Page 1

lamp the

magazine of the NSW Nurses’ Association

volume 65 no.3 April 2008

Print Post Approved: PP241437/00033

Nurses deserve FAIR RATES for


Are you over age 55* and want to pay less tax? A First State Super transition to retirement income stream may be the answer. N Concessionally taxed income up to age 60, then tax free income from age 60 N No entry fees or commissions and low charges N Ranked in the top 5 for the Best fee deals across all allocated pension funds# N Choose from 10 investment strategies & flexible income payment options

Visit (go to Calculators) and use the Options 55-plus calculator to see how much tax you could save.

First State Super’s Options 55-plus calculator Designed for employees aged 55 to 75 years old and thinking of a transition to retirement income stream (TRIS). Looks at changes to take home pay and super balances when income from employment is combined with TRIS income, and how salary sacrifice contributions can decrease income tax.

First State Super Retirement Product of the year 2007


Web: Phone: 1300 650 873 Email: 2 THE LAMP APRIL 2008 describes the best overall fees payable, where overall fees are calculated for a member with an initial deposit of $100,000 and receives 12 monthly pension payments all invested in the fund’s default investment option. *Age restriction and other conditions apply. Consider the First State Super Product Disclosure Statement having regard to your own situation before deciding whether to become a member or continue membership. A copy is available by calling us or visiting our website. The information contained in this document is current as at February 2008. Prepared by FSS Trustee Corporation ACN 118 202 672, AFSL 293340, RSE L0002127, the trustee of First State Superannuation Scheme RSE R1005134.

Less Tax 02/08

More information




Contacts NSW NURSES’ ASSOCIATION For all membership enquiries and assistance, including Lamp subscriptions and change of address, contact our Sydney office. SYDNEY OFFICE 43 Australia Street Camperdown NSW 2050 PO Box 40 Camperdown NSW 1450 (all correspondence) T 8595 1234 (metro) 1300 367 962 (non-metro) F 9550 3667 E W HUNTER OFFICE 120 Tudor Street Hamilton NSW 2303 ILLAWARRA OFFICE L1, 63 Market Street Wollongong NSW 2500

Cover story

lamp the

magazine of the NSW Nurses’ Association

volume 65 no.3 April 2008

Nurses deserve FAIR RATES for Print Post Approved: PP241437/00033


Nurses deserve fair rates for night shift 14 Cover Damien Hayes, RN, Ballina Hospital Photograph by David Nielsen

NSWNA COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Noel Hester T 8595 2153 NSWNA COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT Russell Burns T 8595 1219 For all Lamp editorial enquiries, letters and diary dates: Editorial Enquiries T 8595 1234 E M PO Box 40 Camperdown NSW 1450 THE LAMP PRODUCED BY Lodestar Communications T 9698 4511

News in brief


8 8 8 9 9 11 11 13 13

39 A wonderful life: Eugenie May Lynch 39 A compassionate nurse: Lesley A Nolan-O’Neile

Review of nurse practitioner laws Gillard nails Libs over skills shortage AWAs cost workers up to $500 a week Top executives to snub PM’s appeal Rudd freezes MP’s pay Nurses branded ‘drunken and promiscuous’ Gender pay gap ‘widening’ Nurses kick up their heels in solidarity Congratulations Marjorie on 35 years

Lifestyle 36 Movie reviews 40 Book me 43 Online resources

NSWNA education program

Regular columns

13 What’s on this month


Campaign 08 18 Without support young nurses won’t stay

Industrial issues 22 Recruitment fast-tracked at Bathurst 25 Roster plan worries Hunter nurses

Editorial by Brett Holmes 6 Your letters to The Lamp 35 Ask Judith 45 Our nursing crossword 47 Diary dates

THE LAMP ISSN: 0047-3936

37 Win a weekend of delights in Eurobodalla

General disclaimer The Lamp is the official magazine of the NSWNA. Views expressed in articles are contributors’ own and not necessarily those of the NSWNA. 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 NSWNA takes no responsibility for the advertising appearing herein and it does not necessarily endorse any products advertised.

Special offers

27 Injured at work? How to avoid the Workers’ Compensation trap

37 100 double passes to see Moliere, 25 double passes to Smart People and 5 Peaceful Warrior DVD package.

Knowing your super 33 Union gets Super payments for nurse on Workers’ Compensation


THE LAMP EDITORIAL COMMITTEE Brett Holmes, NSWNA General Secretary Judith Kiejda, NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Coral Levett, NSWNA President John Lyons, Coonabarabran District Hospital Jonathan Farry, RPA Hospital Mark Kearin, Wyong Hospital Roz Norman, Tamworth Base Hospital Stephen Metcalfe, Lismore Base Hospital Peg Hibbert, Hornsby Hospital ADVERTISING Patricia Purcell T 8595 2139 or 0416 259 845 F 9550 3667 E RECORDS AND INFORMATION CENTRE - LIBRARY To find old articles in The Lamp, or to borrow from the NSWNA library’s nursing and health collection, contact: Jeannette Bromfield, RIC Coordinator T 8595 2175 E


Workers’ Compensation


PRESS RELEASES Send your press releases to: T 9550 3667 E



Privacy Privacy statement: The NSWNA 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 NSWNA office. If you are still not satisfied that your privacy is being maintained you can contact the Privacy Commission. Subscriptions Free to all Association members. Ex-members can subscribe to the magazine at a reduced rate of $44. Individuals $60, Institutions $90, Overseas $100.

n Draw 30 June 2008

SWITCH TO DIRECT DEBIT AND WIN An 8 Day Escape for Two to WA’s Stunning Margaret River

witch to direct debit and go into the draw to win a week of sheer relaxation and indulgence at one of Australia’s finest holiday destinations, Margaret River.


Our lucky direct debit winner will have the opportunity to unwind in luxury accommodation and explore jewelled caves, stunning forest, some of the world’s best beaches and great walking tracks. You can also enjoy the cosmopolitan side of the Margaret River Wine Region, exploring its boutique wineries and food producers, local arts and crafts, fabulous restaurants and live music and festivals. The prize includes return tickets for 2 from Sydney to Perth; 8 day car hire from Avis; 2 nights accommodation in Perth at Holiday Inn Burswood; 4 nights deluxe accommodation at Quest Margaret River serviced apartments; 2 nights accommodation at the Riverglen Chalets plus a bottle of Margaret River Wine and chocolates on arrival; a one-day tour of Margaret River Vineyards by the Wine for Dudes Tours; free entry into the Spectacular Caveworks Caves of Margaret River and the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse; and 2 cases Minot Margaret River wines.


HERE’S HOW YOU CAN WIN c cancel your payroll deductions and start paying your fees through direct debit and you will go in the lucky draw and/or c convince your colleagues to convert from payroll deductions to direct debit and you, and each of your colleagues who switch to direct debit, will go in the lucky draw and/or c sign up a new member using the direct debit method of paying their fees and you, and the new member, will go in the lucky draw. Membership Application forms or Direct Debit forms can be downloaded from our website Alternatively call the NSWNA on 8595 1234 (metro area) or 1300 367 962 (non-metro area) for more information.



New Chief Nurse a step forward for nursing g Chief Nurse gives nurses a presence at the heart of government


he Rudd Government has announced the creation of the position of Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, fulfilling one of its election commitments. Clearly this will be an important role in advising the government on nursing and midwifery and its contribution to solving the nation’s health issues. This is a great achievement for the NSWNA, ANF and all of the profession and marks the culmination of years of lobbying to get the position created. Nurses comprise more than 50% of the Australian health workforce so it is essential they are represented at a national level and this position should contribute to raising the status of nurses and midwives within government. The Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer will also have an important role representing Australia in international nursing forums. Nurses and midwives need to be realistic about their expectations of what the first person in the role will be able to deliver. The position is not an instant panacea to our problems but it does provide us with a national voice on nursing and midwifery and representation of the nursing workforce within the Rudd Government. This is to be greatly welcomed. As a union representing nurses and midwives, we expect to have some differing opinions with the Chief Nurse but at least we will have access to someone in the heart of government who will have the interests of nurses at heart and an understanding of the challenges confronting the health system from the nurses’ and midwives’ perspective. We shouldn’t expect the Chief Nurse to be able to represent nurses and midwives from an industrial perspective. The NSWNA and the ANF at the national level will need to

continue advocating for nurses industrially and professionally.


25% penalty loading for night work. These negotiations will be prolonged for at least a month or two as the Health Department is not yet authorised by the NSW Government to table an offer. However, the agreement must be in place by 30 June when the old agreement expires because under the Iemma Government’s public sector wages’ policy there will be no back pay paid after an agreement expires, except in undefined exceptional circumstances. This is a new and uncompromising tactic by the government in public sector wage negotiations. It is unlikely we will have an offer from NSW Health before the end of April due to the cumbersome machinery of government through which our claim must pass. The greater the delay in improving nurses’ and midwives’ wages and conditions, the greater risk of losing more experienced nurses and midwives from the system. The Iemma Government should reflect on this when framing its offer.

We will have access to someone in the heart of government who will have the interests of nurses at heart. Clock is ticking on public health system pay and conditions talks We now have had several meetings with NSW Health about our pay claim for nurses and midwives in the NSW public health system. The NSWNA has explained and vigorously advocated for the improvements we have put on the table, which we believe are critical if we are to retain experienced nurses and midwives already in the system and to attract new nurses and midwives to the profession. These improvements include: c 5% pay increase per annum over four years; c an extra 3% for certain classifications to recognise experience and increased responsibility; c an extra 1% employer superannuation contribution per year for each year of the award;

Farewell Jill and welcome Ged Jill Iliffe has announced her resignation as Federal Secretary of the ANF after nine years in the job. The ANF Federal Executive has appointed the current Assistant Federal Secretary, Ged Kearney, to take over the position from 1 April 2008. Lee Thomas, the current ANF South Australian Branch Secretary has been elected as the new ANF Assistant Federal Secretary. I congratulate Ged and Lee on their election to their new roles. The federal leadership plays a significant role in representing the interests of nurses and midwives nationally. The NSW Branch of the ANF and the NSWNA look forward to working with Ged and Lee in achieving the best outcomes for Australian nurses and midwives.n THE LAMP APRIL 2008 5



LETTER of the month Lack of recognition of senior nurses

Becky Broomfield

Thanks for scholarship I would like to thank the Nurses’ Scholarship Foundation, the NSWNA and the Lions Club for their extremely generous support of my PhD. They have awarded a scholarship which will help pay for some of the many costs associated with my thesis. It is support like this that makes a long and expensive journey easier! It was lovely to open a letter with such exciting news! Also, I would like to thank the many nurses, both rural and urban, who responded to my letter in the February Lamp. The positive feedback I have received has been encouraging. I hope to write articles, using the anecdotal evidence supplied to me, with the intention of continuing to raise awareness that we have a duty of care to both our patients and colleagues. I am more than happy to hear more from others who may wish to share their experiences, both positive and negative. Becky Broomfield, RN, Armidale Rural Referral Hospital


WITH TUESDAYS You may be finding it hard to talk to our information officers on Tuesdays. This is because Tuesday is the one day of the week when all our staff are in the office for staff and team meetings. These meetings are essential for information distribution and planning activities. If at all possible, please don’t ring on this day as there can be considerable delays. But if you need urgent assistance, you will get it. Our information department receives approximately 900 calls per week, and the phones are ringing hot from 8am to 5.30pm. We are working hard to meet your needs and thank you for your patience. Call 8595 1234 (metro) or 1300 367 962 (non-metro). 6 THE LAMP APRIL 2008

I write concerning the lack of recognition of the loyalty of many senior nurses in our hospital system. In the 1970s I withdrew from my nursing career to work as a volunteer community worker within the area in which I lived. I had worked as an RN in emergency and aged care since 1952. My decision to do this was not taken lightly as I had enjoyed the vocation I had chosen to follow. I could see clearly that the system that was evolving at the time, within health care, was in decline and it was becoming progressively difficult to provide the level of care the patients I was serving required. My daughter was training as a nurse and went on to achieve qualifications as a midwife, and continues to work in that capacity today. She was disturbed that I and some of my friends had left nursing, likening our actions to ‘rats leaving a sinking ship’. She was indeed right about the ‘sinking ship’, although I am not sure about being likened to a company of ‘rats’. As I had envisaged many years ago, today the level of care that nurses are able to deliver to patients in our present health system leaves much to be desired. This, I hasten to add, is not because of a lack of training for our nurses, nor for their wish to care for their patients, but for the conditions under which they are required to work. Well-qualified and experienced nurses today are leaving the health care service because they are over worked and their role is greatly unsupported. It was with interest that I learned that the Federal Government is to offer a bonus to invite those nurses who have

left the service to return again. This is yet another ploy to provide some relief for the prevailing conditions. I ask if there might be some consideration to acknowledging the loyal nurses who have continued to serve their patients throughout the years of declining support for their endeavours. It would seem that, in this day and age, loyalty to one’s employer or commitment to those one serves is not taken into consideration, nor deemed worthy of acknowledgement. This seems especially so, in the case where the Health Department employee of our Government is the employer. On the other hand, those who, like myself, had left the ‘sinking ship’ are given assistance to return. I wonder how many will return with the reward in mind only to soon realise that the reasons for which they left the system have not yet been resolved. It has been reported in the press that new graduates are not being offered positions because of the lack of senior staff to act as their mentors. Does this not indicate there is a great need to give more recognition and support to those experienced staff members who continue to serve in the very difficult conditions of this time? I would urge the government to more closely investigate the circumstances under which our nurses are delivering care to their patients and consider how the loyalty of our senior nurses might be recognised. Joy Golds (Retired Nurse) Joy Golds won the prize for this month’s letter of the month, a $50 David Jones voucher.

LETTER of the month


The letter judged the best each month will be awarded a $50 DJ’s voucher, courtesy Medicraft, Australia’s largest manufacturer of hospital beds and furniture. For more information on Medicraft products, visit or call 9569 0255.

ABC Shops provide you with a window into the wonderful variety of programs seen and heard on ABC Radio, TV and Online by offering a range of quality DVDs, books, music and audio products. For locations, visit



Got something to say?

Send your letters to: Editorial Enquiries email fax 9550 3667 mail PO Box 40 Camperdown NSW 1450

Please include a photograph along with your name, address, phone and membership number. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.

Bureaucracy turns nurses away Recently, NSW health has been under much criticism because of its failure to retain nurses who have reconnected to nursing, with figures showing that one third of these nurses have left since the scheme began a few years back. As a nurse myself I can see why. After a number of years working within the state health service as a mental health nurse, I left, believing I was better off out of the system, and could better serve my clients and colleagues out of it also. Here follow a few examples of the reality of working within NSW health today. Within the service, it is hard some days to find pillows for patients to put their heads on. This is (in large part) due to the contracting out of laundry services. If a patient arrives to a ward hungry because of a long wait – sometimes days, in the Emergency Department – often no decent food can be found for him or her (because of contracting out of catering services). The amount of paperwork we have to deal with in this first decade of the 21st Century would not be believed except by those already in the service who see it every day. A colleague of mine recently audited her day and found more than 70% of her time as a clinician was taken up with paperwork. That does not leave a lot of time for patient care. Incident forms have to be filled out if anything goes wrong. They can take a long time to fill out, then managers have to review them – taking up a lot of their time – and of the 25 I have sent in the past four years I have never received any feedback on the outcomes. Also, we often hear that a new policy has been brought in as a result of some complaint or other (probably another rambling policy someone has dreamt up) which staff have to find time in their already busy day to read. Emails often get sent out to every staff member even if the information is of no use at all to that person. If you go on one week’s leave, you usually come back to about 500 emails, many of them from people you have never heard of telling you they are on leave! Applying for a nursing position within the organisation takes – in my experience – about three to four months

on average. Can you blame individuals for not wanting to wait that long? Applicants get on with their lives, thinking they have been unsuccessful. How can a system such as this one be attractive to nurses? Then, when a nurse does get offered a position, they are likely to get a longwinded letter from someone they have never heard of in a Human Resources department, with about 80 impersonal pages attached to it telling you a hell of a lot more than you really need to know about the job. And rarely does the letter ever congratulate the individual for getting the job. This is not the way to make people feel valued. If you do not get the job, you are very rarely contacted in any shape or form by NSW Health. Recently, I made an application for a position working one day a month for a health service in the northern part of NSW. Although I already had an employee number in that health service as I had worked there for a year, I still had to supply all my ID over again for this new position. Then I was asked to submit a statutory declaration of my hours/days of work over the past 10 years, so I could be paid at the correct rate. At this point I decided not to bother because the same organisation had been paying me at this correct rate for the previous 12 months, and I wanted to take a stand over what I considered to be bureaucracy taken to the extreme. Miraculously, two months later a letter arrived offering me the job – at the correct rate of pay! However, I have decided not to take it because if I did I would be unable to write this letter due to the Code of Conduct that all NSW Health employees have to sign (saying they will not say anything to the outside world about the goings on within the organisation). That is a very good way of making sure that patient care does not improve. Nurses will be waiting to see if the blame game stops now we have a Federal Labor Government. A society can, indeed, be judged by how it looks after its sick and most vulnerable. If a humane and decent standard of care does not exist here – especially for our mentally ill – we fail hands down. Wendy Hall, CNC, Port Macquarie

Niko Leka

Invitation to join May Day brigade to Venezuela Since President Hugo Chavez’s election in 1998, the people of Venezuela have established hundreds of free public education, health and welfare ‘missions’. Mission Barrio Adentro, for example, has mobilised more than 14,000 Cuban doctors to work in neighbourhood clinics in Venezuela’s free health system. The infant mortality rate has halved from 2.4% to 1.7% since1998. Venezuela is showing that real democracy and social justice is possible. It needs our solidarity. The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network is part of a growing worldwide network of groups which inform people about what’s happening in Venezuela and provide practical support for the Venezuelan people’s struggles to create a new, better society. In the past three years, the AustraliaVenezuela Solidarity Network has organised six solidarity brigades to Venezuela, involving around 150 participants. These study/solidarity tours have been exciting and inspiring experiences for participants, and are invaluable for helping Australians better understand and build solidarity with Venezuela’s people. The 2008 May Day brigade – to run from April 28 to May 6 – will include meetings with trade unions, cooperatives and co-managed workplaces, as well as visits with a wide range of activists from other sectors, and provide a unique opportunity to learn more about the Bolivarian revolution’s participatory democracy. A highlight of the brigade will be joining the huge workers’ celebration in Caracas on May Day. To register for this year’s May Day brigade, running from 28 April to 6 May, visit, or email, or phone Lara Pullin on 0439 601 277, or John Cleary on 0407 500 839. If you are interested in joining a brigade to Venezuela, but cannot make it in May, another brigade will be held in November-December 2008. Niko Leka, EN, James Fletcher Hospital Newcastle THE LAMP APRIL 2008 7



REVIEW OF NURSE PRACTITIONER LAWS he Federal Labor government will consider removing barriers that limit the role of nurse practitioners, says Health Minister Nicola Roxon. A spokesman for the minister told The Weekend Australian newspaper that Labor would consider nurse practitioner changes as part of its overall health reform agenda. The spokesman was responding to a study that shows nurse practitioners are being held back because federal law does not recognise state legislation authorising them to prescribe drugs and refer patients for tests or to receive specialist assessment. The lack of a harmonised national legal framework is slowing the growth in the number of nurse practitioners, says the study conducted under the leadership of Professor Glenn Gardner from Queensland University of Technology’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation. Discordant state and federal laws mean that while a nurse practitioner is permitted under state law to prescribe a drug for a patient, the script is not eligible for a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme subsidy and the patient has to pay the full cost of the drug. Likewise, if a nurse practitioner refers a patient for a test, or to a specialist, those referrals are not recognised by Medicare because no nurse practitioner has a Medicare provider number. Professor Gardner’s study surveyed all 238 nurse practitioners as at September last year and achieved a 90% response rate. Two thirds said their role was ‘extremely limited’ by the misaligned laws. Professor Gardner’s data shows nurse practitioners have been most rapidly taken up in NSW, where there were 104 as at last September – nearly double the number in the next biggest state, Western Australia.



Gillard nails Libs over skills shortage


orkplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard said she had nothing against manicurists and make up artists. But she didn’t agree with the former Howard Government spending $3 million to train beauticians in ‘nail technology’ – especially when key sectors of the economy such as mining and construction were crying out for skilled workers. ‘If we look at where the former government put investment in skills development, we see some remarkable things,’ Gillard told Parliament. ‘We saw $3 million invested in the provision of training and qualifications in nail technology. You might well think to yourself: “That’s good. Hammering nails into wood, building things – skills shortages in the construction industry – $3 million into skills training for nail technology”. ‘It is not those sorts of nails that we are talking about. We are talking about

fingernails. We are talking about $3 million being invested in skills training so that people can have manicures – a file and paint; a set of acrylics. That is what the former government invested in: $3 million in nail technology.’ Gillard asked the Leader of the Opposition, Brendan Nelson, how the previous government ‘came to the conclusion that with skills shortages besetting the Australian economy the most important thing we needed was 1,232 more Australians qualified to provide manicures and 700 more Australians qualified to apply make-up and cosmetics – a total cost of $3 million for the manicures and $1.5 million for the makeup and cosmetics? ‘This was their investment in training,’ she said. ‘Whilst the mining sector and the construction sector were calling out for skilled workers, you might not have been able to get a house built but you could always go down to the beauty parlour and make yourself feel better about it.’n

AWAs cost workers up to $500 a week mployees lost as much as $500 a week when they were put on AWAs (Australian Workplace Agreements) under the former Howard Government’s WorkChoices law, statistics have revealed. An analysis of AWAs filed in the two months from May last year shows 45% paid up to $50 below the required rate of pay for the protected award conditions. Almost half cut wages by between


$50 and $199 a week, and 5% cut wages by between $200 and $499 a week. Wage cuts of up to $500 a week were imposed by 0.5% of AWAs. The statistics were revealed in Parliament by Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard who described the figures as ‘truly startling’ and said the AWAs were ‘perfectly legal’ under WorkChoices. During last year the Howard Government stopped publishing details of AWAs in order to avoid negative publicity.n



PM’S APPEAL ustralia’s highest paid executives are certain to ignore Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s appeal for them to exercise ‘wage restraint’ in the coming year. Business organisations such as the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and individual corporations said executive salaries were a matter for company boards alone and were linked to ‘performance‘. Peter Salt, a director of Salt and Shein, a firm specialising in executive recruitment, described the PM’s appeal for restraint on executive salaries as ‘naïve‘. Executive salaries have gone through the roof in recent years. In 1992 the remuneration of the typical executive in Australia’s top 50 companies was 27 times the average wage. By 2002 it was 98 times. The top 10 highly paid chief executives of Australia’s biggest companies, including Macquarie Bank, Telstra and Qantas, took home a staggering $125 million last year. Their pay packets will likely swell by more than 20% this year, according to executive remuneration specialists. A spokesman for BHP Billiton described as ‘a fair representation of his enormous responsibilities’ the $8 million salary its chief executive Marius Kloppers will receive this year. Kloppers might consider himself short-changed in comparison with Telstra boss Sol Trujillo, who was paid almost $12 million last year – against the wishes of his shareholders. Shareholders at Telstra’s annual general meeting last November were ignored despite casting an overwhelming 66% of votes against an executive remuneration package. The Federal Governmentcontrolled Future Fund, which has about 16.05% of Telstra stock, voted against the package but the vote was ’non-binding’ and ignored. The Australian Shareholders Association has called for an overhaul of CEO salaries, saying bosses on socalled performance-based contracts were laughing all the way to the bank.


Rudd freezes MP’s pay g Employers want restraint for everyone – bar themselves


rime Minister Kevin Rudd has forced Federal MPs to forgo their annual pay rise this year. The largely symbolic gesture is designed to reinforce the Government’s message that it is prepared to take tough action to lower inflation. Rudd said MPs had to set an example with a pay freeze and called on company senior executives to follow suit. Company profits as a share of national income are at a record high, and executive salaries have doubled in the past three years, according to the ACTU (see accompanying story). The freeze will cost Rudd about $22,000 this year and backbenchers about $8,900 each. Despite the temporary freeze, MPs and their families are unlikely to go hungry. A backbencher gets $127,060 annually – about twice the average wage – plus generous superannuation and allowances. Rudd himself draws a base pay of $330,000 and his wife owns a multi-million dollar business. Importantly, Rudd said he did not expect working families to follow suit as they were facing financial pressure. However, the head of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Peter Anderson rejected out of hand any suggestion of a pay freeze for top executives. Their pay jumped by an average 28% last year, compared with 3.8% for wage earners.

At the same time the ACCI has asked the so-called ‘Fair Pay Commission’ (FPC) to approve a minimum wage increase of only $10 to $11 a week this year to ‘help fight inflation’. The Australian Council of Trade Unions wants the FPC to approve a $26 a week increase this year to raise the current federal minimum wage from $522.12 to $548.12 a week. Last year’s $10 increase, the lowest in a decade, came soon after FPC chairman Ian Harper copped a $38,385 pay rise for his part-time job – from $81,445 to $119,830 a year. That’s a 47% increase and 16 times the rate of inflation. ‘How can anyone expect workers on average incomes to exercise restraint when none is shown by those being paid 10 or 20 or 100 times as much?’ asked ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence. ‘Cutting the wages of shop assistants, cleaners or workers in factories and call centres will do nothing to increase productive capacity in the economy generally, nor to restrain inflation,’ he said. The Federal Government is having a bob each way, saying it will ask the FPC to approve a ‘fair and reasonable’ wage increase while refusing to specify how much. Industrial Relations Minister Julie Gillard said the FPC ‘should consider the cost pressures on minimum wage families … and of course the high inflation environment and the upwards pressure on interest rates’. n THE LAMP APRIL 2008 9

Sign up a new member for the chance to win a fabulous

FIJIAN HOLIDAY You and a friend could be jetting off from Sydney return on Air Pacific to Denarau Island in Fiji for 3 luxurious nights at the Radisson Resort Fiji. After your relaxing 3 days in a Pacific Lagoon Guest Room, you and your guest will then enjoy a Blue Lagoon Cruise aboard MV Mystique Princess for a 4-day, 3 night Gold Club Cruise. All onboard meals, cruise entertainment and shore excursions are included in this exciting prize. HURRY! Call the Association now for a recruitment kit and recruitment incentive scheme details. Ph: 8595 1234 (metropolitan area) or 1300 367 962 (non metropolitan area) or go to



Shop till you

Drop! For every friend or colleague you sign up, you will receive a $20 David Jones or Coles Group & Myer Gift Card and go into the draw for a fantastic holiday for 2 to Fiji.




Gender pay gap ‘widening’

‘DRUNKEN AND PROMISCUOUS’ British peer who branded nurses ‘grubby, drunken and promiscuous’ during a debate in the House of Lords has earned the wrath of nursing leaders, government ministers and his own party. The Royal College of Nursing said Lord Mancroft’s comments were ‘grossly unfair on nurses across the UK’ and amounted to a ‘sexist insult about the behaviour of British women’. Ann Keen, a Labour health minister, said: ‘I am appalled at his comments and I’m sure the rest of the British public are too.’ The row developed after Lord Mancroft claimed it was ‘a miracle’ that he was still alive after his experience of filthy wards and ‘slipshod and lazy’ nurses when he was admitted to the Royal United Hospital in Bath. He alleged that nurses chatted to one another about their sex lives and alcohol intake in front of patients, some of whom they regarded simply as ‘a nuisance’. ‘The nurses who looked after me were mostly grubby — we are talking about dirty fingernails and hair — and were slipshod and lazy. Worst of all, they were drunken and promiscuous,’ he said. ‘How do I know that? Because if you’re a patient and you’re lying in a bed, and you’re being nursed from either side, they talk across you as if you’re not there. So I know exactly what they got up to the night before, and how much they drank, and I know exactly what they were planning to do the next night, and I can tell you, it’s pretty horrifying.’ The nurses were ‘an accurate reflection of many young women in Britain today’, the peer claimed. Lord Mancroft, a former heroin addict, is chairman of the Addiction Recovery Foundation. A Conservative Party spokesman said Lord Mancroft’s views were not shared by the party, which knew that ‘nurses did a fantastic job, often in difficult circumstances’.


g Women now paid 16% less than men, says report


ustralia still has not achieved equal pay for women and the gender gap seems to be widening, according to the International Trade Union Confederation. A recent ITUC report, The Global Gender Pay Gap, says that on average, Australian women are paid 16% less than their male counterparts. The report says Australian Bureau of Statistics figures indicate that between 2004 and 2006 Australia’s gender pay gap widened from 13% to 16% – the global average. New Zealand, however, experienced the opposite trend with the gender pay gap falling from 18% in 1996 to 12.8% in 2005. The ITUC says a possible explanation is the introduction of WorkChoices in Australia, which had more of an impact on lower paid and part-time workers, who are more likely to be women. ACTU president Sharan Burrow said Australian women working full-time earn on average $184 a week less than men. ‘While education is often touted as the key to closing the gap, the study shows it is educated women who are experiencing the widest pay gap of all with their male counterparts,’ she said. The online activist network GetUp has launched a petition calling on the Australian government to take action to achieve equal pay for women ( However, two labour market analysts questioned whether ‘discrimination’ is the sole – or even major – cause for the pay difference, and whether there is much that governments can do about it. Rodney Stinson, who produces an annual report called What Jobs Pay, said that while women shouldn’t be paid less for doing the same work as men, the union campaign did not take into account gender concentrations in different industries.

‘There is a tendency for females to work in sales and service jobs. That’s what drags women’s pay down overall,’ he said. ‘The building industry, which is male-dominated, is much better paid but the work comes with safety risks.’ Mark Wooden, professorial research fellow and deputy director of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne, said men tend to work much longer hours than women. He said weekly hours of work among male employees in late 2007 averaged 38.5. By comparison, the average female employee worked just 29 hours. Using hourly earnings rather than weekly earnings reduces the pay gap to 13 percentage points. Wooden also said ‘experience’ was a significant factor in the pay gap – the average woman had less experience as a result of ‘the tendency for many women to put their careers on hold while their children are growing up and the apparent preference of women for jobs offering fewer hours’. Wooden agreed that the biggest gender pay gap exists among the highest paid private sector employees – what is widely referred to as the glass-ceiling effect. ‘This end of the labour market is not particularly amenable to any sort of regulation or intervention, with pay mostly negotiated on an individual basis,’ he said. ‘Ultimately, then, there is probably little government can do to directly influence gender pay relativities, at least in the private sector. ‘Reforms such as the introduction of the right to request part-time work, while improving the access of women to employment, will do nothing to narrow the wage gap; indeed, if anything, it will widen it. ‘If women get a raw deal in the workplace, it is almost certainly because of the unequal sharing of responsibilities within the home.’ n THE LAMP APRIL 2008 11








We are already seeing action happening at workplaces with the nurses’ and midwives’ Experience Counts pedometer campaign. And stay tuned for the nurses’ and midwives’ With You 24/7 Night Duty campaign.


It’s going to be a tough campaign. To win we need members to get involved. Show your support for the NSWNA pay and conditions claim by wearing the new campaign shirt. You can order your shirt individually or through a bulk order from your workplace. All we need is a cheque or credit card details and a delivery address. 12 THE LAMP APRIL 2008 Authorised by Brett Holmes, General Secretary, NSWNA



PRICE: $10 EACH plus postage & handling $5



















PLEASE RETURN TO CAMPAIGNS TEAM: MAIL: NSWNA, PO Box 40, Camperdown NSW 1450 • EMAIL: • FAX: (02) 9550-3667



s Practical Leadership Skills for Nurse Unit Managers 2 April, 30 April, 28 May, Camperdown, 3 days A three-day workshop designed to meet the leadership needs of nurses. Members $250 Non-members $400 s Emotional Intelligence at Work Free of Charge 4 April, Camperdown, 1 day This seminar is intended to heighten awareness of the mental health needs of nurses and provide useful exercises to assist nurses to understand and manage emotions at work.

Nurses kick up their heels in solidarity


SWNA staff members Elisabeth Ulm and Phillipe Millard above,(left and right) kicked up their heels at the city’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on 1 March 2008.

NSWNA staff and members marched alongside the Unions NSW Your Rights at Work float. Elisabeth said they wanted to highlight that message and express solidarity with gay and lesbian colleagues.n

Congratulations on 35 years


arjorie Atkinson recently celebrated 35 years of nursing at Raymond Terrace Gardens. A surprise night out was held with several staff members to help Marj celebrate her milestone. An NSWNA delegate, Marjorie has seen many changes in nursing since she started working in aged care in 1972. Congratulations, Marjorie, on a fantastic achievement. We hope you will continue to look after our residents for many years to come. n By Kim Taylor

s Leadership Skills for the Aged Care Team 3 April, 1 May, 29 May, 10 July, Camperdown, 4 days A 4-day workshop designed to meet the leadership needs of nurses working in aged care. Members $320 Non-members $480 s Policy and Guideline Writing 7 April, Camperdown, 1 day Seminar is suitable for all nurses. Members $85 Non-members $170 s Legal and Professional Issues for Nurses 11 April, Camperdown, ½ day Topics covered include the Nurses and Midwives Act 1991, potential liability, documentation, role of disciplinary tribunals including the NMB, writing statements. Members $39 Non-members $85 s Basic Foot Care for RNs and ENs 14-15 April, Wagga Wagga, 2 days A VETAB accredited course that aims to provide nurses with the competence to provide basic foot care. Members $203 Non-members $350 s Basic Computer Skills for Nurses 21 April, Concord, 1 day Seminar is suitable for all nurses. Members $85 Non-members $170

TO REGISTER or for more information go to or13ring THE LAMP APRIL 2008 Carolyn Kulling on 1300 367 962



Nurses deserve fair rates for night shift g The night duty penalty rate for NSW nurses is the lowest in Australia. There has been no rise since 1975. The NSWNA pay and conditions campaign in the public health system provides an opportunity to bring our night shift rate into line with the rest of the country.

‘A lot more is known about the impact of shiftwork on nurses since the 15% penalty rate was last set in 1975.’ NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes


n 2008, public health system nurses and midwives are campaigning for an increase in the night duty shift penalty from 15% to 25%. Health system managers report that night shifts are the hardest to fill and there is an increasing reluctance of experienced nurses to work the night shift. NSW nurses are currently paid the lowest night duty penalty rate of any Australian public sector nurses.

NSWNA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said an increase in the night penalty rate is a priority in the NSWNA pay and conditions claim. ‘Working night shift is an almost unavoidable part of nursing and midwifery. It is increasingly difficult to find nurses and midwives who are prepared to do this shift. An improvement in penalty rates to compensate is the only real solution,’ he said.






















18.5% 19.5% from October 2008 20.5% from October 2009





* varies depending on nursing classification/pay rate 14 THE LAMP APRIL 2008

Brett Holmes says a lot more is known about the impact of shiftwork on nurses since the 15% penalty rate was last set in 1975. ‘Then, there was no conclusive health evidence about the negative effects of shiftwork and night work. Other state governments recognised the problem and delivered the solution of higher penalty rates,’ he said. Brett says many of the resource issues in our health system are magnified on night shift. ‘Nurses and midwives on night duty work with less support than is available during the day. There are few experienced doctors at work or on call, no educator/mentoring nurses rostered on to support junior nurses, and rarely any clinical or clerical support staff.’ n

WE MUST KEEP UP THE PRESSURE There have been several meetings with NSW Health about the NSWNA pay and conditions claim. ‘These talks will go on over several months as the Health Department is not yet authorised by the NSW Government to table an offer. Our claim must first be processed by the Budget Committee of Cabinet,’ Brett said. ‘It is unlikely we will have an offer from NSW Health before the end of April. In the meantime we must keep the pressure on the government. The talks so far suggest to us that we will have to fight hard for what we deserve,’ he said.

IT’S TOUGH FILLING NIGHT SHIFT illing the night shift roster is the first thing that I do. If you are using casual staff it is too hard. It’s easier to find casuals for day shift. So you do nights first. ‘People don’t want to do night shift. It’s not a workload issue. It’s because it is anti-social and people have problems sleeping during the day. ‘I think young people are more reluctant to do night shift. Older staff with hospital training did shifts as part of their training. There was an expectation from day one that they had to do shifts. But for nurses trained in universities, they train for three years and then work for a further year without encountering night shifts. ‘It can sour people’s attitude to the profession. We are losing hospitalbased nurses to other organisations – community nursing, drug companies, prosthetic companies – because they don’t have to do shiftwork. ‘It would probably be easier to fill the rosters if there was greater incentive to do night shift. A 15% penalty rate is not enough at the moment to make nurses want to do night shift. 25% might make a difference.’


Damien Hayes, RN, Ballina Hospital THE LAMP APRIL 2008 15





TO HELP c Make sure your contact details are up to date. The NSWNA needs your email address, classification and mobile phone number so we can get campaign information to you fast. c Encourage all your friends and workmates to be NSWNA members – there is strength in numbers. They can join online or by phone today. c Make contact with your NSWNA Branch and offer to help organise campaign activities. c Wear a campaign t-shirt. See page 12 for an order form.

IT’S REALLY HARD AS A SINGLE MUM t’s really hard. Your life is a complete inverse to everyone else’s. ‘There is no time to readjust the time clock. You sleep the first day off and then you only have one day to get over night duty. It knocks your time clock around. ‘I’ve been lucky with family support but it’s still hard. I have to drop my daughter off. That means she’s not sleeping in her own bed. That’s all right for one night but not for four nights in a row. And if you have to pay for a babysitter it’s almost not worth it. ‘It’s difficult to keep in touch with friends with shiftwork. It’s hard to have a social life. You work weekends, they have weekends off so you can’t go to things like barbeques. Sport for the




‘15% is not a lot to be awake when everyone else is asleep.’ kids is on the weekends, too, and that’s difficult. Children’s sport is usually in the morning so you can make it after night shift, but it’s difficult to stay awake and be attentive. And driving with a child in the car when you are so tired can be dangerous. ‘If you add up the health risks, the relationship losses, the friendship losses, 15% (current penalty rate for night duty) is not a lot to be awake when everyone else is asleep.’ Leanne Courts, EN, Dubbo Base Hospital

c 5% pay increase per annum over four years. c 25% penalty loading for night work. c An extra 3% for certain classifications to recognise experience and increased responsibility. c An extra 1% employer superannuation contribution per year for each year of the award.

Studies show shiftwork is harmful


he last time nurses’ penalty rates were reviewed was in 1975. Since then there has been a huge expansion in the understanding of the effects of shiftwork and in particular the underlying physiological factors that impact on shiftworkers. While some shiftworkers can, over time, partially adapt to the disruption of the circadian rhythm, there is a proportion of shiftworkers who do not. It is estimated that 5 to 10% of shiftworkers suffer from what is now known as Shiftwork Sleep Disorder. These shiftworkers experience insomnia, excessive sleepiness, headaches, irritability, reduced concentration and a lack of energy that does not reduce over time. Empirical studies on groups of shiftworkers conducted overseas show that shiftwork significantly increases a number of life-threatening physiological changes. Research studies over the past 15 years have consistently found that shiftworkers have increased risks of: c breast cancer; c cardio-vascular disease; c gastro-intestinal disorders, including peptic ulcers; c reproductive health problems, such as pre-term births, low birth weight, spontaneous abortion and reduced fecundity. Most disturbingly, many of these

risks were found to be higher in shiftworkers working on a rotating roster system. This is the same roster system for the overwhelming majority of nurses in the NSW public health service. While there are a number of overseas studies on shiftwork and nurses, very little detailed work has been undertaken in Australia. One such study was undertaken by the Centre for Sleep Research in South Australia. This study explored the effects of shiftwork on the social and domestic life and well-being of female shiftworkers. The study found that: c the majority of nurses and midwives and and their partners perceived that shiftwork was highly disruptive to joint social life, and a significant cause of family conflict; c night shiftwork was more disruptive to the nurses’ and midwives’ psychological, social and, to a lesser extent, physiological well-being; c 44% of nurses and midwives were unhappy about working shiftwork; c 28% of partners had tried to persuade their partner to give up shiftwork. The study outcomes were consistent with previous findings from both male and female shiftworkers. However, female nurses and midwives reported a greater amount of social and domestic disruption than that found in studies of male shiftworkers. The

TAKING OUR CAMPAIGN TO FACEBOOK The NSWNA has created a campaign information group on the social networking website Facebook to allow nurses, midwives and members of the community to participate in the campaign and recruit friends into supporting our claims. It is another way we can build support for our campaign with a wider audience. So if you are a Facebook user, join the group by searching for Fair Conditions. Fair Pay. Nurses Stay. It’s that simple in the Groups application – or go to www.facebook. com/group.php?gid=24057856064 and invite your friends to join our online campaign.

authors noted that this may be related to female shiftworkers’ additional domestic responsibilities.Alternatively, it may be caused by the variable shift rosters worked by nurses and midwives in contrast to the more structured shift patterns typically worked by other shiftworkers.n

Get involved and we will win


mprovement in the wages and conditions of public sector nurses and midwives can only occur through your participation. Nurses and midwives around the state are getting active in this campaign and we need all public sector nurses and midwives to join in to win. Campaign activities will be held in public sector hospitals throughout the state during April to highlight the importance of increasing the penalty rate for night shift from 15% to 25% – an important part of our claim. Badges and posters that bring attention to our night shift claim have been distributed to branch officials. If you don’t have a badge ask your branch official for one. The badges

come with a postcard to Director General of NSW Health Debra Picone asking her to support our claim. Don’t forget to fill it out and return it to the Association. Some members – bravely! – have committed to activities to highlight the anti-social nature of night shift that is an unavoidable part of being a nurse. This includes wearing pyjamas to work, turning up to work with crazy bed hair, wearing noddy hats on day shift and BBQ breakfasts. NSWNA organisers will also be conducting visits to talk to night shift nurses about the claim during the month. The NSWNA will run workshops for all members during May that will help you plan your activities at work. Fairness at Work is

a two-day workshop that will give you and your colleagues the skills, knowledge and confidence to run workplace campaigns. To register call the NSWNA or visit our website – – for more details. Fairness at work is being run at: c Queanbeyan 7-8 May c Coffs Harbour 8-9 May c Gosford 14-15 May c Dubbo 15-16 May c Penrith 21-22 May c Sydney 28-29 May c Tamworth 29-30 May. Further workshops will be run in June and July. Details will be posted on the NSWNA website.n THE LAMP APRIL 2008 17


C A M P A I G N 0 8

Without support young nurses won’t stay g Attracting and retaining new nurses is crucial to solving the chronic nursing shortage in the NSW health system. Yet, hundreds of young and less experienced nurses are leaving the system every year because they are burnt out due to heavy workloads and lack of clinical support, or they decide the pay is simply not worth the pressure and hassle. So how do we attract and retain younger nurses? NSWNA research reveals that better pay and conditions and more clinical support from experienced nurses are key to getting less experienced nurses to stay in the system.


e currently have an advertised shortage of 1,000 nurses in NSW public hospitals, not counting shortages in the private sector. According to NSWNA Assistant General Secretary, Judith Kiejda, the severe shortage of experienced nurses is likely to worsen as nearly half of the profession, who are aged over 45, retire in the next 10 to 15 years. ‘We just don’t have enough graduate nurses entering the profession and staying on. Every year, hundreds of new nurses leave the profession because they are burnt out from the relentless pressure and heavy workloads. Or they decide it’s just not worth it for the minimal pay increases along the clinical career path,’ said Judith. Research conducted by the NSWNA reveals that heavy workloads, pressure from patients and colleagues, lack of support and recognition, and inadequate compensation for the hassles of night shift leads many of our less experienced nurses to consider leaving the profession. Independent research was conducted with nurses from health facilities across NSW. Discussion groups were held with nursing students, new graduates, more experienced RNs, and nurses who have recently left the system. The Association also conducted an


online survey of new NSWNA members to gain a snapshot of current workplace practices and issues. In the focus groups of younger nurses, respondents at the beginning of their careers said they loved nursing and found it immensely rewarding. But, looking ahead 30 years with current workplace pressures, intense workloads, night shifts, an ageing population and the departure of experienced nurses, they wondered whether they would last the distance. One respondent said, ‘I have worked in such a stressful environment, doing shiftwork, in ED you get abused, stuff gets put back on nurses, which is unfair.

I don’t intend to stay in nursing but will stay in health.’ Nursing students expected they would have to work hard but did not expect such a stressful workplace, and heavy workloads drove many students away from the profession. ‘I knew I would have to work hard but this is beyond anything I imagined. I have to work harder, be more adaptable, the parameters change constantly. The expectations are huge,’ said one nurse. Another said, ‘Due to heavy workloads, breaks are used to catch up [with work], not to actually have a break or eat.’ 6 Continued on page 20

Challenges and all …

WE LOVE OUR JOB Rachael Allen (right) and Tamara MacDonald (left) are two young nurses who responded to the NSWNA online survey – and the lucky winners of the NSWNA survey competition. Along with all members who filled in the survey, Tamara and Rachel went into the survey competition draw and won two fabulous iPods for their efforts. Rachael is a 4th year RN working at

Prince of Wales ED. She loves her job but points out that ‘nursing is difficult in today’s world’. ‘There’s increasing demand from patients and families, and higher patient acuity. I’d say it’s more challenging than in past,’ she said. ‘There’s also more responsibility. You feel like you’re carrying decision making because there’s no one around to check things with. That’s pretty scary.’

Rachael said there are not enough senior nurses. ‘The CNE is not available after hours and we need more senior nurses on the wards. ’I think it’s OK [the pay] but it’s not really much when you consider what we do,’ she said. Tamara, a 2nd year RN at Royal Hospital for Women, also loves her job. ‘I like helping and caring for people so it’s perfect for me.’ However, she finds shiftwork a difficult aspect of the job. ‘It affects your relationships with family and friends. It’s hard to have a social life,’ said Tamara. THE LAMP APRIL 2008 19


C A M P A I G N 0 8

Without support young nurses won’t stay From page 18 A concern for many new graduates and students was the lack of available support and backup from experienced nurses. ‘I get really tired. There sometimes are not enough nursing staff and I get left by myself. I have to keep saying I am a student. I love it but sometimes I think, is it worth it?’ The feedback from focus groups of more experienced RNs reveals that RNs are feeling overloaded and stressed – and 6

are too busy to help less experienced nurses. RNs are concerned that the lack of CNSs and CNEs in our hospitals means junior nurses are feeling pressured about making decisions on their own and are not adequately supported. Groups of TENs and AINs raised concern about the high workloads and poor skills mix. They said the lack of experienced nurses meant their supervision was haphazard or they were left to do things they couldn’t or shouldn’t be doing on their own.

NURSES AT WORK In December 2007 NSWNA conducted an online survey to better understand current workplace practices and issues for younger nurses. Half the respondents were under 25 and nearly all were under 30. The results paint a picture of inexperienced nurses struggling with heavy workloads and responsibility, without adequate support and guidance. Here’s a snapshot of the survey results: c c c



c c



88% worked on a rotating roster; 95% started work on a new graduate transition program; Of the respondents who had done an ‘in charge’ shift, 31% had received no guidance prior to doing it; Only 4% said they felt very equipped to be in charge, 31% reasonably equipped, and 10% not equipped; 67% said they often or sometimes worked through meal breaks or past rostered finishing time; 6% always worked through meal breaks; 25% said they hated night shift and can’t see themselves doing it much longer; 34% had experienced aggression from family members of patients; 28% had experienced violence from patients;


c c




75% had accessed support from a preceptor/mentor; 63% rated access to CNE as ‘very useful’, 23% ‘useful’, and 9.3% ‘somewhat useful’, 4.3% ‘not at all useful’; The most important aspects of working conditions were: workload (15%), team you work with (14%), pay (14%), and support and mentoring (13%); 52% occasionally thought about leaving the profession. Only 11% loved their job and did not think about leaving; What improvements would make the profession more attractive and keep younger nurses in the profession? Reducing workloads, better pay and conditions, better staffing practices, better recruitment strategies, better support from management and more recognition of the role nurses play.

TENs spoke about how they rotate monthly through the wards to learn yet, due to the workloads and the pressure on nurses, if someone calls in sick they are immediately used to fill gaps, sacrificing their education to prepare patients. RNs spoke about how quickly they became ‘senior’. ‘I’m the more senior staff and I have only been here three years,’ said one. RNs said they were responsible for more and more junior staff. As experienced nurses were spread thin, they were forced to leave junior staff with more responsibility, increasing risks.

With current workplace pressures, intense workloads, night shifts, an ageing population and the departure of experienced nurses, less experienced nurses wondered whether they would last the distance. One resigned nurse said: ‘In ICU, there may be one experienced staff member, the rest are agency, new grads and I’m having to leave inexperienced people with really sick patients.’ Other respondents commented about this pressure causing hostility from senior nurses towards new graduates: ‘So many people are angry against everyone who is new or inexperienced. You are expected to know everything straight away,’ said one. ‘The support is not there. Not even from colleagues,’ said another. So what improvements would make the nursing profession more attractive and encourage nurses to stay? Better pay and conditions, reduced workloads, better staffing practices, more support from senior staff was the feedback the NSWNA received from the focus groups.n



eedback from the focus groups form the cornerstone of the NSWNA’s claim for a new four-year wages and conditions agreement for NSW public health system nurses. The Fair Conditions – Fair pay, Nurses Stay. It's that simple campaign is currently being negotiated with NSW Health. According to NSWNA Assistant General Secretary, Judith Kiejda, a key objective of the claim is to keep experienced nurses in the profession because their clinical skills are irreplaceable and because they also play a vital role in mentoring new nurses. The claim includes: c A 5% per year pay rise for all public health system nurses and midwives, bringing nurses’ pay into line with other health professionals with similar experience, such as physiotherapists, diversional therapists, orthoptists and exercise physiologists; c Extra increases for nurses and midwives who have more than seven years’ experience and who are working permanent full-time or part-time in classifications RN8 and above; c A new classification at higher pay for experienced enrolled nurses; c An increase in the penalty loading for night work from 15% to 25%; c A 1% increase, per year of the agreement, in employer superannuation contributions, taking the current rate from 9% to 13%; c 225 more Clinical Nurse Educators to provide more support for junior staff and new graduates; c Easier pathways for casual and temporary employees to convert to permanent positions. Want more details? It’s all at

F MATT’S ON BOARD TO HELP NEW NSWNA MEMBERS Meet Matthew Kelly, the NSWNA’s new Recruitment Liaison Officer. It’s a new role at the NSWNA to help us gain an understanding of the issues facing new graduate nurses and TENs moving into the nursing workforce. Matthew also works to introduce the role of Association to young nurses. ‘An important part of my job is introducing to new grads the idea of a collective voice, to the idea of all nurses working for nurses to improve nursing. ‘Many students and new grads don’t have experience or knowledge about industrial issues. I’m trying to raise awareness that current good conditions were only achieved through a collective voice,’ he said. The role is also a new career direction for Matthew but with recent experience as an RN at RNSH and in intensive care at John Hunter Hospital, he is well placed to understand issues for young nurses. From talking to young nurses at work, Matthew said there is a lot of trepidation hitting the nursing workforce. ‘There is concern about levels of support. This is why we need to campaign for adequate numbers of CNSs and CNEs. ‘There is also pressure from heavy workloads and rising acuity levels. Many new nurses feel they can’t provide adequate levels of care. They feel under pressure because they are not adequately supported and do not have proper back up,’ he said. ‘Nurses won’t stay if these pressures get too great.’





Recruitment fast-tracked at g Union inspection reveals design, safety flaws


nder pressure from the Nurses’ Association, staff recruitment is being fasttracked at the new but seriously flawed Bathurst Base Hospital. At the same time, the union is seeking solutions to a host of basic design and safety defects identified during a NSWNA inspection of the $98 million facility in central western NSW (see story next page). The list of occupational health and safety problems identified by the NSWNA runs to more than 50 pages. ‘It is just unbelievable that a brand new facility can have so many serious OH&S problems,’ said NSWNA Assistant General Secretary, Judith Kiejda. ‘Nurses expect that these issues will be addressed promptly and properly. We also expect that a lot more care will be taken with the redevelopment of Orange Base Hospital and other future hospital redevelopments,’ Judith said. ‘We are also seeking immediate action to reduce the heavy workloads – some nurses are working up to 110 hours a fortnight.’ The NSWNA branch at the hospital had been pressing for more nurses since mid-2007. Three days before the opening of the new hospital on 21 January, the branch decided to hold a stopwork meeting to coincide with the opening. It was only then that management finally agreed to employ sufficient nurses. Branch secretary, Cheryl O’Brien, said management moved to fast-track

staff recruitment in early March. She said some agency nurses had been brought in to fill vacancies in the short term and management was proposing to hire more. Doctors have offered nurses their complete support in the campaign to secure adequate staffing. ‘Nurses are the lifeblood of the hospital. We recognise they work very hard, way beyond the call of duty,’ said Dr Stavros Prineas, spokesman for the Bathurst Medical Staff Council. ‘We must seize this opportunity to make sure the issues nurses found so troublesome in the old hospital are not revisited in the new one.’ Doctors banned non-urgent surgery in February because of safety concerns surrounding the operating theatres’ communications system. Day surgery procedures have since resumed with doctors using walkie-talkies as a stop-gap measure until an adequate communication system can be installed. However, the College of Surgeons said all four of Bathurst Hospital’s operating theatres needed to be rebuilt because they are too small and do not meet national standards. Cheryl O’Brien said the severe staff shortage and design and equipment shortcomings have had ‘an enormous impact’ on nurses. ‘But true to their form, the nurses have worked on despite enormous stress and are providing the best quality care that they can give,’ she said.

Nurses! Celebrate International Nursesʼ Day on

‘True to their form, the nurses have worked on despite enormous stress and are providing the best quality care that they can give.’ Cheryl O’Brien

‘Without the support of the Nurses’ Association we would be at the mercy of all these problems. It’s been great to be able to draw on the Association to get all this support.’

NURSES! Celebrate with this International Nurses’ Day Event

Saturday 10 May 2008 at Luna Park In recognition of the wonderful work nurses do Luna Park is offering members and their families

Classic Unlimited Rides Passes at $29 per person* To book contact: 02 9033 7600 • 1300 244 867 • (click on “Whats On”) All you need to do is give your credit card details and quote your membership number. * Limit of 10 passes per person. Children under 85 cm free.


Bathurst ‘It is just unbelievable that a brand new facility can have so many serious OH&S problems.’ Meanwhile, following Bathurst’s disastrous opening, the union is seeking a review of the process by which NSW public hospitals are designed and built. The union has written to the Minister for Health, the Health Department and the Health Infrastructure Chief Executive, Robert Rust, asking for a review of the process of facility planning and standard clauses in the design and construct contract. ‘Obviously, in the case of Bathurst hospital the planning and consultation process was fundamentally inadequate,’ said the union’s OH&S Coordinator, Trish Butrej. She said there appeared to be no requirement for nurses or occupational health and safety specialists to be represented on the various higher-level committees overseeing the planning and design process. ‘The current process also allows facilities to be occupied before all fire safety and communications systems have been thoroughly checked to ensure that they are functioning properly,’ Trish said. The State Government set up the Health Infrastructure Board last June to oversee the delivery of the NSW Government’s hospital building program. The hospital building program, costed at more than $3 billion for the next five years, includes the redevelopment of the Newcastle Mater, Liverpool, and Royal North Shore hospitals; upgrades to Lismore, Orange and Auburn hospitals; and development of new after hours GP clinics. n

NEW HOSPITAL’S MANY FAILINGS radesmen are thick on the ground at Bathurst Base Hospital attempting to rectify design and equipment defects, that have plagued staff and patients since the facility opened in late January. A NSWNA inspection of the hospital revealed a long list of serious defects. Examples include: c The Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit are too small and need structural changes. The resuscitation room in ED only fits one bed, and even that has to go in the wrong way for staff to access the head of the patient. c Occupants of the Mental Health Unit can easily access climbable drainpipes to the roof, as well as a courtyard wall leading to a 20metre drop. Patients in the secure assessment room can potentially access the ED via an unlocked door. The secure assessment room is at the opposite end of the unit to the seclusion room and at the end of a supposedly staff-only corridor. c The Paediatric Unit had easy access to the roof (a push button door release about 1.2 metres off the ground), which has a low-level wall and a three-storey drop. The pathway from the door across the roof leads directly to a fire escape that is not locked or alarmed. NSWNA branch secretary Cheryl O’Brien has reported that the push-button operation has been replaced with a swipe card system. c The maternity assessment room doorway is too narrow for trolleys. During commissioning of the room the bed had to be turned on its side to be put in place. c Duress alarms are a basic type that only sends a signal to security officers while failing to alert other staff that an incident is occurring nearby. ‘If an incident happens out of earshot of other staff, or if a person has been knocked unconscious so there’s no noise involved, other staff in the same unit won’t know that a colleague is in trouble,’ says Trish Butrej, NSWNA OH&S coordinator. ‘Some









staff do have alarms with pagers but the signal is a code – it doesn’t clearly state the location of the incident.’ The methadone unit is a ‘complete nightmare and will have to be refurbished. It’s way too small, there’s no proper storage space, no personal duress alarms and you can’t view the waiting room from the dosing area,’ Trish said. Surgical ward and medical ward call bells can not be heard once staff are 10 to 15 metres from the desk, as speakers and enunciators are only located at the desk. Thousands of files are stored in the medical gases plant room, where they would fuel any fire. The only access to the mortuary is via the car park, but ambulances can’t fit under the car park entrance or the mortuary roller door. The car park entrance is also too low for the patient transport bus, which is forced to park in the ambulance bay. The stores department did not deliver boxes to wards. Management had instead organised wardspersons to deliver stores. This removed them from their normal role of transporting patients and assisting nurses, which severely impacted on nurses’ workloads. Nurses and ward clerks had to go down to the dock, sort through supplies to find their orders, and deliver them to the ward. Cheryl O’Brien said the absence of wardsperson meant delays in patients being transported for X-rays, CT scanning etc. She said it appeared stores staff had now started delivering to wards. Staff were not given keys to the clean utility rooms where drugs are stored, forcing them to leave doors unlocked. Monitoring by the Department of Environment and Climate Change revealed excessive noise from the air conditioning units. The Department gave the Greater Western Area Health Service a fortnight to come up with a solution. THE LAMP APRIL 2008 23

No visit to Sydney is complete without experiencing three of Australia’s best attractions, all within walking distance of Darling Harbour, and now you can see all of them for a special all-in-one price. The Discovery Sydney Value Pass allows you to walk amongst the sharks, cuddle up to a koala and pat a python, see Sydney’s best views plus buckle up for the ultimate Australian virtual reality ride! And the Discovery Pass is valid for 3 months, so you can take your time to enjoy your savings, and extend the fun at Sydney’s favourite attractions. Sydney Aquarium and Sydney Wildlife World, Aquarium Pier Darling Harbour. Sydney Tower, Centerpoint Podium Level, 100 Market St, Sydney. 02 8251 7800





Roster plan worries Hunter nurses g Pattern rostering may be restrictive and inflexible


proposal to introduce ‘responsive rostering’ including ‘pattern rostering’ is causing concern among nurses in the Hunter New England Area Health Service. Under the proposal, the area’s centralised staffing service would be involved in developing the rosters in consultation with NUMs. Nurses will then be allocated a roster line, which would run for a minimum of three months.

that pattern rostering would give nurses a more predictable work pattern. However, the union fears the system would be inflexible and unable to satisfy individual nurses’ requirements. The union is represented on various roster committees. The NSWNA also pushed for the formation of a union-specific consultative committee to address members’ concerns. At a meeting on 19 March, NSWNA officers reiterated members’ concerns and stated

‘We are receiving feedback from members at all levels that overall the current system works.’ Once the roster was posted, nurses wishing to change some or all of their shifts would have to negotiate changes with their NUM with no guarantee that requests would be partially or fully met. Nurses currently make requests before the roster comes out, in consultation with the NUM. Area management has told the NSW Nurses’ Association the proposal is now in a ‘consultation stage’. If pattern rostering is adopted it would be trialled in the greater Newcastle sector – Belmont, John Hunter, mental health, Maitland, and Royal Newcastle – before being implemented in the entire area. Management has told the NSWNA

that the union would not support a more restrictive and inflexible rostering system. General Secretary Brett Holmes said the proposed move to pattern rostering was causing a lot of uncertainty and anxiety among members. ‘They fear it will be too restrictive and will make it harder for nurses to choose to work on particular days,’ Brett said. ‘We are concerned that it will not adequately cater for staff with carer requirements, staff on permanent shifts such as night duty, staff attending education and other personal commitments outside of work. ‘Many NUMs fear that pattern rostering will create more work for them

NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes

because they will have to juggle requests after they have put the roster out.’ Brett has also written to the area’s chief executive officer, Dr Nigel Lyons, pointing out that the area has presented no real evidence that the current rostering system is inefficient. ‘To the contrary, we are receiving feedback from members at all levels that overall the current system works,’ he wrote. ‘The members have voiced their concerns regarding the apparent lack of consultation about the proposal, in particular the lack of opportunity to comment on the current system and maybe offer suggestions for improvement.’ At the time of printing, talks were continuing between the NSWNA and HNEAHS. In early April, the NSWNA will be mailing members a survey to obtain their feedback on the new system.n

PROFESSIONAL OFFICER (AGED CARE) The NSWNA is seeking a creative and self–motivated nurse who has experience in the aged care sector and is aware of the contemporary issues challenging nurses in this sector. The successful applicant should possess at least five years’ experience, preferably at a senior level, in the aged care sector or related field and have an understanding of trade union issues.

It is essential that you have the ability to network with key stakeholders in aged care at a senior level and be proficient in policy analysis, review, development and implementation. You will be eligible for registration with the NSW Nurses’ Registration Board and possess postgraduate qualifications in nursing. Further information regarding

this position can be obtained by telephoning Robyn Morrison, Employee Relations Coordinator on 02 8595 1234 (metro callers) or 1300 367 962 (non-metro callers). Applications should be received by Friday, 30 April 2008 and sent to: Brett Holmes General Secretary PO Box 40 Camperdown NSW 1450


Simply better ward beds at every step of the way

FE 5000

Smart and sophisticated, the FE 5000 is Australian designed and Australian made and is testimony to all the things health professionals have come to value in equipment that allows them to do their job efficiently, whilst catering for the comfort and needs of the patient.

AvantGuard 1200速 The AvantGuard 1200 bed is a valuable support to your daily nursing activities that will help you reduce the risk of injury during patient mobilisation whilst improving the safety, comfort and autonomy of your patients.

CareAssist速 ES Bed

The CareAssist ES bed incorporates several unique features to help you protect and care for your patients including onebutton Dining Chair速 feature; unique four-corner brake access with audible alarm; stowable patient pendant; Shearless Pivot速 and an inbuilt nightlight.

Enhancing the lives of patients and caregivers

For more information on these ward beds and our full range of hospital beds, trolleys and ward furniture please visit: or call 02 9569 0255 26 THE LAMP APRIL 2008



Injured at work? How to avoid the Workers’ Compensation trap g Nursing is a physical profession dogged by high injury rates and the murky, confusing world of Workers’ Compensation can add more pain and stress. Nurses should contact the NSWNA if they suffer a workplace injury that prevents them from working.


urses who suffer workplace injuries enter the complex, bureaucratic world of Workers’ Compensation. For the uninitiated, it can be a strange and frustrating place populated by independent medical examiners, injury management consultants, nominated treating doctors and rehabilitation providers. NSWNA Organiser, Velma Gersbach, said the system works if you know your rights and responsibilities, but there are traps. ‘The legislation requires every effort to be made to return injured workers to “suitable duties” at the earliest opportunity,’ she said. ‘It aims to get people back to work as quickly and safely as possible. It recognises that the longer you are off, the more you de-skill, lose physical fitness and confidence. ‘Too often, unfortunately, nurses don’t contact the Association until their situations become complex or they hit a complication with their employment. This can lead to further problems for people already under stress,’ said Velma. Nurses should realise that employers and insurance companies have

professionals acting for them from the moment a claim is lodged. It is advisable to seek professional advice of your own. Nursing is a physical profession dogged by high injury rates. Constant lifting and manual handling make nurses vulnerable to back and shoulder problems that can take time to heal. NSW legislation gives management the responsibility of providing ‘suitable duties’ for workers unable to return to their normal roles, and these need not be limited to nursing. Employers can provide clerical, computing or other work that doesn’t require the same physical effort. The law also obliges them to make ‘reasonable’ changes to the work environment to accommodate restrictions caused by injuries. But these responsibilities are not allencompassing. Employers are not obliged to invent work. And, for nurses who can’t be reemployed or redeployed, the financial consequences can be dire. WorkCover payments vary. Generally, injured workers receive their ordinary wages for their first six months off the job. After that, however, they drop back

to what is known as the statutory rate. It varies according to circumstances but can be as little as $300 a week. It is critical to get the best treatment and advice from the start. The NSW Nurses’ Association advises members that, if they feel disadvantaged, they should not automatically accept the decisions of employers or insurers. Members are entitled to advice and representation on workers’ compensation. In the event of a claim being knocked back by an insurance company, members can be referred to the Association’s solicitors. Velma said that while Workers’ Compensation can be a long process, many injured nurses return to their substantive positions without unnecessary drama. ‘Injuries can be traumatic in themselves,’ she said, ‘but it is exacerbated when suddenly you can’t pay your mortgage or receive a letter terminating your employment. ‘The saddest cases we see are people who don’t come for advice until it is too late. ‘Nobody wants to get hurt at work but it happens. One of the first things you should do is contact the Association, even if you think things are going well.’ n THE LAMP APRIL 2008 27



Lyn shoulders three-year campaign


n November 2004, the scales tipped against a South Coast nurse and her family. They weren’t the scales of justice but the standard set Lyn Watcham used to weigh newborns as a Child and Family Health RN. After five years of lifting scales in and out of her car, Lyn’s left shoulder said ‘enough’. It plunged her into a three-year compensation battle with the Greater Southern Area Health Service and countless faceless officials. Months, then years, of frustration brought out levels of determination she didn’t know she possessed. Lyn meticulously recorded interviews and run-ins and, eventually, set out her case in a letter to then Health Minister, John Hatzistergos, drawing a Ministerial rebuke for her employer. Lyn had first returned to her Eurobodalla-based job after six months

convalescence and a shoulder operation in Sydney, restricted to six hours a week on non-clinical duties. Married, with a daughter at home and helping to pay the living costs of another in Sydney, Lyn and her traindriver husband were feeling the pinch. ‘I was fighting to get back to work. Yes, it was partly financial but, also, it was about me as a person,’ she said. All she ran into though were roadblocks. The Health Service put off her planned May 2005 return because it didn’t have the chair it wanted for the allocated work, nor the headset she needed to use the phone. The NSWNA helped sort out those problems. By December, Lyn and her shoulder had worked their way back into a 36hour fortnight. She was doing clinics but wanted to return to the rest of her work and, by April 06, had learned to drive a car with a spinner knob on the steering wheel. She got the licence needed to operate a modified vehicle. Trouble was, the Health Service wouldn’t attach the equipment to any of its cars.

‘At a meeting, after an all-day clinic, they sat me down and, basically said don’t come back. I was devastated. ‘I had fought so hard to keep my job and had done every single thing they asked of me. I was asking myself, how am I going to live? I had a mortgage and bills like everyone else.’ But she got angry when she finally extracted reasons for her effective dismissal from the HR department. She contested every one of its claims, not least that other people had had to spend 20 minutes a day setting up her clinics. The NSWNA got the information Lyn needed to fight back. Following Hartzistergos’ ‘please explain’, the Health Service agreed to a three-month trial. It would put a spinner knob on one of its vehicles and supply a Dictaphone so she could file verbal reports. In May 2007, the parties agreed she could work three days a week, and WorkCover would make up her wage to nearly the full amount. It was a relief but Lyn has been scarred by the experience. ‘Nobody warns you that your pay is going to be cut by two-thirds, or that they can sack you after six months. ‘I found it awful. There is a stigma attached to Workers’ Compensation.

After five years of lifting scales in and out of her car, Lyn’s left shoulder said ‘enough’. On the contrary, her rehabilitation officer informed her, it was considering removing her to ‘suitable duties’. ‘That’s a nice way of saying, we’re sacking you,’ Lyn said.


Everyone looks at you as though you are a malingerer, trying to get money out of the system. ‘There are so many third parties involved in your treatment it is overwhelming, but you have to go through the system even though you don’t know who has access to your files or who is making decisions about your life. ‘I was never sure, if people I had to see were working for me or the insurance company.’ n

Welcome to Workcover


orkers’ Compensation is a big budget production but it needn’t be a horror story if you have someone who knows the ropes. You need to become familiar with the main characters and their roles. They may include all or any of the following:

CASE MANAGER Appointed by your employer’s insurance company to look after all elements of your claim, from start to finish.

NOMINATED TREATING DOCTOR Nominated by you to look after your injury and return-to-work activities. You must have one if you are going to be off work for more than seven days.

INJURY MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT A WorkCover-approved Registered Medical Practitioner who assists you, your employer, the insurer and the nominated treating doctor to agree on things like treatments and suitable duties.

REHABILITATION PROVIDER WorkCover-accredited organisations that provide return-to-work services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, counselling, nursing and psychological services.

RETURN-TO-WORK COORDINATOR A key person in the process, employed by your employer, who identifies your needs and liases with the employer, insurer, health professionals and you to implement a return-to-work plan.

REHABILITATION CASE MANAGER Appointed by the rehab provider to manage your return-to-work activities.

INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAMINER Carries out independent examinations on the referral of your employer, the insurer or your representative. Provides opinions on your condition, treatment, rehabilitation and compensation entitlements. They cannot treat you or offer to treat you as a patient but, if referred, you must attend. n



A SNAPSHOT Nearly 2% of NSW workers suffer ‘major’ workplace injuries every year. In 2005/2006, WorkCover registered 141,240 employment injuries, including 146 deaths. It paid out on 44,013 claims, a 12% reduction on 2004/2005 but still 15.4 cases for every 1000 workers in the state. In 2005/06 WorkCover paid more than $54 million on 3,852 claims from people in health services. Four hundred and twenty workers from the sector were listed as permanently disabled. The New South Wales Workers’ Compensation Scheme provides injured people with compensation for some lost earnings and also pays medical and, where necessary, vocational rehabilitation expenses. In 2005/2006 that bill was more than $850 million.

Nurses helping care for children! As a professional in the nursing field you have the knowledge and skills needed to provide care. You can utilise these skills as a foster carer whilst continuing in your career. Your commitment can range from caring for a child one weekend a month through to permanent care. For more information please call Centacare on 8709 9333 or visit Centracare.indd 1

12:44:48 PM THE 13/7/07 LAMP APRIL 2008 29



Jan crumbles under base load


n 19 June last year, Jan Keogh lost it. The RN of 31 years crumbled under an extraordinary workload while working in a senior management position at a NSW regional hospital. ‘I collapsed in a hysterical heap. I was shaking and crying uncontrollably,’ she said. Nothing in her career, including intensive care nursing in Sydney, had prepared her for running around in circles trying to plug chronic staffing shortages. Jan had been looking after Junior Medical Officers, trying to


Jan Keogh

ScottsLAMP College.indd 1 30 THE APRIL 2008

recruit Locum Medical Officers, attempting to get emergency doctors for a subsidiary hospital and battling to keep base hospital ICU and rehab units operating. At the time, there was one specialist for the 10-bed ICU. Over a 10-day period she couldn’t persuade a single doctor to come and assist. A key medical position in rehab had sat empty for six months. The deadline to complete an accreditation document for the hospital was also looming. And, in her spare time, Jan was two units shy of completing a Masters in Health Management. ‘I couldn’t get anybody to understand the gravity of our situation,’ she said. ‘I was aware of the chronic doctor shortage but I couldn’t shake the responsibility I felt personally for not being able to find cover. ‘In a nutshell, I was trying to do the jobs of two and a half people, unsupported. I couldn’t go on. ‘Now, I have been told, I have a degree of mental instability as a result of the workload.’ She laughs at the terminology. ‘Well, thank goodness I can. You have to laugh or you just stay there and it is not a good place to be. ‘One day I was a woman with the capacity to do a university Masters and the next I couldn’t get my kids out of bed.’ One of the first things she had to confront was

SENIOR CLINIC SISTER Applications are invited from suitably qualified and experienced Registered Nurses. The College Clinic provides 24/7 medical services to over 230 boarding students and first aid to all day boys. The Clinic is currently staffed by three full-time nurses and a small team of casual nurses. The standard of care provided is outstanding. The Senior Clinic Sister will lead the clinic team. Key responsibilities include the

the embarrassment of being reliant on Workers’ Compensation. Reality couldn’t have been more different. For a start, she had six months to recover or her family faced life on a statutory rate of $365 a week. Employer liability made no difference to that entitlement. She had to deal with doctors, psychologists, case managers and an insurance company (Treasury Managed Funds) determined to protect its client. She puts her survival down to the support of the NSWNA and a handful of colleagues, including the general manager. ‘I don’t know how I would have come this far without her or the Nurses’ Association,’ Jan said. ‘The Association provided me with emotional support when I needed it but they also knew the legal situation and were able to take a lot of weight off my mind. ‘WorkCover is very frustrating. You have no idea what it is like until you are in it and realise you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. ‘I was lucky because I have been here a long time and there are people who knew me as more than a number and went out of their way to support me.’ Last month, Jan returned to the hospital on restricted duties, working 18 hours a week and was ‘cautiously optimistic’ about her future. ‘I have determined [that] whatever I do from here, [it] will be in nursing,’ she said.n

oversight of staffing, administrative, medical and student/ parent issues. The roster requires that each clinic sister completes some overnight shifts during each term. Provisions are made to accommodate nurses on overnight shifts. The pay scale is in line with the Nurses, Non-Government Schools (State) award. An additional allowance is provided, in recognition of the leadership responsibilities of this position. The successful applicant will display excellent interpersonal and nursing skills, with a friendly and flexible approach to the role. Experience in paediatric and adolescent nursing and the ability to work effectively in a busy work environment would be an advantage.

Applicants must demonstrate their positive support for the Christian values of a Presbyterian GPS School. Further information is available from: The College Clinic on 9327 8139 or Applications, addressing the criteria and specifying the position sought – with curriculum vitae and the names and contact details of three referees – should be submitted by Monday, 14 April 2008. Applications should be addressed to: The Principal, The Scots College Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill NSW 2023

Child protection legislation requires preferred applicants to be subject to employment screening. 25/3/08 9:42:38 AM


Report injury to your manager or employer immediately Complete an injury or incident form no matter how minor the injury is.


See a doctor You can nominate your own doctor. The doctor will complete a WorkCover medical certificate that indicates whether or not you are fit for work.

The Workers’ Compensation merry-go-round g Too often, nurses and midwives are taken by surprise when they come face to face with WorkCover. If you are hurt at work, this is how the system works:


Complete a workers compensation claim form The insurer may require you to provide additional information.


Submit WorkCover certificate to your employer Keep a copy for your records and keep your employer informed on progress.


The insurer The insurer will contact you, the employer and your nominated treating doctor to determine treatment, return to work needs and develop an injury management plan.


Income Within seven days of receiving notification of your injury, the insurer may start provisional compensation payments and consider covering costs of ‘reasonably necessary’ treatments and rehabilitation.

Back to work


Independent assessments Your employer, or the insurer, may require you to attend an appointment with an Independent Medical Assessor

The above chart is an outline of the NSW workers compensation process. There are other characters you might see along the way. For a list of the possible cast see page 29. It is important to co-operate with your employer and the insurer. It is most important that you keep copies of all documents associated with your claim. The NSW Nurses’ Association advises members to keep diary notes of all telephone discussions and meetings with your employer and the insurer. Do not wait until you experience difficulties before contacting the Nurses’ Association for advice – especially, if the insurer denies liability or your employer threatens to terminate your employment.

Your doctor can clear you to return to work or determine you can go back with restrictions. In the latter case, the employer should consult you, your doctor, the insurer, the union and other treating health professionals to set achievable goals, identify suitable duties, design a return to work plan and monitor your progress.

OR Permanent impairment. If your doctor states you have reached maximum improvement and will not return to pre-injury duties, and the employer does not provide alternative employment, you are entitled to retraining, work trial placements and/ or job seeking assistance. THE LAMP APRIL 2008 31


$ISCOVERTHELATESTINNOVATIONSIN medical equipment and supplies at...

Hall 3, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre 13 – 15 May 2008 s5NCOVER MANUFACTURERSSUPPLIERS s-EETSOFINDUSTRYEXPERTS s$ISCOVERSOFPRODUCTSSPECIlCTO the medical industry

Australia’s International Exhibition for Hospital, Diagnostic, Pharmaceutical, Medical & Rehabilitation Equipment and Supplies!

Organise your FREE ticket now at 32 THE LAMP APRIL 2008




Union gets Super payments for nurse on Workers’ Compensation


ublic sector nurses receiving Workers’ Compensation are entitled to be paid superannuation contributions on their payments. Injured nurses and midwives should check with their superannuation fund to make sure their employer is treating Workers’ Compensation payments as salary for the purposes of superannuation. A NSWNA member in Newcastle spent two years off work due to injury. During that time superannuation contributions were made on her Workers’ Compensation payments. The member returned to work at John Hunter Hospital in March 2007. On medical advice she was restricted to working 20 hours per week, and received Workers’ Compensation ‘make up pay’ to

cover the additional 13.5 hours she was contracted for before she got injured. The member suspected she was being paid superannuation only for the 20 hours and called the State Authorities Superannuation Scheme, who said her employer had not notified them that she was also receiving Workers’ Compensation make-up pay. She contacted the NSWNA who wrote to Hunter New England Area Health Service. The NSWNA pointed out that the State government had agreed in 2002 that weekly Workers’ Compensation payments, including make-up payments, would be included in the definition of salary or wages for the purposes of superannuation for all public sector workers.

The Area failed to give a written response to the NSWNA claim so the union took the issue to the Industrial Relations Commission. Following a conference before the Commission, Area management accepted the union’s claim and apologised to the nurse. NSWNA Assistant General Secretary, Judith Kiejda, advised all members receiving Workers Compensation and make-up pay to contact their superannuation fund to make sure their employer is paying superannuation on all relevant Workers’ Compensation payments. ‘If the employer has failed to make superannuation payments on all relevant weekly Workers’ Compensation payments it is a mistake that could cost the nurse a lot of money down the track,’ Judith said.n

Do You Need Dialysis Education? Enhance your skills with an Advanced Diploma of Dialysis education for Enrolled Nurses. Gain a recognised qualification under the guidance of skilled professionals. TAFE NSW offers Enrolled Nurses: • skills for dialysis care, practice and technologies • specifically designed clinical competencies • flexible hours and delivery options • world-class teaching facilities.

To be eligible for the Advanced Diploma of Dialysis Education, nurses must be working in a renal dialysis unit. For more information, contact NSI’s Community Services and Health section on

+61 2 9942 3695


) 131 674 THE LAMP APRIL 2008 33

e r o M r e v o Disc Oek½bbZ_iYel[hceh[m_j^ 9WfjW_d9eea9hk_i[i$ 7XeWhZekhÆ[[je\[nfbeh[h#ijob[ icWbbi^_fioekm_bb[nf[h_[dY[Ybei[ [dYekdj[him_j^[njhWehZ_dWhofbWY[i" ikf[hXZ_d_d]"[dj[hjW_dc[dj"[nf[hj beYWb]k_Z[iWdZ]h[WjYecfWdo$



š:_iYel[h^_ZZ[dYel[iWdZh_l[hi" [d`eoc_bb_edZebbWhl_[mi"jefYbWii\eeZ" ]h[Wj[dj[hjW_dc[djWdZi^eh[i_Z[jekhi$

š7jejWbCkhhWobWdZiWdZm_bZb_\[ [nf[h_[dY[l_i_j_d]^_ijeh_YfehjiWdZ j^[\Wc[Z8WheiiWLWbb[om_d[h_[i$





ff jm_di^Wh[





ff jm_di^Wh[


 <eYkiedj^[[dl_hedc[dj  ;nf[hjbeYWb]k_Z[iWdZYh[m  7bbc[WbiWdZceijWYj_l_j_[i_dYbkZ[Z  Ikf[h_ehlWbk[\ehced[o  7mWhZm_dd_d]gkWb_joWdZi[hl_Y[  M[[aboIW_b_d]i



š;nf[h_[dY[j^[ceijh[cej[WdZ [nYbki_l[ideha[bb_d]"_ibWdZWdZ hW_d\eh[ijZ[ij_dWj_edi$

š;iYWf[jej^[jhef_Yi¸YhoijWbYb[Wh bW]eedi"fWbc\h_d][Z_ibWdZiWdZj^[ mWhc\h_[dZboYkbjkh[e\<_`_$





ff jm_di^Wh[

8edkiI9K87B[iied <ehÅhij#j_c[Z_l[hi

8EEA ; EDB?D LWb_Z\ehiWb[WdZjhWl[bje)'CWh&/[nYbif[Y_Wb[l[djYhk_i[i$Fh_Y[iWh[7K:jm_di^Wh[_dYb=IJehL7J >JJWiWj&*<[X&.$B_c_j[ZWlW_bWX_b_jo$Fh_Y[i[nYb<k[bIkhY^Wh][iWffhen'&ffje-&ffH[[\;C9 Wffhen'+ff$LWb_Zedd[mXeea_d]iedbo$9edZ_j_ediWffbo$Ed[I9K87B[iied_i\h[[e\Y^Wh][\ehÅhij 34 THE LAMP APRIL 2008 j_c[#Z_l[hiedH[[\Yhk_i[i$IkXi[gk[djI9K87Z_l[iWdZ[gk_fc[dj^_h[Wh[WZZ_j_edWbYeij$



jm_di^Wh[ <hec DehcWbbo''-+

7iaWXekjif[Y_Wb -#D_]^j:_iYel[ho9hk_i[i






º?^WZWcX_j_ed$$$dejedboje]e\Whj^[h j^WdWdoed[^WZX[[dX[\eh["XkjWi\Wh Wi_jmWifeii_Xb[\ehcWdje]e$»


Q & A




AiN experience counts with TEN pay I have just enrolled in a Trainee Enrolled Nurse (TEN) course after having worked full time as an Assistant in Nursing (AiN) in a public hospital for more than two years. Does my service as an AiN count when determining whether I will be paid as a TEN 1st year, 2nd year etc.

Yes, the incremental scale does apply in this case and for a maximum of 1,982 hours worked in the public sector each year, in this case as an AiN, the next increment on the TEN scale is reached.

Not prevented from transfer I am a Registered Nurse in the public sector and have negotiated to transfer my employment to another job in the same Area Health Service and have a definite start date for the new job. I have given my current NUM a monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s notice of my transfer but she is telling me that she will not let me transfer on this date because of staffing shortages.

Your current NUM cannot prevent your transfer and you are required to give only 14 days notice to her per clause 45 (ii), Termination of Employment, of the Award.

Annual leave according to hours normally worked I am employed in a public hospital as a

full-time employee on a rotating roster. I have noticed that when I complete my annual leave forms, my NUM puts me down for Monday to Friday over this period and I only receive the base leave loading. Can she do this, considering I usually work weekends and shiftwork?

No, your NUM should not be putting Monday to Friday down as your prospective shifts when taking annual leave. You are entitled to receive annual leave loading of 17.5% OR the penalties for the shifts you would have worked had you not been on leave â&#x20AC;&#x201C; whichever is the greater. For the majority of nurses, shift penalties far outweigh the 17.5%, so they receive shift penalties. Your prospective roster should be a fair representation of what you usually work, and if it is not, you should raise this with your manager in the first instance.

Obtaining criminal check I need to obtain a Criminal Record Check in order to attend a training course for aged care. Can you give me any information on where I can get this?

Criminal Record Checkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s are now required for all employees working in aged care. These are usually obtained by the employer, at their expense. If you are required to obtain one for a course, this can be done by contacting the Australian Federal Police on (02) 6223 3000, or by mail at Locked Bag No 1 WESTON

ACT 2611. There is a fee involved and it usually takes 15 working days to complete the check. However, if you can provide a National Criminal History record that is less than three years old, you do not need to have another check done.

On call allowance for Nurse Managers I am Nurse Manager 4 in a public regional hospital. I work a lot of oncall shifts for the management of the hospital or on-call for operating theatres. I have been advised by pay office that I do not get paid the on-call allowance as I am a Nurse Manager 4 even if I am required to open and then scrub for the operating theatres. Is this correct?

In July 2007, the Industrial Relations Commission approved a variation to the Public Health System Nurses and Midwivesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; (State) Award extending the eligibility for payment of the on-call allowances to all Nurse Managers Grade 4, 5 and 6 when they are required to remain on-call for the performance of clinical duties. This means that when you are on-call for clinical reasons, eg for duty in operating theatres, to perform x-rays in rural areas or for duty in delivery suites or any clinical duty, then you are paid the on-call allowance. This variation to the Award took effect from the first pay period on or after 4 July 2007.n








Peaceful Warrior g A quality film for those who want to reach their dreams but donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know how. film based on a novel by Dan Millman tells the story a journey of self discovery for an elite sportsman. A self-absorbed young gymnast played by Scott Mechlowicz has everything a college boy wants: looks, girls, money and an aspiring future as a Olympic gymnast. Plagued by torturous nightmares about his future aspirations being shattered, he suffers sleepless nights for fear of his dream becoming reality. So disturbed is he by these thoughts, late one night he goes for a run to the local service station where he meets an old service attendant (Nick



Nolte). When leaving the premises Dan witnesses a chance event that proves to be a life-changing experience. Peaceful Warrior is a poignant story of self discovery portrayed with underlying themes of success, failure, hopes and dreams. It takes you on a philosophical journey teaching viewers that life is not just about the end destination. Rather, it is an understanding and appreciation of small things along the journey which, when combined, can create happiness. This movie is a critical reflection of one's self on the journey to self discovery. I found its insights valuable to my life and my nursing practice. It exposes how

Review by Rachael Allen, RN at Prince of Wales Hospital The Lampâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rating

experience, knowledge and skill, applied at the right time, will provide beneficial outcomes. It helps explore the way one's consciousness makes sense of reality. This is a film for lovers of philosophy and those who like to think beyond the square. n


Sometimes the smartes t people have

the most to learn.


IN EUROBODALLA Dennis Quaid Sarah Jessica Parker Ellen Page


Thomas Haden Church




from the producer of “s ideways”

MOLIERE In cinemas 1 May A bawdy French comedy in the spirit of Shakespeare in Love and Ridicule, comes this re-imagination of the life and times of Moliere, one of the great writers of his generation. Moliere is an impetuous 22 year-old, his theatre troupe is a failure, he is bankrupt and in prison because he can’t pay his debts. His release from prison is funded by wealthy Monsier Jourdain who gifts Moliere his freedom only in return for tutoring. Jourdain is a buffoon and he enlists Moliere to help him woo the affection of a French Countess with a series of love letters. At the same time, the young Moliere is entwined in a secret love affair with Jourdain’s wife and plan to stop Jourdain’s daughter from eloping with her secret boyfriend. Moliere’s experiences as a lover and a teacher help him mature from a young adult to a man whose work shall be recognised as one of the greatest dramatists ever born. Powered by the ingenuity of brilliant actor Romain Duris, Moliere is a fun-filled and spirited romp, wonderfully written and sharply observed.

SMART PEOPLE In cinemas 24 April Smart People is the darkly comic story of Lawrence Wetherhold, a widowed and unhappy English professor (Dennis Quaid), who has alienated his son and turned his daughter into an overachieving, friendless teen. He falls for Janet (Sarah Jessica Parker), one of his former students, while at the same time his ne'er-do-well brother (Thomas Haden Church) shows up at his door unexpectedly, triggering a series of comic crises and eventually growth in the family as they learn to reconnect.

The Lamp is offering NSWNA members the chance to win a weekend of delightful experiences in Eurobodalla on the South Coast.* This month’s winner will be indulged at the Coachhouse Marina Resort in Batemans Bay with a unique Creature Comforts Package, guaranteed to make your weekend memorable. The package includes two nights accommodation in a fully self-contained, two-bedroom Beachcomber or Spinnaker Villa (sleeps up to six), a River Cruise on the magnificent Clyde River with Merinda Cruises, a Family Pass to Mogo Zoo and a three-course dinner for two at the Coachhouse Rockwall Restaurant. The Coachhouse Marina Resort’s Rockwall Restaurant offers the finest cuisine for restaurant dining or larger functions. Local food and produce is a specialty.

SPECIAL OFFER TO NSWNA MEMBERS In addition to this great prize, the Coachhouse Marina Resort is offering NSWNA members a special conference deal. Members who book a conference with a minimum of 50 delegates will be given a choice of a complimentary villa for the duration of the conference or a one-hour welcome drinks party (conditions apply). For more details on holidaying or conferencing at the Coachhouse Marina Resort, freecall 1800 670 715, email or visit For information on holidaying in Eurobodalla, holiday packages, activities, outdoor experiences and some great HOT DEALS, visit and book on-line at or phone the Eurobodalla Visitor Centre on Freecall 1800 802 528.

The Lamp has 100 double passes to see Moliere, 25 double passes to Smart People and 5 Peaceful Warrior DVD package. To enter, email with your name, membership number, address and contact number. First entries win!

Our reviewers & tipsters receive a delightful ABC Classics CD – for uplifting enjoyment! Gifts so good, you won’t want to give them away. There is an ABC Shop near you. For locations visit or call 1300 360 111. Ask about our rewards program. *Offer valid Sunday to Thursday, not valid public and school THE LAMP APRIL 2008 37 holidays, subject to availability. Prize offer valid to 1/11/08.

Program available online Register: or 03 9375 7311




A wonderful life EUGENIE MAY LYNCH


ustralia Day 2008 was the first anniversary of the death of Genie Lynch, aged 46. It is a measure of the shock her colleagues have felt about her sudden death that it has taken us a year to write this tribute to her. All of us who were present at the time will never forget the events of Australia Day 2007 when we lost our dear colleague and friend. We remember her well, but we want others to know something of the impact she had on our lives. Genie started her nursing career at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) in 1979. After completing her General training, Genie spent a year in the then Page Chest Pavilion at RPAH. After subsequently training as a midwife at The Nepean Hospital in 1983, she then worked as a midwife at Nepean and Westmead Hospitals. Her one outing beyond the NSW public health system was as an Occupational Health nurse with the Commonwealth Bank. In 1989, she returned to midwifery at what was then King George V Memorial Hospital for Mothers and Babies. She later furthered her career by sitting for and passing the International Board of Lactation Consultant

Examiners exam in 1998. She also gained a Graduate Certificate in Nursing Management from UTS in recent years. Her most recent role was as the inaugural ACCESS Midwife in the Maternity Unit at RPAH. The ACCESS Midwife is responsible for bed management and clinical support in both the post-natal and delivery wards and general problem solving throughout the Maternity Unit. It was to her credit as an efficient, good humoured and natural manager that the ACCESS role was quickly entrenched as something that could not be done without. Her interests outside nursing centred on her family. She married Norm in 1985 and had two sons, Alex and Peter. As dear as her husband and sons were to her, Genie spoke with obvious care and warmth about her extended family as well. Her parents-in-law at Mudgee, her mother in a local nursing home and her sisters all received loyal love and support from Genie. Those of us who worked with Genie admired her determination to ‘be there’ for her family. Genie had a great gift for friendship. She always had a funny story to tell, frequently at her own expense. She gave time to friendship. She was a great coffee drinker and a regular walker and gym

attender. For Genie, these activities were mainly about extending her circle of friends. Genie was always ready to slip into her role as nurse with her friends. It was not unusual for her to help young mothers in the neighbourhood with the occasional bit of practical advice on baby care. She was a good neighbour. Some of her neighbours were elderly and Genie took it on herself to keep an unobtrusive eye on their well-being. The street parties she helped organise at Christmas time were a great pleasure to her. Genie’s life was cut short too soon but it was a wonderful life. She was happy in her family life and her professional life. She was successful in both because she infused her professional life with the warmth and pleasure she gained from her family. In return, the confidence and competence she gained from a successful professional life made her a much-loved and respected wife, mother, neighbour, midwife/nurse and friend. n By midwives from RPA Women and Babies

A compassionate nurse

LESLEY A NOLAN-O’NEILE 1953-2007 esley was born in Manilla NSW in 1953, one of eight children, to Edna and William Nolan. Lesley first attended school at Mumbil, then later at Orange and Adelong in NSW.


In 1972 she began her nurses’ training at Sydney Hospital, graduating in 1975. She spent time gathering varied nursing experience at several hospitals from 1976 to 1979, and then went on to further study to gain a nursing certificate in mental health at Lidcombe Hospital. In 1979, her desire to return to a country lifestyle led Lesley to obtain work at David Berry Hospital, Berry NSW. From 1985 to 1989, she held the position of NUM, also serving as relief in the role of Acting Director of Nursing. In 1989, due to her mother’s increasingly ill health, Lesley relocated to Sydney, working at Blacktown Hospital rehabilitation unit. Here she took on the role of Clinical Co-ordinator and then the role of Acting Nurse Unit Manager. Lesley also co-authored,

together with Nages Negaratnam and Gary Cheuk, the article ‘Acute confusional state in patients with and without dementia’, in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics 29 (1999) 139-147. Lesley then moved onto the position of Senior RN at Hawkesbury Hospital to be closer to home. At Hawkesbury Hospital, Lesley found herself part of a wonderful team in the Marie Lock Ward. She was a caring and compassionate member of staff. Lesley’s sudden passing left Marie Lock staff devastated. They formed a guard of honour at Lesley’s home and also at the Crematorium. Lesley is survived by her brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. n By Susanne Nolan, sister of Lesley Nolan-O’Neile. THE LAMP APRIL 2008 39



Book me Intravenous Medications: A Handbook for Nurses and Health Professionals (24th edition) by Betty L. Gahart and Adrienne R. Nazareno, Elsevier Mosby, RRP $69.00 : ISBN 978-0-323-04553-7 Intravenous Medications handbook presents information on over 350 intravenous drugs, providing dosing guidelines, indications and uses, generic and trade names, infusion rates, side effects, precautions, and antidotes. Updated annually, this handbook has been the bestselling IV drug reference for 35 years.

Child, Youth and Family Health: Strengthening Communities by Margaret Barnes and Jennifer Rowe, Churchill Livingstone (available through Elsevier Australia), RRP $49.95 : ISBN 978-0-7295-3799-5 Child, Youth and Family Health aims to analyse child and family health and nursing within environmental, social, economic, and political contexts. It is structured in sections and takes a critical inquiry approach to encourage and facilitate analysis and critique of policy,


practice and evidence. It is client-focused, change-focused and works from practice outward to consider education, service planning, leadership and strategy as they effect practice.

General Anatomy: Principles and Applications by Norman Eizenberg, Christopher Briggs, Craig Adams and Gerard Ahern, McGraw-Hill Medical, RRP $69.95 : ISBN 978-0-0701-3467-6 General Anatomy Principles and Applications is a practically orientated book to introduce general anatomy concepts to medical, nursing and allied health students. The book integrates both regions and systems in a concise and easily understandable text and provides practitioners with a valuable aid to refresh their anatomical knowledge or find a pathway to new concepts and advances in anatomy.

Palliative Care and Aged Care: A Guide to Practice by Rosalie Hudson and Margaret O’Connor, Ausmed Publications, RRP $79.95 : ISBN 978-0-97751534-9 Palliative Care and Aged Care provides a comprehensive guide to practical care strategies for the issues



How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman, M.D., Scribe Publishing, RRP $32.95 : ISBN 9781921215698 How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman takes an insider’s look at what doctors are doing right and what they’re doing wrong. It’s a comprehensive inquiry into whether doctors are really looking out for the best interests of the patient, and contains dozens of examples where doctors aren’t always the hero. How Doctors Think provides an insider’s perspective on the decision-making process of many doctors, and how to take care of your health and safety by educating yourself after a diagnosis, and researching as much as possible before spending thousands of dollars on treatment. PUBLISHER’S WEBSITES • Scribe Publishing: • McGraw-Hill: • Elsevier Australia: 40 THE LAMP APRIL 2008

WHERE TO GET THIS MONTH’S NEW RELEASES These books are all available on order through the publisher or your local bookshop. Members of the NSWNA can borrow any of these books and more from our Records and Information Centre. For borrowing information, contact Jeannette Bromfield, 8595 2175, or Cathy Matias, 8595 2121, Reviews by NSWNA librarian, Jeannette Bromfield.

faced by older people towards the end of life. The authors take into consideration the broader social and ethical contexts of such care provision, as well as addressing the specific needs of individuals, their families, and the staff who provide care. This is not just a book about care for older people who are dying, but about care for older people who are living until they die.

Partnerships in Community Mental Health Nursing and Dementia Care: Practice Perspectives edited by John Keady, Charlotte L. Clarke and Sean Page, McGraw-Hill Publishers, RRP $70.00 : ISBN 978-0-335-21581-2 This book enhances the link between theory and practice, providing a rounded and evidence-based account of the complexity, breadth and diversity of community mental health nursing practice in dementia care. It includes coverage of key contemporary issues such as service-user involvement, nurse prescribing, younger people with dementia, social exclusion and vulnerability. Partnerships in Community Mental Health Nursing and Dementia Care: Practice Perspectives is important reading for students of dementia care at all levels. It is also of relevance to professionals within the field of community mental health nursing and all other mental health or gerontology related areas. n


Health Care Education

12 & 13 June 2008 15 & 16 May 2008


25 & 26 August 2008



$5.50 per chapter To register contact:

Now inclu de Masters & s PhD Thesi s

Tel: (03) 9375 7311 Fax: (03) 9375 7299 Ausmed Conferences, PO Box 4086, Melbourne University, Parkville, Vic 3052 All prices include GST. Ausmed accepts Visa & Mastercard. Credit Card banking fees apply: $5 per study day / $7 per national conference

Build-a-BookTM -- Get Paid for YOUR Writing Share al YOUR vit e g d knowle

We seek: PhD/Masters Thesis; Research Papers; Videos and Audio Lectures; Educational Modules & any other intellectual property useful to nurses and midwives.

For more information visit: THE LAMP APRIL 2008 41

o Good investment returns o Profits go to members o Low fees o Great value insurance o Choice of investments o Extra benefits for members

For quality super contact HIP: 1300 654 099 This information from Health Industry Plan is general only. It is not specific to your personal financial situation, objectives or needs. Get the facts from or talk to a financial advisor before making any super decisions. The Trustee of HIP is Private Hospitals Superannuation Pty Ltd ABN 59 006 792 749, AFSL 247063.

theHIP Health Industry Plan

alternative quality super for the health industry


Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s premier Aged & Health Care Expo for CEOs, Managers, Clinicians, Health Professionals, Carers & Staff. Free attendance, register on line now at: For all enquiries regarding exhibiting at or attending Carex 2008, contact: Wayne Woff (Manager, Total Aged Services) 03 9571 5606 / 0422 484 209 E: melbourne




April 16 & 17

May 28 & 29

July 9 & 10


Proudly sponsored by:


Proudly supported by:




Nursing online g This month The Lamp begins a review of original research and scholarly papers about nursing. We begin with a selection of papers available on the Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing website (, produced by the ANF. The impact of shiftwork on people’s daily health habits and adverse health outcomes By Isabella Zhao, RN, BN (Hons), School of Nursing, The University of Queensland, Australia; and Catherine Turner, RN, BA, Grad Dip Ed, MN, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Nursing, The University of Queensland, Australia. This paper reviews the published scientific literature for studies that analyse the association between shiftwork and people’s daily health habits as measured by diet, exercise, smoking or alcohol consumption and adverse health outcomes such as obesity. The paper finds that shiftwork impacts negatively on daily health habits and can lead to adverse health outcomes such as a poor diet, smoking and becoming overweight. It concludes that, with a majority of Australian health care workers (in particular nurses) working rotating shifts, a greater understanding of the impact of shiftwork on our health care workforce is needed. c AJAN_25-3_Turner.pdf

Income inequality and health status – a nursing issue Peter Massey, RN, Grad Cert PH, Clinical Associate College of Nursing, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Program Manager Health Protection, Hunter New England Area Health Service, David Durrheim, BM, BS, Dip Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Dip Community Health, Masters Public Health and Tropical Medicine, DrPubHlth, Fellow Australasian College of Tropical Medicine, Fellow Faculty Travel Medicine, Fellow Australasian Faculty Public Health Medicine, Service Director Health Protection, Hunter New England Area Health Service, The future legitimacy and success of public health nursing depends on recognizing and appropriately addressing the social, economic and political determinants in the population served. There is an incontrovertible association between population health status, absolute income levels and income inequality. Income differentials

must be a fundamental consideration when planning and delivering nursing services according to the authors. The aim of the paper was to review the association between income inequality and health status, and consider an appropriate nursing response. c AJAN_25-2_Massey.pdf

Determinants of burnout among public hospital nurses By Dr Rebecca Spooner-Lane, B.Beh.Sci, BA(Hons), PhD, Lecturer, School of Learning and Professional Studies, Queensland University of Technology; and Professor Wendy Patton, B.Ed, BA(Hons), PhD, MAPsS, Head of School, School of Learning and Professional Studies, Queensland University of Technology. This study extends our knowledge of the main determinants of burnout among nurses working in public hospitals and investigates the impact of work support on the stress-burnout relationship. Overall, nurses reported moderate levels of burnout – emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation, and reduced personal accomplishment. The authors argue the results highlight the need for organisational interventions to reduce the workload placed on nurses. c Vol25.1-1.pdf

Returning to nursing after a career break: elements of successful re-entry By Janet Long, RN, BSc (Hons), Grad Cert Nurs (Clinical Studies), MRCNA, Eye Outpatients and Emergency, Sydney Hospital and Sydney Eye Hospital; and Sandra West, RN, CM, Int. Care Cert, BSc, PhD, MRCNA, Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sydney. The aim of this paper was to survey the literature to identify the special needs of the re-entry RN and suggest elements of

a successful re-entry recruitment, training and retention policy. The typical re-entry RN is a 40year-old female with school-aged children. The authors say she may be unaware of re-entry opportunities in her area. She wants family-friendly shifts and an acknowledgement of family responsibilities. She wants a paid onthe-job refresher course that is relevant and that guarantees future employment as well as ongoing support to help over come anxiety and loss of confidence. c Vol25.1-7.pdf

Promoting quality care for older people in meal management: whose responsibility is it? By Julie Crack, RN, BN, MCN, Aged Care Consultant, The Park Group, Launceston, Tasmania; and Geoff Crack, RN, RM, BA (Hons), Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Tasmania The authors examine the role of registered nurses and allied health workers in meal management, assessment, safe environment and care planning for older people in residential aged care. They argue that nurses and carers are often the first to observe and put into place strategies to prevent choking in residents with swallowing difficulties. Coroners have raised issues with regard to the role of the RN, resident autonomy and the effectiveness of speech pathologist assessments in avoiding incidents that compromise resident’s health and well being. In the area of meal management, nurses are struggling to have their expertise and knowledge recognised and need to develop strategies to articulate and demonstrate their contribution to meal management. n c Vol25.1-12.pdf THE LAMP APRIL 2008 43

The Colle

ge of Nursi


hourss!! CPD hours!

Continuin Develop g Professiona l ment Ha ndbook JANUAR Y – JUN E 2008








P CPD hours! E¬O F¬ . U


CRoSSWoRD Test your knowledge in this month’s crossword.




















Arteries supplying blood to the heart (8) Vomiting (6) The food someone eats (4) A blood clot (8) The period between two contractions of the heart (8) Secreted by the salivary glands (6) Level of glucose in the blood, abbrev (1.1.1.) Conceals (5) Assistant nurse, abbrev (1.1.1.) What is taken in a hernioplasty (6)

17. 18. 19.





14. 16.




9. 10. 11. 12.






21. Someone with a condition leading to too much sugar in the blood (8) 23. Remove a limb (8) 26. Ordinary (6) 27. A professional dealing with communication disorders, ... pathologist (6) 28. Dislike, distaste (8) s



Type of disease that must be reported to authorities (10) A steroid hormone (8) A permanent mark on the skin (6) Abnormal sac (4)

2. 3. 4.

5. 6. 7.

Death of tissue (8) Relating to the skin (6) Intensive care for babies, abbrev ( 13. Finished (5) 15. Equipment that gives oxygen (10) 17. Migraine (8) 18. A swelling in an artery (8) 20. Feeling of sickness (6) 22. Snoring, sleep …… (6) 24. Diagrams or plans showing location (4) 25. Test, assessment (4) Solution page 47 THE LAMP APRIL 2008 45

Leadership in Community Nursing We are proud to announce sponsorship of a Community Nurse To attend & present their winning abstract to the

6th Biennial Joanna Briggs Colloquium & 12 th International Nursing Research Conference in Cordoba Spain 12-15 November 2008 Interested? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; For more details contact Anna Shepherd

Judging for this competition closes â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Friday 2nd May 2008 Accredited 1994- to 2009


9264 4555


NURSE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM Royal College of Nursing, Australia (RCNA) as the Fund Administrator is seeking applications from eligible nurses and midwives for scholarships under the Nurse Scholarship Program: Continuing Professional Education Scheme for Rural and Remote Nurses and National Nurse Re-entry Scheme.

CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION SCHEME FOR RURAL AND REMOTE NURSES This Scheme is available for Registered Nurses and Midwives and Enrolled Nurses to undertake postgraduate Continuing Professional Education (CPE) courses and for attendance at conferences (as presenters or delegates) held within Australia. Scholarships are worth up to $10,000 each for up to two years of study. Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents who have a current practising certificate and they must be able to demonstrate that they are practising in a rural or remote area of Australia.

NATIONAL NURSE RE-ENTRY SCHEME This Scheme is for Registered Nurses and Midwives and Enrolled Nurses whose registration has lapsed and/or have not practised for five years or more. This is a national program and targets all nurses including rural and metropolitan applicants. Scholarships are worth up to $6,000 each for up to two years of study and are aimed at applicants intending to undertake, or who are currently undertaking, an accredited or approved Australian nursing program or course that will enable them to re-enter the nursing/midwifery workforce in an Australian state or territory.

These Schemes open on 1 March 2008 and close on 25 April 2008. For further information about these scholarships please visit the RCNA website scholarships.php or phone the free call number 1800 11 72 62 (Continuing Professional Education Scheme for Rural and Remote Nurses) and 1800 11 22 40 (National Nurse Re-entry Scheme).


Diary Dates

DIARY DATES Conferences, seminars, meetings SYDNEY, HUNTER & ILLAWARRA Introduction to Renal Nursing 3 & 10 April, 8.30am–4.30pm, Riverside Rm, Concord Hosp. Medical Library. Cost: SSWAHS free or $50/day. Contact: Sue Ward, 9767 6347, The Management of Adult Diabetes 4 April, Comfort Inn Cambridge. Cost $352. Contact: (03) 9375 7311 or email Pre & Post Natal Continence Care ‘What to Do about the 1 in 3?‘ 4 April, St George Leagues Club. Contact: Rhonda Brownlow, 9534 2555, Rhonda. Enrolled Nurse Professional Day 5 April, Moree Services Club. Cost $20 Contact: Roz Norman, 6761 7102 NSW Grandparenting Forum 7–8 April, Wesley Centre, 220 Pitt St. Contact: or call 8270 2154 Australian Womens Health Nurses Association – 21st Celebration 9–11 April, Carrington Hotel, Katoomba Cost: members $220, non-members $250 (inc. dinner). Contact: Bernadeta Cansdell, 4751 0100/ 0411 107 423, Anniversary Dinner, 10 April, 6.30 pm. Cost: $60. RSVP by 2 April. Contact: Jacqui Soccio, 4683 6000

SWAHS 2nd Annual Stroke Professional Development Day 16 May, Blacktown Hospital, 9am–4.30pm. Cost: free. Contact: Camelia Burdusel, 9881 7061, Laser Safety Seminar – LSO training 16–17 May, Royal Newcastle Centre, Rankin Park. Cost: $330. Contact: Neridah Thomson, 4922 3425/ Australian Dermatology Nurses’ Association 7th National Conference 16–17 May, Darling Harbour Convention Ctr. Contact: Jan Riley, 6682 5145, ‘How Drugs Work‘ refresher study days for nurses 20–21 May, Comfort Inn Cambridge Cost: $352. Contact: (03) 9375 7311 Cardiovascular CT at Concord Conf. 23–25 May, Grand Pavilion, Rosehill Gardens Event Centre. Contact: Tara Montgomery, 9518 7725, taram@, Surgical Symposium 23 May, Lowenthal Auditorium, Westmead Hospital. Cost $99 incl. GST. Info: Dee Macguire, 9845 5555 pg 08968/ Amanda O’Regan, 9845 5555 pg 27028 Auburn Hospital – 100 years Celebration Dinner 24 May, Triple Crown Ballroom Rydges Parramatta. Payment by 1 April Contact: Rita, 0408 534 741,

Deniliquin Hosp. – 150 Years Celebration 11–13 April. Contact: Elsa Bolton, (03) 5881 3235/ Bobby Murphy (03) 5881 4969,

CAREX 2008 (Sydney) 28–29 May, 9.30am–4pm, Rosehill Racecourse. Free admission & free workshops Contact: Wayne Woff, (03) 9571 5606,

SESIAHS ’Connecting with Neuroscience’ Conference 18 April, St. George Hospital, Kogarah. Cost: $44-$55. Contact: Roslyn Millar, 9113 3559/ Jo McLoughlin, 0422 418 255,

’Nurses Who Care – Dare’ Conference 29 May, Kerry Packer Educ. Ctr, RPA Hosp. Contact: Lynn Jones, 9515 7278,

RNSH Neuroscience Symposium Conf. 2 May, North Sydney Harbourview Hotel, 8am–4.30pm Cost: $80 earlybird/ $95 after 18 April. Contact: Nicki Pereira CNE, 9926 8074, International Nurses’ Day 2008 12 May 2008 ACSA National Community Care Conference 14–16 May, Sydney Convention Centre Contact: ACS Events, 8754 0400

Clinical Nurse Consultants Assoc. Development Day 20 June, Burwood RSL Club. Contact: CNCAN office, 9745 9614, Renal Society of Australasia (RSA) National Conference 26–28 June, Sydney Convention Centre Contact:, ’Bones on the Beach’ Wollongong Orthopaedic Conference 5 July. Cost: $88 early bird. Contact: Fiona Roberts, 4222 5390,

Diary Dates is a free service for members. Please send the diary dates details, in the same format used here – event, date, venue, contact details, via email, fax, mail and the web before the 5th of the month prior, for example: 5th of August for September Lamp. Send information to: Editorial Enquiries Email: Fax: 9550 3667 PO Box 40 Camperdown NSW 1450 Please double-check all information sent is correct. The Lamp cannot guarantee that the issue will always be mailed in time for the listed event.

Due to high demands on the page, some dates too close to publication or too far in the future may be cut. Only Diary Dates with an advised date and contact person will be published. Diary Dates are also on the web – Special Interest Groups Special Interest Groups is now part of Diary Dates. If you are a special interest group, you now must send information about your event as above.

Send us your snaps If you’re having a reunion, send us some photos and any information from the night, and we’ll try to publish them.

INTERSTATE AND OVERSEAS Fairymeadow. Cost: $85pp. Contact: National Conf. on Anxiety & Depression 3 – 4 April, Melbourne. 31 speakers led by Prof. Paul Salkovskis, world expert on OCD. Contact: CAREX 2008 (Melbourne) 16–17 April, 9.30am–4pm, Caulfield Racecourse. Free admission & free workshops. Contact: Wayne Woff, (03) 9571 5606, 4th International Conference in Primary Health Care 17–19 April, Melbourne Grand Hyatt. Cost: $920. Contact: (07) 3854 1611, ANF Vic: End of Life Decisions Forum 18 April, Hotel Ibis, Melbourne Contact: Elaine Toma, (03) 9275-9333 10th International Paediatric & Child Health Nursing Conf. – Darwin 30 April – 2 May, Darwin Entertainment Centre. Cost: $770. Contact: (07) 3858 5503, 5th Biennial National Medicines Symposium, Canberra 14–16 May, National Convention Centre, Contact: Australian College of Operating Room Nurses (ACORN) Conference Between the Flags. 21–24 May, Gold Coast Convention Centre, Queensland Contact: 11th Case Management Society of Australia National Conference 12–13 June, Sofitel, Melbourne. Info: (03) 9658-2399,

Glen Barrington, 0402 000 841, glen. Western Suburbs Hospital Trained Nurses Assoc. Reunion & Luncheon 31 May, 12 Noon, Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club. Contact: Lesley Potter, 9349 8387,

Other notices Nurses Christian Fellowship • Fellowship Lunch, 12 April, Mowll Village, Castle Hill. Contact: Jane, 9449 4868 • Professional Breakfast, 3 May, 9am, Ken Duncan Gallery, Erina Park. Contact: Jane 9449 4868 • ’The Light Still Shines in a Suffering World’ Conference, 14 Nov, 9am, St James Church Turramurra. Contact Margaret, 0407 110 538 Union Aid Abroad – Call For Volunteers Do you have some spare time? Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA needs your assistance with events, including conferences and fundraising and data entry in our Sydney office. Contact: Antoinette Abboud, 9264 9343, Kenmore Hosp. Museum Exhibition, Goulburn – ’Kenmore and War: WWI & WWII’. Open every weekends from 8 March–27 April, 10am–4pm / by appointment. Historical tours at 11am & 2pm. Admission tours: gold coin donation. Contact: Leoné Morgan, 0438 212 587, 4821 2587,

Crossword solution

Reunions Royal Prince Henry Hospital (April 1968 Group) – 40 Year Reunion 25 April. Venue: TBA Contact: Gayle Hartley, 4360 1007, Illawarra International Nurses’ Day Formal Ball 9 May, 6pm – midnight, Fraternity Club, THE LAMP APRIL 2008 47



Your retirement planners

Better super = Better retirement? Do your numbers add up?

Department of Health and Community Services Central Australia Remote Health – Alice Springs Region Nurse 4 ($70,598-$75,846)+ Benefits. Free accommodation Nurse 5 ($77,742-$81,006)+ Benefits. Free accomodation Exciting Opportunities exist for Registered Nurses and Midwives to work in Central Australia and the Barkly area in the diverse and challenging field of Remote Area Nursing. We are seeking motivated, professional nurses from a variety of backgrounds to join some of our 25 community based health centre teams. Experienced Remote Area Nurses are also sought for upcoming vacancies as Health Centre Managers. Central Australian Remote Health provides comprehensive Primary Health Care Services through a dynamic multidisciplinary team approach that includes Nursing, Aboriginal Health Workers, Medical, Specialist and Allied Health services. The Health Centre teams range in size from 1 Remote Area Nurse to teams of 5 remote area nurses delivering health services which reflect: • Child Maternal and Women’s Health • Men’s Health • Acute Care Management • Chronic Disease Management • Program development • A Primary Health Care Context of educational, promotional and preventative activities. An induction program will be available on commencement of employment including access to Professional Development opportunities relevant to remote area practice. Applicants must have a genuine interest in Indigenous Health with a focus on Primary Health Care and are highly motivated, mature, flexible and adaptable.

ENQUIRIES SHOULD BE DIRECTED to the Nursing Coordinator, Central Australia Remote Health on 8951 7586 or email or the Nursing and Midwifery Recruitment officer 48 THE LAMP APRIL 2008 FREECALL1800000648

If you are planning to retire in the next one to two years, ask yourself these questions:

• Do you know how the Better Super changes will affect your plans? • Are you maximising your defined benefit superannuation? • How are you going to replace your pay packet in retirement?

Need answers? With more than 17 years experience providing retirement planning advice to NSW public sector employees, we can help you with answers and the decision support you need.

Call State Super Financial Services today on 1800 620 305 or visit our website to find out how we can help you plan your retirement. This information is of a general nature only, is not comprehensive and is not specific to your personal circumstances or needs. State Super Financial Services Australia Limited ABN 86 003 742 756 AFS Licence 238430 (TL 11/07)

ATTENTION Enrolled Nurses


UPGRADE YOUR SKILLS TAFE NSW – Northern Sydney Institute in partnership with the AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY

Boost your skills with a Statement of Attainment in Training and Assessment (TAA) The TAA offers registered nurses national skills for training and assessing in the workplace. The course provides:

TAFE NSW – Northern Sydney Institute (NSI) and the Australian Catholic University (ACU) have joined forces to develop a Bridging Program for Enrolled Nurses. Completion of the Program allows enrolled nurses to qualify for enrolment in the second year of the Bachelor of Nursing Degree at ACU.

The bridging program of 120 hours will run one day per week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday). Commences from Monday 21 July 2008 at North Sydney College with some laboratory sessions programed for ACU. For further information call (02) 9942 0111 or go to

Email: TAFE NSW – Northern Sydney Institute, North Sydney College, 213 Pacific Highway, St Leonards ASK FOR THE BRIDGING PROGRAM INFORMATION PACK

• nationally recognised accredited training • workshop and flexible delivery • skills recognition • development and validation of a clinical nursing assessment tool. Course commences 10 May 2008 For further information call 9448 4568


) 131 674

Qualifications for PCAs and AINs

Great legal advice for Nurses

Certificate III and IV in Aged Care

Maurice Blackburn are proud to be the lawyers for the New South Wales Nurses’ Association.

Gain recognition for your skills and experience and meet current accreditation requirements. Our Certificate III in Aged Care is offered to PCAs and AINs by assessment – you could attain your qualification in just a few weeks, at a discounted rate. The program is open to individuals, and as a traineeship scheme to organisations. Graduates can then proceed to our Certificate IV in Aged Care course.

Call 1300 366 044 or visit

Free legal advice#


Conditions apply

Call the Association information line on 1300 367 962 Maurice Blackburn has offices in: Sydney T (02) 9261 1488

Newcastle T (02) 4953 9500

New offices in: Parramatta T (02) 9806 7222

Canberra T (02) 6248 9122

Visiting Offices Camperdown T (02) 9261 1488

Wollongong T (02) 9261 1488

Appointments for regional members can also be arranged. RTO provider number 90991 THE LAMP APRIL 2008 49


YES? â&#x20AC;¦then YOU need a copy of the:  National Competency Standards  Code of Professional Conduct  Code of Ethics To download free copies of these and other ANMC publications, as well as keeping up to date on the work of ANMC, visit our website or call for more info:  02 6257 7960 â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;FACILITATING A NATIONAL APPROACH TO NURSING AND MIDWIFERY REGULATIONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;

Clever Carts to help Clever Nurses! clax folding trolley





20 OFF

Mention this advert and save!

350%2 ,)'(4 7%)'(4

1000â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more products at #!,,./74//2$%2 MOORE EQUIPMENT  Unit 17, 102-112 Edinburgh Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204 P.O. Box 3016 Marrickville NSW 2204 Ph: 02 9519 5540 Fax: 02 9519 3795


You take care of us. So we’ll take care of you.

FREE Nurse’s Protection Pack: With every car sold. Bring this advert with you.

Window tint • Headlight protectors • Floor Mats • Weathershields

6 year warranty on all new vehicles.

Easy Finance • Fast Approvals • Ask for an obligation-free assessment today. # $ Fiesta 16490 From


# $ Focus 19990 From


Hills Ford 64-72 Pacific Highway Hornsby

Your independent Ford Dealer.

9372 3000

* * $ $ Mazda3 18990 Mazda2 16500 From


Hornsby Mazda

64-72 Pacific Highway Hornsby

1800 643 091

*Price plus $1895 dealer charges plus Govt charges. †3 years factory warranty plus a further 3 years dealer warranty, conditions apply. #Offers end while stocks last.





VISIT NORTHSIDE EUROPEAN TODAY *Price plus $1895 dealer charges plus Govt charges.

NORTHSIDE EUROPEAN HORNSBY 53 Pacific Highway. Phone 9487 4344. Greg Stanley 0400 330 656

MD 11283 X24088


Home loans created for members, not customers. (Now that’s something to put a smile on your face.)

As a member of the NSWNA, you’re eligible for a Super Members Home Loan that could save you thousands over the life of your loan. Through your union membership, you’ll have access to great low cost features including: • A ‘member only’ discounted rate • No application fees • No ongoing monthly fees

• No fees to split, fix or top up your loan • Free redraw • And you can borrow up to 95%

To find out more call us on 1300 309 374 or visit Applications are subject to credit approval. Fees and charges apply. Terms and conditions available on request. Members Equity Bank Pty Ltd ABN 56 070 887 679. 79292/0108


The Lamp April 2008