pandemic between August and October 2020. • Fewer than half of them sought any kind of professional help. • Even among those who did not have suicidal thoughts, high levels of burnout, anxiety, depression and trauma symptoms were observed. • There were profound implications for the quality of patient care.

‘ I think it is time we realised how much healthcare workers have been struggling through the pandemic, and give them the care they need and deserve.’ THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 23


AGED CARE

Chronic understaffing “fundamental contributor” to aged care crisis Aged care is a sector under maximum stress with 37 per cent of staff planning to walk from the job.

N

urses and care workers in aged care are overwhelmed and overworked and a frightening number are planning to leave the sector, a comprehensive survey conducted by the ANMF has found. Nurses ident if ied chronic understaffing as the “fundamental contributor” to the crisis in Au s t r a l i a’s nu r s i n g hom e s throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with many feeling “unseen, unvalued and cast aside”, according to the final results of the national survey. The ANMF National Aged Care COVID-19 Survey 2022 was conducted from January 2022 to February 2022, and asked nurses and carers about a range of workplace challenges they faced during the pandemic, including access to vaccinations, RATs and properly fitted PPE; infection, isolation and quarantine; work hours and leave; and their intention to leave their jobs. It found that frontline aged care nurses and care workers were physically and emotionally burnt out after working additional long shifts without adequate breaks and often without access to properly fitting PPE.

24 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022

‘ Aged care workers told us they feel ‘unseen, unvalued and cast aside’. They’re overworked, stressed and are fast-losing hope and strength.’ — ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler

The survey results provide an insightful snapshot of conditions in aged care after more than two years of the pandemic: • 7 2 per cent of respondents had finally received three doses of a COVID-19 vaccination; 27 per cent had received two doses. • 73 per cent reported their employer provided RAT kits, 12 per cent relied on mass-testing sites (no tests from employers or self-purchased) and 5 per cent relied on self-purchased RAT kits. • 2 3 per cent described their experience in accessing COVID vaccinations and testing as “fair”, 26 per cent as “good” and 25 per cent as “very poor” or “poor”. • 20 per cent reported never, rarely,

or only sometimes having enough PPE. • 48 per cent reported working eighthour shifts, 42 per cent worked long periods without sufficient breaks, 40 per cent worked double shifts and 35 per cent worked unpaid overtime. • 38 per cent reported their employer did not provide leave with pay due to COVID exposure. • 25 per cent reported their employer asked them to cancel/delay planned leave or return to work from leave due to COVID-19. • 37 per cent planned to leave their job within one to five years and 21 per cent planned to leave within the next 12 months.


AGED CARE

AGED CARE NURSES AND WORKERS PROTESTED IN CANBERRA IN FEBRUARY TO VOICE THEIR FRUSTRATION AND ANGER OVER THE MORRISON GOVERNMENT’S CONTINUED FAILURE TO PROTECT AGED CARE WORKERS AND RESIDENTS, AND TO DEMAND IMMEDIATE ACTION TO FIX THE CRISIS AND PREVENT ANY MORE UNNECESSARY DEATHS IN AUSTRALIA’S NURSING HOMES.

THE SECTOR IS UNSUSTAINABLE ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said survey respondents made it clear that understaffing was the major reason for the crisis the system faced during the pandemic. “Aged care workers told us they feel ‘unseen, unvalued and cast aside’ – they’re overworked, stressed and are fast losing hope and strength. “Overwhelmingly, they told us that understaffing was the major reason for the crisis the system faced during the pandemic. “Time and again, Mr Morrison and his ministers were warned of the impending crisis in aged care and despite the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have still done nothing to address the chronic understaffing at the root of so much of the suffering in privately run nursing homes. “Most concerning for the ANMF and, indeed, the whole community, is the number of aged care staff who reported that they will leave their jobs within the next one to five years – that’s years upon years of experience just walking out the door. “Lack of effective recruitment and retention of nurses and qualified care workers will only put further strain on a system at breaking point and will lead to more suffering and neglect. “The survey shows us that the staff remaining in aged care only do so for the love and respect of the people they care for, but their wages and conditions do not justify the risks and pressure they experience every time they go to work. It’s unsustainable.” n

Yet another COVID spike in aged care The sudden increase in COVID-19 numbers in the wider Australian community from the spread of the new, more transmissible Omicron subvariant BA.2, is being reflected in case numbers for residential aged care homes. On 10 March, there were 771 residents and 639 staff with COVID in 272 active outbreaks in residential aged care facilities, according to the Commonwealth Department of Health. That represented a 12 per cent increase in resident cases and a 13 per cent rise in the number of homes with active cases. A total of 877 residents had died with or of COVID since 1 January. 81 per cent of residential aged care homes in Australia have now had reported cases of COVID. As of 10 March, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) had 201 personnel deployed across 33 residential aged care homes. A cumulative total of 121 facilities have been supported to date, which was a significant drop-off from seven days earlier when 250 personnel were being deployed in 41 homes. n THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 25


INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

Fiona and Jocelyn recognised for sterling contributions Two members of the NSWNMA have been recognised in this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) awards.

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SWNMA member Fiona M itchel l w a s n a me d Swansea Local Woman of the Year for her leadership during COVID-19. Fiona, who ma nages Belmont Hospita l’s Emergency Department (ED), was nominated for the award by her local member of parliament, Yasmin Catley MP. Fiona played a key role in designing and implementing an innovative swabbing model for the Hunter New England Local Health District, to help prevent people from catching COVID-19. Fiona told The Lamp that at the start of the pandemic, her general manager gave her two days to come up with a model for the care and management of COVID in her ED. “My director and I designed and rolled out Hunter’s first drivethrough swab clinic, which tested thousands every day.” Their design used an initial telephone assessment, followed by a drive-through appointment. “We set up a phone line so people could register and get an appointment time,” she explained. Clients’ details were taken over the phone, to minimise the waiting and contact times at the drivethrough testing centre, which used nurses who were furloughed because they were close contacts. “When COVID started, we had registered nurses on COVID leave take the phone calls,” Fiona said. It is gratifying to be recognised for leadership in nursing, Fiona said, especially during a time “when 26 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022

no one knew what we were dealing with”. She added that the award also recognises the challenges nurses are facing at the moment. As an active member of the NSWNMA, Fiona has also been an advocate for improved nurse-to-patient ratios. “Nurses haven’t been coping for a long time,” she said, citing overcrowding, ramping, and long delays in her ED. “Our EDs just don’t have beds to put patients on. My staff … are flogged.” “With the help of the Association, we have recently managed to increase our staffing. I couldn’t have done any of this without the support of the union.” She added that she is grateful to champions such as Yasmin Catley, who recognise the challenges nurses are facing and advocate for them in parliament. Aged care nurse Jocelyn Hofman was also nominated for an IWD award in 2022: the Unions NSW Lina Cabaero Award. An activist and NSWNMA member for 20 years, Jocelyn was nominated for her campaigning to improve staffing, nurse education and training, and better workplace safety in the aged care sector. “I feel very humbled for being nominated by our Association,” Jocelyn said. “It’s very special to be nominated by my colleagues; Lina’s are big shoes to fill.” She said her proudest achievement is the way that the issues in

aged care are now being widely understood. “The community is finally finding out about our dire situation,” said Jocelyn, who has tirelessly raised awareness about the sector through doorknocking, joining community groups and talking to anyone who will listen. The award pays tribute to the life and the contribution of the late Lina Cabaero, who worked with the national democratic movement opposing the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines, and in Australia she campaigned for the rights of workers, especially migrant women workers. n

FIONA MITCHELL (RIGHT)

JOCELYN HOFMAN


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10.03.22 THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 27


ANNUAL CONFERENCE

k c a B ! ICC Sydney » 3–5 August 2022

We’re

COUNT TOWARDS CPD HOURS

NSW NURSES & MIDWIVES’ PROFESSIONAL DAY

Save the date WEDNESDAY 3 AUGUST

ICC Sydney, Pyrmont Theatre and online

MC Julie McCrossin AM

Julie is renowned across Australia for her warmth, humour, intelligence, professionalism and commitment to justice and diversity. For over 20 years she worked with ABC Radio National, ABC TV and Network Ten before becoming a freelance journalist, podcaster and voice-over broadcaster. 28 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022

FEATURING

Jane Caro AM

A Walkley Award winning Australian columnist, author, novelist, broadcaster, documentary maker, feminist and social commentator. Jane also appears frequently on ABC Radio, The Drum, Sunrise and Weekend Sunrise.

Georgie Carrol

Australia’s funniest nurse will bring the lols to our Professional Day. Author of Off the Charts and creator of the viral stand up clip 3 Stages of Nursing is happy to show you her funniest bits in this session. You won’t be learning, you will be in stitches, the good kind.

Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM

Commissioner Fitzsimmons is the current inaugural Commissioner for Resilience NSW and Deputy Secretary, Emergency Management with the Department of Premier and Cabinet. He is the chair of the State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC), the State Recovery Committee (SRC), Board of Commissioners (BOC) and the National Emergency Medal Committee (NEMC). He has most recently been announced as the 2021 NSW Australian of the Year.

Register now! nswnma.info/pd2022


NSWNMA

RS A N I B E W E LIV The NSWNMA has released a series of free webinars on a range of subjects relevant to nursing and midwifery practice. We have a suite of regular topics, such as Medications, Communication and Documentation, Professional Obligations and many more.

PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION

bit.ly/educationNSWNMA

We also arrange other additional one-off webinars facilitated by external presenters on interesting and topical subjects. Keep an eye on the education page and our education emails for updates and additions. Go to the Education page of our website to search our face-toface and webinar CPD education options.

MIDWIFERY REFERENCE GROUP The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association is seeking members to join the Midwifery Reference Group. The group meet 4-6 times per year to discuss current issues and challenges in the midwifery sector. Meetings are held in a blended Zoom/ face-to-face format to allow members to be involved regardless of geographical location. Current NSWNMA midwifery members are invited to join.

Being a member of the Midwifery Reference Group gives you the opportunity to: be a voice for the issues impacting midwives and the midwifery profession assist in the development and reviewing of policies be a link between members and the Association

MORE INFORMATION + EXPRESSION OF INTEREST: email education@nswnma.asn.au THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 29


YOUR RIGHTS

Ask

Shaye The right to reduced hours after maternity leave I work in the public health system. My NUM told me that the only way I can reduce my hours when I get back from parental leave is to resign my job and go casual. Is that right? No, you do not have to resign your permanent position and we would encourage you not to, as you will forfeit your rights to entitlements such as sick leave and FACS leave. When you return from maternity leave you have a right to request reduced hours, to manage your parental responsibilities under clause 34 D, subclause (i) (c) of the Public Health System Nurses’ and Midwives’ (State) Award. I would suggest writing to your manager to outline your circumstances and request they reconsider your request. If this is further declined, please contact the Association for further advice and assistance. When rosters clash I am an RN working permanent part-time at a public hospital and I also have a casual RN job at a private hospital. My NUM at the public hospital has recently asked me to provide her with a copy of my casual roster at the private hospital. She has told me that the reason for this is that they want to ensure that my shifts at the public hospital do not clash with those at the private hospital. Can NSW Health ask me to provide this information? This is a reasonable request to avoid conflict between rosters and to ensure safe 30 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022

When it comes to your rights and entitlements at work, NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary Shaye has the answers.

working hours. Your employers have obligations under Work Health and Safety legislation to take reasonable steps to ensure they provide you with safe working conditions, including safe hours of work. They are also required to ensure that safe patient care is provided and accordingly, that staff are not fatigued. Similarly, you have professional obligations to ensure that your practice is safe, and a duty of care to your patients to uphold, including that you are not working fatigued. We would advise you to share your rosters as requested so that the above obligations can be managed appropriately. Casual conversion at Bupa I am employed as a casual AiN through Bupa Aged Care. During the COVID-19 pandemic I have been picking up additional hours on a regular basis for about 14 months and believe these hours are not replacing someone on extended leave. Do I have a right to claim these hours permanently? A casual employee who has been rostered on a regular and systematic basis over a period of 26 weeks has the right to request conversion to permanent employment on a permanent part-time contract. The contract would be based on the average number of hours as previously worked per fortnight, unless other arrangements are agreed between Bupa and the employee. The above is known as ‘casual conversion’ and will not apply

where a casual has covered absences of permanent staff that are expected to return to work. The above information can be found in the Bupa Aged Care Australia, NSWNMA, ANMF (NSW Branch) and HSU NSW Branch, New South Wales Enterprise Agreement 2018 clause 10.4 (h) (ii). Please note this is a right to request and the employer cannot decline the request on reasonable grounds. Entitlement to the aged care bonus I am an EN and recently got a new job in aged care. I started at my job on 21 February 2022. Will I still be eligible for the new aged care bonus even though I have not been working in the industry for very long? Yes. The new Aged Care Workforce Bonus Payment will be payable to workers employed in residential or home aged care on 28 February and 28 April 2022. Employers (aged care providers and agencies that provide aged care staff) will be able to apply from 1 March 2022 on behalf of eligible workers and will then pay the bonus to those workers. Long service leave under special circumstances I am a part-time EN working with NSW Health. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, my husband has lost his job and has been unable to find work where we currently live. He found a job further north and we will have to relocate four hours’ drive away. As such,


YOUR RIGHTS

I am going to have to resign my current employment of six years and find work closer to our new home, because I will not be able to travel so far each day and I also have carer responsibilities. Would I be entitled to my long service leave payment even though I have not worked with my current employer for seven years? NSW Health full-time and permanent part-time employees are entitled to long service leave payment after seven years of service. There are certain circumstances, however, where you are entitled to long service leave if you have had at least five years of continuous service. These circumstances are if you resign because of death, illness, incapacity or, such as in your circumstances, domestic or other pressing necessity. Advise your employer of your reasons

for resigning and if requested, provide some evidence of your relocation, and you should be paid a proportionate amount for long service leave on the basis of two months’ long service leave for ten years’ service. Daylight savings anomaly I am an RN working in a public hospital. I am rostered on for duty overnight on Saturday 2 April 2022, the night that daylight savings will finish. As a result, at 3:00 am, the clocks will be wound back one hour, making it only 2:00 am. This means I will have another 5.5 hours to work until 7:30 am, when I am rostered off. Given my 10-hour night duty goes from 9:30 pm to 7:30 am, I will have worked an additional hour, making a total of 11 hours worked over that shift. Will I be paid one hour’s overtime?

Unfortunately, an additional hour will not be paid at the time the daylight savings finishes, as you are paid by the hours on the clock; however, best practice is for your NUM to roster you on the same night duty on the date in October when daylight savings starts, meaning that you will gain back the hour that you lose in April.

NSWNMA’s fortnightly podcast

Nurse on a mission Keeping regional communities strong Another massive year

Out now!

Listen on THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 31


The Edith Cavell Trust is now able to receive non-tax deductable donations/bequests. The Trust – named in honour of Edith Cavell – assists in the advancement of NSW nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing/midwifery through further studies and research, made available through scholarship. The knowledge and expertise gained by nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing/ midwifery, supported by the Edith Cavell Scholarships, is an asset to the care of their patients and clients. Bequests to the Trust continue to support this important work. Edith, a British nurse serving in Belgium in WW1, is a hero to most nurses and midwives. She helped some 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium. Her actions saw her arrested, accused of treason, found guilty by a court-martial and sentenced to death. Despite international pressure for mercy, she was shot by a German firing squad. NAME ADDRESS

EMAIL

Cavell Edith

TRUST BEQUESTS

PHONE

BEQUEST/ DONATION AMOUNT

$

PREFERRED METHOD OF PAYMENT Electronic Fund Transfer Account name: Edith Cavell Trust Bank: Commonwealth Bank BSB: 062-017 Account no: 10017908 Credit Card I authorise the Edith Cavell Trust (processed via NSWNMA) to debit my credit card for the amount of Mastercard

Visa

Card no

$

Name on Card Expiry Date

/

Signature of Cardholder

APPLICATIONS CLOSE 5PM ON 31 JULY 2022

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR THE ACADEMIC YEAR 2023 Applications for the Edith Cavell Trust Scholarships are being accepted from 1 May 2022, closing 31 July 2022, for studies being undertaken in the academic year 2023. Members or Associate Members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association or the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (NSW Branch) are invited to apply.

www.nswnma.asn.au CLICK ON ‘EDUCATION’ For further information contact: Scholarship Coordinator, The Edith Cavell Trust 50 O’Dea Avenue, Waterloo NSW 2017 T 1300 367 962 E edithcavell@nswnma.asn.au 32 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022

All grants, awards or loans shall be made to financially assist nurses, midwives, assistants in nursing, assistants in midwifery (including students of those disciplines), and accredited nursing or midwifery organisations, schools and faculties in the furtherance of: (i) accredited nursing or midwifery studies; (ii) such academic research programs as are approved by the Trustees in the theory or practice of nursing or midwifery work; or (iii) clinical nursing education programs at graduate, post-graduate and continuing education professional development level; in accordance with a number of categories. Full details of the scholarship categories, how to apply and to obtain the official application form is available from the NSWNMA website. Prior to applying, please ensure you have read the Edith Cavell Trust Scholarship Rules.


WORLD

Nurse vs. nurse for Olympic glory Rivals at curling; comrades on the frontline of the pandemic. After two years of helping patients battle COVID-19, two nurses – Nina Roth, vice skipper of the US curling team, and Vicky Wright, vice skipper of the British curling team – temporarily swapped their scrubs for the limelight of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Unlike the highly paid stars we associate with elite-level sport, these two nurses had combined the high-stress environment of nursing in a pandemic with intense training for their shot at Olympic glory. “It all feels like a blur now, but you just get your head down and go on,” Wright told Sports Illustrated. “You have good days, you have bad days, just like in sport. And same as having great teammates on the ice, the support’s there, you work together, and you come out with a solution.” Roth has worked for a decade at a critical illness recovery centre; Wright is a surgical nurse at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Scotland. As the pandemic broke, Wright was about to start competing at the world championships in Canada in March 2020, but flew home instead and threw herself into the fray against COVID. In Beijing, Great Britain beat the US in a preliminary game, but both nurses bonded after all they had endured during the previous 24 months. “After all, in a sense, they’re part of the same team,” enthused Sports Illustrated. Vicky went on to win the gold.

‘ (In nursing) you have good days, you have bad days, just like in sport.’ — British Olympian and nurse Vicky Wright.

We’re looking after your benefit rewards We’ve joined forces with Member Advantage, Australia’s leading loyalty program, to bring you a membership benefits program that offers you hundreds of savings every day. As a member of The NSW Nurses & Midwives’ Association, you can enjoy: • • • • • • •

4% off groceries at Coles and Woolworths 7% off purchases at over 10,000 pubs and bars 25% off a pair of glasses at Specsavers 5% off petrol at Caltex Up to 60% off hotel bookings Discounted movie tickets Commercial pricing at The Good Guys

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online.nswnma.asn.au Terms and conditions apply to all offers.

1300 853 352 customercare@memberadvantage.com.au

THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 33


NEWS IN BRIEF

AUSTRALIA

AUSTRALIA

Dementia symptoms worsen during pandemic

Poverty is a significant determinant in COVID deaths

New research finds 39 per cent of people with dementia suffered from worse depression during COVID.

Newly released Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data show people living in poverty or disadvantage are three times more likely to die from COVID than the wealthy.

In an online survey of carers of people with dementia – in Australia, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands – respondents reported their loved ones were more disoriented, restless and withdrawn. They also reported poorer mental health themselves as a result of the pandemic. Researchers found “an accelerated decline of symptoms over a short period of time (within a few months) during the pandemic, which may not be attributable to the typical course of dementia”. “More than one-third of people with dementia had worse apathy (loss of motivation) and anxiety. They also had worse delusions; that is, unshakeable beliefs about things that are not true. For example, becoming increasingly paranoid or suspicious of unfamiliar surroundings, such as people wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), and changes to their daily routines, such as not being able to see their families,” researchers from the University of Sydney wrote in the online journal The Conversation. More than one-quarter had worse irritability and agitation compared to before the pandemic. The researchers said, “symptoms may be exacerbated by the reduction in meaningful contact with their loved ones, and disconnection from their usual social activities and routines”. More than half of carers reported they had worsened mental health since the pandemic began and 63 per cent had a reduced social network.

ABS data show the rate of death from COVID for people living in Australia who were born overseas was almost three times more than those born in Australia. The rate of death from COVID for people living in Australia from the Middle East was over 12 times that of people born in Australia. Two academics from the University of NSW, Prof. Gemma Carey and Ben O’Meara, said the figures were disturbing. “They tell us you’re more likely to survive COVID if you were born here, grew up speaking and reading English, are educated, and earn a good income,’” they wrote in The Conversation. “They undermine the idea that Australia has good-quality universal health care that has been accessible during the pandemic.” Carey and O’Meara’s analysis of the ABS statistics is consistent with previous research that shows that “poverty makes you sick”. “It does this by limiting your access to services and supports, through money or other factors such as the type of job you work,” they said. Poorer people also tend to receive poorer quality health care. Their conclusion: “A top-down, middle-class response to a pandemic will create services and supports that only work for the middle class.”

‘ More than half of carers reported they had worsened mental health since the pandemic began.’

34 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022

‘A top-down, middle-class response to a pandemic will create services and supports that only work for the middle class.’


NEWS IN BRIEF

AUSTRALIA

150,000 sign ACTU petition demanding free and accessible RATs Scott Morrison still refuses to listen to advice from medical experts, businesses, and unions that large numbers of Rapid Antigen Tests are required to keep working people and the broader community safe.

the provision of tests and any appropriate PPE.

More than 150,000 Australians signed a petition last month demanding the Morrison Government act immediately to make Rapid Antigen Tests free and accessible for everyone.

“Every Australian has been affected by the Morrison Government’s failure to secure a reliable supply of RATs. It is shameful that it is easier for Australians to catch COVID than it is to find a test kit,” she said.

The ACTU says, “RATs are one of the best tools we have to stop the spread of the virus and reduce the strain on our overwhelmed healthcare system, and are provided free to anyone who needs them by governments around the world, including in the US and UK”. It says the cost burden on low-paid workers in frontline industries, who have to test themselves and their families regularly and at their own expense, is “unacceptable”. The ACTU says the law makes it clear that employees should never shoulder the cost of ensuring that their workplace is safe – including

ACTU Secretary, Sally McManus, said it was time for the government to respond to the voices of workers, employers and the community.

“We can limit admissions to hospitals, keep workplaces open and supply chains operating if we have free and accessible RATs.”

CROSSWORD SOLUTION

‘It is shameful that it is easier for Australians to catch COVID than it is to find a test kit.’ — ACTU Secretary Sally McManus

Quality legal advice for NSWNMA members • Workers Compensation Claims • Litigation, including workplace related claims • Employment and Industrial Law • Workplace Health and Safety • Anti-Discrimination • Criminal, including driving offences • Probate / Estates • Public Notary • Discounted rates for members including First Free Consultations for members

Call the NSWNMA on 1300 367 962

and find out how you can access this great service

Offices in Sydney and Newcastle with visiting offices in regional areas (by appointment) THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 35


NEWS IN BRIEF

AUSTRALIA

Australian health leaders call for global vaccine equity Leading Australian voices, including the ANMF, have outlined the overwhelming moral, health and economic case for investing in global vaccine equity and pandemic preparedness. More than 70 of Australia’s leading epidemiologists, GPs, global health, business, development and aid organisations have signed an open letter calling on the Prime Minister Scott Morrison to make a Budget commitment to accelerate the global vaccination effort and prevent the emergence of another COVID variant of concern. The letter proposes three important contributions Australia could make: • Continue to add our weight to tackling global vaccine inequity through the COVAX AMC Facility. • Use our partnerships to tackle vaccine hesitancy. • Reduce the chance of future outbreaks, variants and pandemics. “Less than six per cent of people in low-income countries are fully vaccinated and case numbers are increasing. This is unfair, immoral, dangerous for those communities and dangerous for Australia,” the letter says. “Australia has pledged 60 million vaccines for the region by the end of 2022. But the problem right now is vaccine hesitancy and getting shots into arms. Despite supply, our nearest neighbour, Papua New Guinea, is less than three per cent fully vaccinated and the Solomon Islands just over eleven per cent.” The letter says Australia should support the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which has “developed a plan to accelerate the end of COVID-19 while protecting the world from future pandemics, building on what we’ve learned in the past 18 months”.

CHINA

Wuhan market was epicentre of COVID according to two new studies Both pieces of research rule out a lab leak as the source of the virus. The two reports trace the outbreak back to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, which sold live animals. The research included genetic analyses of coronavirus samples collected from the market and from people infected in December 2019 and January 2020, as well as geolocation analyses connecting these samples to a section of the market where live animals were sold. Taken together, these different lines of evidence point towards the market as the source of the outbreak, Kristian Andersen, a virologist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, and an author on two of the reports told Nature magazine. “This is extremely strong evidence,” he said. Another virologist and research co-author, Michael Worobey, from the University of Arizona, told Nature that his thinking on the origins of COVID19 had shifted. In 2021, in a letter to Science magazine, he and other researchers pressed the scientific community to keep an open mind about whether the pandemic stemmed from a laboratory like the Wuhan Institute of Virology. But since then, additional evidence has come to light that supports a zoonotic origin story similar to that of HIV, Zika virus, Ebola virus and multiple influenza viruses, he says. “When you look at all of the evidence, it is clear that this started at the market,” he says.

Read the letter https://anmf.org.au/documents/End_COVID_For_All_ LetterToPM_2022.pdf 36 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022

‘This is extremely strong evidence.’ — Kristian Andersen, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California


NEWS IN BRIEF

AUSTRALIA

Paper giant Visy electronically tracked workers on site Multi-billion-dollar company used COVID as an excuse to monitor CFMEU officials at its Tumut mill. The CFMEU manufacturing division NSW took Visy to the Fair Work Commission after the company insisted assistant secretary Alison Rudman wear a Bluetooth Harald Card – an electronic tracking device. The union argued that this was unreasonable and that she feared her interactions with union members would be monitored. “The issue of who wears these cards is the latest in a line of activities by Visy that appear intended to discourage their employees from being union members,” Alison Rudman told The Sydney Morning Herald. “The decision to ask the Fair Work Commission to resolve this issue was taken when in January, Visy management tried to expand the scope of who had to wear the cards, despite a change in the health advice by the state government that meant there was less tracking in everyday life.” The company had introduced the electronic tracking of its workers at Tumut as a COVID measure at the same time the NSW government was scaling back the use of QR codes. NSW Council for Civil Liberties president, Pauline Wright, questioned the appropriateness of the company’s actions. “In this case, it’s probably legitimate to propose perimeter controls … [but] requiring people to wear a device that locates them inside the premises ... it would seem to be disproportionate. It sounds pretty invasive to me,” she told the Herald.

AUSTRALIA

Super win for women workers Poor superannuation policy costs the low paid $59 million a year. The $450 threshold for superannuation contributions has been scrapped after years of union campaigning. The poor policy introduced by the Coalition government led to $59 million being withheld from the superannuation of low-paid workers every year. Women – who make up 63 per cent of the workforce – who earn under $450 a month from a single employer, will benefit most from the change, say unions and superannuation funds. “Removing the $450 threshold is a critical step in closing the gender superannuation gap, which sees women retiring with half the savings as men and 40 per cent of retired single women living in poverty,” said ACTU Assistant Secretary Scott Connolly. “This is long overdue, and while the unions were fighting hard for it for years, consecutive Coalition governments allowed millions of dollars in superannuation to be lost. “Poor retirement savings are directly related to insecure work and gig work, with some workers not being paid super at all under the $450 restriction despite working multiple jobs. Superannuation must be paid on every dollar earned.” The ACTU says much more needs to be done to ensure financial security in retirement for all Australians. “To protect worker retirement, the government must ensure their commitment to increasing the superannuation guarantee to 12 per cent. Superannuation must also be paid on parental leave, to further close the gender retirement gap,” says Scott Connolly.

‘ Requiring people to wear a device that locates them inside the premises ... it would seem to be disproportionate.’ — NSW Council for Civil Liberties president, Pauline Wright

‘Superannuation must also be paid on parental leave to further close the gender retirement gap.’ — ACTU Assistant Secretary Scott Connolly THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 37


Recently

moved house or changed jobs? Changed your

classification or email?

Win

an APPLE Log on to online.nswnma.asn.au and update your details to go into the draw. 38 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022

WATCH Everyone who uses our online portal from 1 April 2022 – 30 March 2023 to update their details will automatically be entered in the draw to win. * The winner must be a financial member of the NSWNMA. If a redraw is required for an unclaimed prize it must be held up to 3 months from the original draw date.


CROSSWORD

test your

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ACROSS 1. Accumulation of menstrual blood in the vagina and uterus (17) 10. Organs that resemble stalks (7) 11. Most supple (7) 12. Big (5) 14. To try to vomit (5) 15. Topical treatment for lice and scabies (1.1.1) 16. A child (5) 17. Symbol for orotic acid (1.1.1) 18. Having no expectation (11) 19. A curve (3) 20. An old-fashioned copy machine (10.7) 22. Never having borne a child (11) 23. Poison (5) 24. Belly (7)

27. Having knowledge or skill from observation (9) 30. Require, need (7) 31. Having the combining power of three (9) 32. A genetic disease where patients develop multiple soft tumors (17) DOWN 1. Abnormally increased numbers of melanocytes in a particular area of the body (17) 2. Absorbing heat (11) 3. Self-induced hypnotism (13) 4. A remedy for earache (7) 5. A machine to an enlarge images on a screen or a wall (8.9) 6. A type of sandflies (11) 7. A process of breaking down of food and its transforming into

8. 9. 13. 21. 23. 25. 26. 28. 29.

energy (9) Anxious fear (11) A chronic red or eczematous rash from exposure and sensitisation to ultraviolet ray (7.10) A blood group (2) The genetic makeup of many viruses (1.1.1) Strain (7) Aroma, smell (5) Moles (5) A 3-dimensional shape with two identical shapes facing each other (5) Jugs or pitchers (5)

THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 39


TRAVEL

Take a look at these fabulous holiday offers

Never pay full price for a holiday again

Ubookdirect offers all NSWNMA members discounted rates 1000's of hotels Australia wide. Fill in a quote request Free ontoday to save on your next getaway. Book your school $20 holidays now to get the best discounted rates. voucher UBOOKDIRECT is giving members a $20 voucher to use on any already discounted member package when booking through the Concierge. To book one of these fantastic destinations log on to https://travelbenefits.ubookdirect.com and click on the ENQUIRY tab or call 1300 959 550.

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Use your $20 voucher to save even more. Melbourne is the perfect holiday destination to experience worldclass dining, shopping, secret laneways and rooftop bars, theatres, art galleries, and museums.

Cairns & Melbourne offer: valid for travel 1 April 2022 until 1 November 2022. Rate based on adults andAPRIL/MAY subject to2022 availability. For full t&c’s go to https://travelbenefits.ubookdirect.com 40 |2THE LAMP

Bali is back! Stay 5 nights or more in a luxury private pool villa from $779 Inclusions: • Return airport transfers • Welcome drink, tropical fruit basket and Wi-Fi • Daily breakfasts • 2 x free lunches per stay • 2 x free dinners per stay • 1 x full day private charter tour per stay (7 nights or more) • Daily afternoon tea • Daily scheduled shuttle service • Guaranteed 2 pm late check-out. Use your $20 voucher to save even more. Seminyak is Bali’s most sophisticated and upscale beach resort area, where the top draws are its beautiful beaches and chilled-out vibes. Bali offer: valid for travel 1 April 2022 until 30 June 2023. Rate based on 2 adults and subject to availability. For full t&c’s go to https://travelbenefits.ubookdirect.com


REVIEWS

book club

T ES

CI

AL

R

Penguin Random House RRP $32.99: ISBN 9781761043383

S PE

Lizzie Pook

INTE IAL

ST RE

Moonlight And The Pearler’s Daughter

SPE C

All books can be ordered through the publisher or your local bookshop. Call 8595 1234 or 1300 367 962, or email library@nswnma.asn.au for assistance with loans or research. Books are not independently reviewed or reviewed using information supplied by the publishers.

IN T E

Western Australia, 1886. As the pearling We have 4 copies of ships return to Bannin Bay after a long Moonlight and the diving season, twenty-year-old Eliza Pearler’s Daughter Brightwell nervously awaits the arrival to give away thanks of her father’s boat. to Penguin Random But when his lugger finally limps in, House. Email it brings with it a tale of tragedy: Charles your name and Brightwell, master pearler, has gone membership number missing at sea. to lamp@nswnma. asn.au by 31 May to Immediately, whispers from the be in the draw to win! townsfolk point to mutiny or murder, but headstrong Eliza knows her father; she is sure he is still alive. As the Bay swelters under the heat of the approaching wet season, it falls to Eliza to seek out the truth behind her eccentric father’s disappearance.

Innocent Nurses Abroad Jenny Old Ocean Reeve RRP $24.99: ISBN 97819223401089

From her childhood in Deniliquin to boarding school in Sydney, to becoming a reluctant nurse in Melbourne; meeting the ‘amigos’ and then venturing forth into the unknown as innocent nurses abroad. Follow Jenny on her magnificent journey around 1960’s Europe and beyond, on a bus called Dennis. Imagine cooking spaghetti on a sidewalk in Cannes or crossing the Sahara Desert. Being questioned by soldiers in East Berlin before ‘The Wall’ fell. Dodging the riots in France, Spain, Britain and the spreading unrest across Europe as it begins to prosper and expand. This story tells of living and working in London in the 1960’s, travelling abroad, lasting friendships, the social life, and of course, the love affair. How will it end? Ocean Reeve have offered members

a $5 discount (code: 5TYDZUNR) on copies purchased here: https://www. oceanreevepublishing.com/product/ innocent-nurses-abroad/

The Little Wartime Library

Peach Blossom Spring Melissa Fu Hachette Australia RRP $32.99: ISBN 9781472277541

Kate Thompson Hachette Australia RRP $32.99: ISBN 9781529395402

London, 1944. Clara Button is no ordinary librarian. While the world remains at war, in East London Clara has created the country's only underground library, built over the tracks in the disused Bethnal Green tube station. Down here a secret community thrives: with thousands of bunk beds, a nursery, a cafe and a theatre offering shelter, solace and escape from the bombs that fall above. Based on true events, The Little Wartime Library is a gripping and heart-wrenching page-turner remembering one of the greatest resistance stories of the war.

until the end of time.

With every misfortune there is a blessing and within every blessing, the seeds of misfortune, and so it goes,

It is 1938 in China, and the Japanese are advancing. A young mother, Meilin, is forced to flee her burning city with her four-yearold son, Renshu, and embark on an epic journey across China. For comfort, they turn to their most treasured possession – a beautifully illustrated hand scroll. Its ancient fables offer solace and wisdom as they travel through their ravaged country, seeking refuge.

THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 41


NOTICE

NSWNMA FEE WAIVER for members on parental leave DID YOU KNOW,

if you’re going on parental leave, paid or unpaid, we’ll waive your Association fees until you return to work? You’ll still be entitled to access advice and receive The Lamp. Contact the Association and let us know when you plan to take parental leave so we can set up your waiver. PHONE 8595 1234 • 1300 367 962 EMAIL gensec@nswnma.asn.au

www.nswnma.asn.au 42 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022

Authorised by B.Holmes, General Secretary, NSWNMA


YOUR HEALTH

fitness+wellbeing Struggling with meal prep? Here’s how to make it easier! The importance of nutrition for the everyday support and function of our bodies is well known, however meeting our daily nutritional needs can be challenging. Meal prep can be a great solution to meeting these needs, while still being able to balance other demands of life. Meal prep can also be used to create new habits and change behaviour to ensure you are prioritising your health through your everyday choices. The most important thing when you are first starting to meal prep is to keep it simple. We all have busy lives, and so you want to make sure that your meal prep is straightforward and doesn’t take up too much time.

To keep your meal prep easy • Spend 50 minutes or less for all meal prep • Use frozen veggies to save time peeling, cutting etc • Cook veggies in an air fryer (if you have one) •B uy pre-marinated meat (or plantbased alternative) to save time making a sauce (just make sure you check the sugar and sodium in the marinade) As a rule of thumb, each one of your meal portions should have a serving of protein, and at least 200g of veggies. Your carbohydrate and protein servings should be adjusted according to your nutritional needs. If you would like more information around nutrition servings and portion sizes please reach out to us at info@ vitruvianhealth.com.au and we can provide you with our food list, with pre-calculated serving sizes including plant-based alternatives, dairy free and gluten free options. If you are ready to get started or just want some inspiration check out the video through this QR code of Vitruvian Health’s Karl’s meal prep routine.

If you aren’t finding the food you make for meal prep exciting enough, or you are starting to get sick of making the same thing over and over, a really easy way to mix things up is to change the seasoning you are using. This can be for your meat (or plant-based protein) or veggies and can completely recreate your meal without having to change anything else. If you would rather make your own seasoning for your meal prep or are just wanting to add a bit of extra flavour, see the below video on how to make your own spices.

If you would like more recipe ideas or information around servings and nutrition, the Vitruvian Health team are here to help! Simply email us at info@vitruvianhealth.com.au and we can provide you access to our recipes and food lists, with precalculated serving sizes including plant-based alternatives, dairy free and gluten free options. THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 43


INSURANCE BENEFITS

For NSWNMA Members

Insurance protection when you need it most The NSWNMA is committed to protecting the interests of nurses and midwives by purchasing a range of insurances to cover members.

Journey Accident Insurance provides cover for members who are injured as a result of an accident while travelling between their home and their regular place of employment. Professional Indemnity Insurance provides legal representation and protection for members when required. Make sure your membership remains financial at all times in order to access the insurance and other benefits provided by the NSWNMA.

Unsure if you are financial?

It’s easy! Ring and check today on 8595 1234 (metro) or 1300 367 962 (rural) Change your payment information online at www.nswnma.asn.au

www.nswnma.asn.au 44 |

IMPORTANT NOTE From 1 December 2018 the insurance benefits have changed as follows: • Journey Accident Insurance: the waiting period for benefits is now 14 days THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 • Professional Indemnity Insurance: the limit per claim is now $5 million


NURSING RESEARCH AND PROFESSIONAL ISSUES The Association has submitted our claim for a decent pay rise for public sector nurses and midwives in NSW. Cost of living is a huge issue for wage earners and the cost of housing continues to price us out of homes within reasonable distance to where we work. Generation Stressed: House Prices and the Cost of Living in the 21st Century Per Capita, July 2021 In this discussion paper, Per Capita estimated the total cost of a mortgage as a proportion of wages over the 30-year life of a standard home loan. To do this, they compared home prices, mortgage rates, and wage changes to see what proportion of a median income would go to covering the cost of the median mortgage. The results reveal a significant increase in the lifetime expenditure on the median mortgage over three decades, and a consequent reduction in the spending capacity of average Australian households. For a Silent Generation family buying in 1970, the average repayment cost over the course of the mortgage was 11.2 per cent of their gross income. For a Baby Boomer family buying a home in 1985, the average repayment cost over the life of the mortgage came out at 19.5 per cent of gross income. For a Generation X family though, who bought in 2000 and have approximately nine years left to go on their mortgage, we estimate they will spend 25.5 per cent of their gross income on servicing mortgage debt. That is a 130 per cent increase in the lifetime cost of owning a home over 30 years. https://percapita.org.au/our_work/ generation-stressed-house-pricesand-the-cost-of-living-in-the-21stcentury/

Just Reward: The Case for a Wage Rise After COVID-19 Per Capita, May 2021 The Fair Work Commission’s 2021 Annual Wage Review is occurring in the context of the most uncertain economic outlook

Australia has experienced in decades, and following a federal budget that projects weak wage growth across the economy for at least the next four years. After the biggest economic shock in a century, economic activity is picking up, and the main government support programs, such as JobKeeper and the JobSeeker Coronavirus supplement, have been withdrawn. Unemployment is down, but 60 per cent of the jobs created in the last six months are casual, while less than a quarter are full-time. Underemployment and job insecurity remain a significant problem for the Australian labour force, as they were before the pandemic. Too many Australians are not working enough hours, or receiving adequate rates of pay, to sustain them and their families. Businesses across the country are reopening and reinstating, or hiring new, staff. Some small businesses, particularly in the hospitality and tourism sectors in regional areas, are struggling to get back to full steam, while other larger businesses have banked record profits during the pandemic, with some even pocketing millions of dollars of government funding that was intended, via JobKeeper, to be paid as salaries to workers. It is against this backdrop that employer groups and business lobbyists, with the support of the Federal Government, are now arguing against a much-needed increase in the minimum wage – despite the Government’s fiscal projections for economic recovery relying heavily on high levels of consumer spending over the forward estimates. As this report demonstrates, it is imperative that low- and middle-income households receive adequate wage increases to compensate for years of wage stagnation and months of lost

income: imperative not only for working Australians and their families, but critical to the task of lifting consumer confidence and spending needed to boost the revenues of small and medium enterprises across the nation. https://percapita.org.au/our_work/ just-reward/

Housing key workers: scoping challenges, aspirations, and policy responses for Australian cities Catherine Gilbert, Zahra Nasreen, Nicole Gurran The findings presented in this report add to the weight of evidence that Australia’s housing system needs fundamental reform. The data detailed in this study presents a picture of key workers struggling to access appropriate and affordable housing in Sydney and Melbourne; including workers on incomes in the Q3 range; and, shows that even outer suburbs and some satellite regions are now also unaffordable for these essential employees. If not addressed, there is a risk that key workers who provide essential services but who earn low and moderate incomes will be unable to live in Australia’s most expensive cities, threatening ongoing capacity to sustain critical urban functions across the public and private sector. To address this risk, governments must support initiatives to increase the overall supply of housing that is affordable and suitable for low- and moderate- income workers, while recognising their aspirations for home ownership. https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/ final-reports/355,

THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022 | 45


NEW MEMBER BENEFIT

Access to online Professional Education ers!

b m e FREE for NSWNMA m

1/

Meeting your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) obligations* is now even easier with this great new offer for NSWNMA members. As a financial member you’ll have access to 61 online courses absolutely free.

FEATURING Access to over 20 hours of FREE CPD* 61 topics including those modules that are deemed mandatory annual competencies by large health organisations and nursing agencies* Free professional development portfolio to provide evidence to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) of participation in CPD annually 3/ Access free webinars on a range of topics

4/

LOGGING ON MEMBERS: New users create a ONE-TIME login to the website. NON-MEMBERS: Join the union at www.nswnma.asn.au and receive access to your 20 hours of FREE CPD!

bit.ly/NSWNMAMemberCentral * Nurses and midwives have various obligations in relation to CPD, which you can read more about on the NMBA website or here. The NMBA outlines that CPD must be relevant to your context of practice, and recommends nurses and 5/midwives complete a range of CPD activities, e.g. – face-to-face, simulation, interactive e-learning, self-directed learning. The ANMF Education is developed for nurses and midwives working across Australia. For nurses and midwives practicing in NSW, it is important to ensure you follow relevant governance and legislative requirements.

46 | THE LAMP APRIL/MAY 2022


STRONG VOICES STRONGER FUTURE

Value • Acknowledge • Respect • Honour

International Day of the Midwife 5 MAY 2022 International Nurses’ Day 12 MAY 2022 www.nswnma.asn.au

Authorised by B.Holmes, General Secretary, NSWNMA


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