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lamp the

magazine of the NSW Nurses’ Association

volume 67 no.3 April 2010


PRESSURE Print Post Approved: PP241437/00033

Western Sydney nurses fight staffing crisis

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Cover story Intolerable pressure: Western Sydney nurses fight staffing crisis 14

lamp the

magazine of the NSW Nurses’ Association

volume 67 no.3 April 2010

12 14 15 16 20 22


PRESSURE Western Sydney nurses fight staffing crisis

Intolerable pressure Staff freeze hits new graduates Locals turn out for Mountains nurses An easier life with nurse ratios Vote now for better pay and safe staffing Proposed claim for Campaign 2010


Print Post Approved: PP241437/00033

Debra Smith, Secretary, NSWNA Auburn Hospital Branch. Photography by Fiora Sacco

News in brief

Professional issues

8 8

32 More clarification needed before new rostering system finalised 33 National registration update 33 Get ready for Professional Day 2010

8 9 9 9 10 10 10 11

Women flock to work in mining sector Senate passes nursing and midwifery reforms Sex discrimination has no place at work Majority of Australians support rise in super contributions Rudd honours Centaur victims Indonesian nurses given guiding hand Poor hand hygiene may have led to five deaths Filipino health workers ‘subject to torture’ Nurses call for measures on alcoholrelated crime Tongan nurse is local hero

NSWNA matters 39 Stephen recruited 40 members … and won a fabulous trip to Fiji 40 NSWNA branch news

Lifestyle 42 Movie reviews


NSWNA education program

44 Katalin (Kathy) Parker: a spirited activist

11 What’s on

Regular columns



24 Rudd’s big bang hospital reform 26 Abbott’s regressive health plan

6 35 36 38 45 47 48

Because we care 28 TV ad spreads aged care message

Occupational health and safety 30 Skull fractured in Forensic Hospital assault

Editorial by Brett Holmes Your letters to The Lamp Ask Judith Nurses online Nursing research online Books Our nursing crossword Diary dates

Competition 49 Win tickets to West Side Story

Industrial issues 31 Hospital closures leave staff in the lurch

Special offers 42 Win 100 double passes to previews of The Concert and 50 double passes to Micmacs





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 NSWNA COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Noel Hester T 8595 2153 NSWNA COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT Laura McDonald T 8595 1258 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 Sirius Communications T 9560 1223 W PRESS RELEASES Send your press releases to: T 9550 3667 E THE LAMP EDITORIAL COMMITTEE Brett Holmes, NSWNA General Secretary Judith Kiejda, NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Coral Levett, NSWNA President John Lyons, Baradine MPS Roz Norman, Tamworth Base Hospital Elsie May Henson, Barraba Multi Purpose Service Peg Hibbert, Hornsby & Ku-Ring-Gai Hospital Michelle Cashman, Long Jetty Continuing Care 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 THE LAMP ISSN: 0047-3936 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. 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. Professional members can subscribe to the magazine at a reduced rate of $50. Individuals $73, Institutions $120, Overseas $130.

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Here’s how you can win • cancel your payroll deductions and start paying your fees through direct debit and you will go in the lucky draw and/or • 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 • 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.


Direct debit is not only the easiest and most convenient way to pay your membership, but switching over could win you a luxury holiday! Don’t risk your membership lapsing from changing workplaces. With direct debit you are always protected on the job. 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. 4 THE LAMP APRIL 2010

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Brave move on health but more restructure turmoil g Kevin Rudd is brave and right to take responsibility for funding the lion’s share of the public health system but yet another restructure at the coalface is good reason for trepidation.


he Federal Government’s National Health Reform Plan (see p.24) is politics on a big canvas. It is up there with the introduction of Medicare. As with anything on this scale we need to hold off on rushing to judgement, all the more so when there is a lot of detail yet to be announced. The plan’s broad brush strokes have merit, particularly the commitment by the Federal Government to fund 60% of public health expenditure. Over the years, the percentage of funding coming from the Commonwealth had shrunk to 35% and this has underpinned the chronic underfunding of the system. There is now some well-needed clarity about where responsibility for funding lies. When it comes to detail there are many questions to be answered and concerns to be dispelled. The Federal Government’s mantra for its reform is ‘funded nationally, run locally’ – a very catchy and appealing slogan. At the heart of its plan are local health networks, which bring together small groups of hospitals in a local area that are run by local professionals with local knowledge. All fine in theory. Our concern is that there will not be the economies of scale and efficiencies that come with a fully integrated health system. That is not to defend the current area health services, which are obviously too big and remote from community needs. But we are yet to be convinced that these small networks will be able to deliver the necessary breadth of service provision. A key ingredient of the reform is how the funding is distributed through an ‘efficient

price’ for the provision of services. The efficient price is a mechanism of accountability to ensure that Commonwealth money is spent on health care in an efficient and quantifiable way.

Whatever the merits or pitfalls of the plan, it does mean we are in for another restructure and that is a daunting thought. The calculation of this efficient price will be critical to the success or failure of the whole health reform. Patients stay in hospital because they need nursing care. Nurses are by far the largest part of the hospital workforce and wages budget. The inclusion of the true cost of nursing care, including appropriate

numbers and skill mix, into the efficient price will be absolutely vital if this plan is to succeed. Kevin Rudd’s plan is as yet light on detail on how industrial issues and bargaining will fit into the new structure. The states still retain responsibility for enterprise bargaining. While there is more clarity about overall funding it gets a bit murkier when it comes to the funding of wages. Our fear is that we will have a similar situation to aged care where the Federal Government says there is adequate funding for fair wages, and the employers say there isn’t. In other words, another form of the blame game. Whatever the merits or pitfalls of the plan, it does mean we are in for another restructure and that is a daunting thought. There are many nurses out there in the public system who will be going through their third or fourth restructure. They are entitled to feel a certain sense of restructure fatigue.

Our campaign for staffing numbers and skill mix is linked to reform Kevin Rudd’s massive reform gives context and urgency to our campaign to win mandated minimum staffing numbers. How patient safety and the cost of nursing are factored into the ‘efficient price’ is a big unknown. The existence of enforceable staffing numbers and skill mix could be a bottom line in calculating the cost of nursing in any ‘efficient price’ of service provision. I believe it will also be necessary to have a nursing presence on the commission that sets the efficient price to ensure that the cost of nursing is factored in.n THE LAMP APRIL 2010 5



Rural nurses support each other When you think of the NCAHS, you think of the all of the problems we have faced in the past several years and still face today – from staffing, or lack thereof, to skill mix, access block, lack of appropriate funding – the list goes on. At Kempsey District Hospital things are no different. We continue to fight for what we believe in and that is safe patient care and the chance to nurse as we’ve been taught. Some of my friends in the city ask me why I would want to work in a place like Kempsey. Yes, rural nursing has its problems but I wouldn’t work in the big smoke for quids. One of the strengths of our hospital is that we all know each other and we do our best to help each other. We also know our patients and this brings home to us every day the need to do the best that we can for each of them. We serve our community with dedication, professionalism and often with humour. This week there was no humour because we lost one of our finest to cancer – Vicki Underhill. I am writing this letter because I want to say how proud I am of the staff at Kempsey, at the way they continued on with their work even through their grief. When we first found out that Vicki was ill, one of our employees,

LETTER of the month Sharon Roser, organised for a quilt to be made and many colleagues, friends and family contributed a little square. We might be in the middle of a campaign to get more nurses in our ED but we took the time to support one of our own. This is what rural nursing is about and this support of each other is what makes rural nursing special. Jennifer Clarke Kempsey District Hospital Jennifer Clarke won the prize for this month’s letter of the month, a $50 Coles Myer voucher.

The letter judged the best each month will be awardeda $50 Coles Myer voucher, courtesy of Medicraft Hill-Rom. For details on the range of hospital beds, trolleys, mattress & care solutions, please visit or call (02) 9569 0255 *Proudly Australian Made*

Wayne Lynch

Learning goes both ways In the March issue of The Lamp, Jacob Howell asked us ‘not to eat our young’, in response to Pamela Griffith’s letter ‘Supervising students requires significant extra work for nurses’ in the February issue. It’s time for me to come out: I’m a very rare dinosaur. Smack-dab in the summer of love in 1968 (halcyon days with tolerable hospital and community occupancy, acuity and staffing levels) I commenced three-year Psychiatric (then Mental) Nursing Certificate hospital training. Educators taught and continue to teach us well, but everybody learns on the job, picking up good and bad habits from other clinicians. University-trained nurses suffer, I think, from lack of clinical placements, therefore what little they have should be rich and meaningful. Supervising UTS and UTAS nursing students has meant extra work for me. Having students observe me closely meant teaching and modelling best practice behaviour, since they are likely to replicate anything done or said. At the same time, it’s been a pleasure meeting fine young women and men, and finding that each one of them had something to teach me. If I am a dinosaur, I’m probably a vegetarian Camptosaurus. They didn’t eat their young. Nor should we. Wayne Lynch, RN Concord Hospital

Every letter published receives a 6 month weekend subscription to the Herald, valued at over $114!

Pictured is Sharon Roser, the nurse who organised the making of the quilt in memory of Vicki Underhill, who died of cancer. 6 THE LAMP APRIL 2010

Subscribe to the Herald today to save 37% off the newsstand price and enjoy the convenience of the paper delivered to your home each morning. Visit www.subscribe. for more details.

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.

Charlotte Rogers

Problems with handover Legally nurses are obliged to walk through the ward and give the handover report outside the patients’ rooms or even at the foot of the patients’ beds, referring to the information from their printed and handwritten history. This process, however, flies in the face of all medical policies concerning confidentiality when fellow patients, visitors and un-involved staff members are naturally privy to intimate details such as diagnosis, test results and private nursing comments about their patients’ behaviour and social situations. Most nurses in my hospital find such legally required handovers repugnant and would much prefer to do handover in a safe space, out of earshot. This is a most controversial yet binding law according to the Garling Report and it is surprising that more patients have not complained. Charlotte Rogers, RN Bellingen Health Campus Editor’s Response: There is no legal obligation to hold handover while walking through the ward. In September 2009, NSW Health issued a policy directive outlining the key principles for clinical handover. These include a ‘handover place’, which is ‘preferably in the patient’s presence’. It is a recommendation from Garling that clinical handover should occur in the presence of the patient – it is not a binding law.

More support is needed for trainee EENs I am writing to express my feelings about the new Enrolled Endorsed Division 2 Nursing course conducted through TAFE. I started off as an AiN in a public facility two years ago. I am a fast learner and always wanted to do nursing but due to circumstances was unable to fulfil my dreams until the age of 44. Last year I was offered a scholarship through the public system to do the Division 2 course and become an EEN. Up until last year the trainee EENs were put through the system fully paid, but this course I am enrolled in is not paid

(the course content at TAFE is paid only for scholarships). There are 690 hours of clinical placement, which is made up of 40-hour weeks Monday to Friday. It is called supernumerary. During my clinical placement I had to take annual leave from my aged care position as I was unable to work the shifts and do clinical at the same time. This is at my expense – and it’s a great expense, as I normally work almost full time. Even though my contract is 10 hours a week permanent part time, I always do the extra shifts. I live in a rural town and live two hours’ drive from Newcastle TAFE and because the TAFE hours are 8.30 am to 4.30 pm, I have been forced to stay at a local motel for three nights at my own expense. I have five children and a partner at home, which doesn’t leave me any down time. For the first semester it cost me about $2,000 to drive down and stay over. I am keen to study and love the job – this is what keeps me going, as does working for nothing and doing as much work as the paid workers at my clinical placement – yet I don’t think this is fair. The Government says we are short of qualified nurses, but what do they do to help people like me get ahead? I would like a rewarding career for the rest of my working life. So I sacrifice a year of almost full pay and then work 690 hours for free, all to get experience but to gain about $6 per hour extra. In the not too distant future a lot of qualified nurses will retire, and who will replace them? How many people can afford the expenses (of TAFE) over a 12-month period? It’s very stressful and exhausting, and more support for trainee EENs is needed. Jillian Mills, exhausted student Muswellbrook Editor’s Response: Enrolled Endorsed Division 2 Nursing course is the name of the nationally endorsed qualification offered at both Cert IV and Diploma level by TAFE NSW.

O’Bray Smith

Campaign for yourself, not just your patients I’ve been writing this letter in my head since 2008 when we had our last pay claim in the Public Health System. The results were devastating and in writing this now I guess I’m hoping history does not repeat. My devastation was not over the award or conditions, rather it was in regards to the amount of members who did not attend meetings, read notices or even the campaign updates on the website. Do these members think that campaigns are won by paying union fees? I believe it’s only in America that money can win you votes. The future of my nursing award, my pay, my conditions and safety is my responsibility. The Government is not going to give me more money because my union asks them. We need to take action and get our message out there and that is not only my responsibility but that shared by the other 53,000 members of the Union. Being too busy is not an excuse to give in when the fight gets hard: this is actually the time we fight harder. We know how to – we do it every day as part of our jobs. We have a strong voice in the community. We need to fire up, stop playing the poor nurse card and start advocating for ourselves and not just our patients. I urge all members to become active for the sake of our future. Being active is as easy as wearing our campaign slogan or turning up to a meeting when possible or reading the website to find out what’s happening. Every little bit helps. I hope conceding such critical conditions as offsets in the last claim is enough to motivate people to take an interest now, not when it’s too late. O’Bray Smith, Midwife/RN, RPAH

THE TROUBLE 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 8.30am to 5pm. NSWNA Information Officers are available until 7pm. We are working hard to meet your needs and thank you for your patience. Call 8595 1234 (metro) or 1300 367 962 (non-metro).







omen are reaping the benefits of being given the opportunity to work for the mining sector

as drivers. According to The Australian, employers in the booming mining sector, particularly in Queensland and Western Australia, are keen to hire nurses’ aides, ex-teachers and public servants as truck drivers. Experience is not essential – in fact, it’s more likely to be a disadvantage. Mackay-based mines recruiter David ‘Crockie’ Saunders said ‘greenies’ – people with no prior experience in the mines – were in demand. ‘A shift in a mine now is likely to be made up of as much as a third with women operators, former teachers, police, nurses, sales clerks or farmers,’ Mr Saunders told the newspaper. ‘Because of the nature of the training that is available, the attractive pay rates offered and the much-improved working conditions provided, the mines now attract a workforce representing a very broad range of former occupations.’ Construction phase manager Dave Lamb has put hairdressers behind the wheels of 300-tonne haul trucks, and has signed on exteachers and nurses’ aides. The only requirements are a driver’s licence, being physically up to the job and ‘enthusiasm’, said Mr Lamb. Beginner truck drivers would earn between $85,000 and $110,000 a year, according to Mr Saunders.


Senate passes nursing and midwifery reforms The ANF and NSWNA have welcomed the decision to pass legislation that gives Nurse Practitioners and eligible midwives access to MBS and PBS. ANF Federal Secretary Ged Kearney congratulated the Senate on its decision to pass the Health Legislation Amendment (Midwives and Nurse Practitioners) Bill 2009, saying it was a major win for consumers. ‘The Senate has passed long-awaited legislation that gives those who seek the services of Nurse Practitioners and eligible midwives access to benefits,’ she said. ‘We have been waiting over 10 years for this decision. ‘We worked closely with the Federal Government to achieve this great outcome, which means nurses can get on with the job of providing care that is immensely beneficial to the community.

‘We have been waiting over 10 years for this decision.’ ‘The next step is to work on the details in this legislation so that these highly educated and experienced healthcare professionals can be allowed to practise to their full scope without unnecessary red tape. ‘Nurse Practitioners work closely within a community to improve health outcomes. They are expert in a myriad of healthcare services, not least of all chronic disease management and illness prevention,’ said Ged. NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes stressed the importance of Australian women being able to choose the services of an independent midwife. Under the current legislation, independent midwives – those not working as part of a hospital’s medical team – will not be issued with a PBS number and will therefore not be eligible for insurance. ‘NSWNA members joined thousands of people last year at rallies to support women’s right to home births attended by independent midwives. The strength of feeling was clear. So while we welcome the Senate’s decision to pass this legislation, it’s important to iron out the details down the track,’ said Brett.

Sex discrimination has no place at work Australian employers, including some of the nation’s biggest companies, must lift their game to end sex discrimination in the workplace and improve pay and opportunities ACTU President for women, according Sharan Burrow to unions. ACTU President Sharan Burrow said a recent sex discrimination case on behalf of 14 sacked female Qantas/Jetstar employees was a harsh reminder of the kinds of barriers women still face to equal participation in the workforce. Ms Burrow also warned that women were among the worst affected by WorkChoices, and Liberal leader Tony Abbott’s plan to reintroduce WorkChoices would mean more cases of discrimination. The Transport Workers Union (TWU) last month launched an application in Fair Work Australia to reverse a recent decision by the airline to bar the women from 47 new permanent positions created at Sydney Airport. The TWU case argues that the women were directly and indirectly discriminated against because Qantas/ Jetstar froze all women out from retraining while male employees were offered jobs and subsequently rehired. Ms Burrow said the alleged behaviour by Qantas was appalling and illustrated the problems that women have in the workforce. ‘If this is the way that a leading company like Qantas treats its female employees, then it is clear that Australian employers need to undergo a massive cultural change if women are to achieve equal pay and opportunities for promotion.’ TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said the actions of Qantas management were like a throwback to the 1950s. ‘Women’s pay is well behind men’s on average, and they have fewer career opportunities but here we have an Australian company that won’t even give them a job,’ Mr Sheldon said. With average female pay still at least 17% lower than for men, unions met in Melbourne last month to plan a major national push for pay equity, more opportunities for women, and improvements to superannuation for women.


The Australian Hospital Ship Centaur was torpedoed and sunk with heavy loss of life by a Japanese submarine in 1943.

IN SUPER CONTRIBUTIONS lmost two-thirds of Australians (61%) support a rise in compulsory superannuation contributions to 12% and they are prepared to pay for it with a direct contribution from their wages, according to a survey released last month by the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST). The Coredata survey of 1,000 consumers suggests many Australians are concerned that their current level of super contributions won’t provide them with enough retirement income. AIST CEO Fiona Reynolds said it appeared that the community was ahead of the views of most politicians on the need to lift the level of super contributions. ‘It seems that both the super industry and the public understand that 9% super is not going to deliver a comfortable retirement. We hope this message is received by the Government ... and that steps are taken to improve adequacy within our retirement incomes system,’ said Ms Reynolds. The survey also found that 60% of respondents thought the Government should be doing more to help low- to middle-income earners pay for their retirement. ‘AIST has long advocated for the abolition of the $450 monthly income super threshold and the inclusion of a super component in parental leave schemes,’ said Ms Reynolds. ‘These are key measures that would immediately assist low- and middleincome earners to grow their super.’ Current super laws are undergoing a review, and the survey also highlighted that while the majority of respondents expected better returns from their super fund this year, many were concerned about their retirement planning, with 55% either ‘concerned’ or ‘very worried’ about the Government changing the laws around access to super.


Rudd honours Centaur victims A national service to remember the 332 victims and survivors of the sinking of the Australian Hospital Ship Centaur was held in Brisbane last month. Several nurses, including some from NSW, lost their lives. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd joined Premier Anna Bligh, Governor General Quentin Bryce, military officials, survivors, relatives of survivors and victims and members of the public at St John’s Cathedral for the moving memorial service. ‘We honour all those who lost their lives on the Australian Hospital Ship Centaur,’ Mr Rudd said. ‘We also honour the families who then waited two-thirds of a century to discover the final resting place of their loved ones.’ The AHS Centaur was sunk without warning by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine on 14 May 1943, about 50 miles north-east of Brisbane.

Indonesian nurses given guiding hand Global nursing shortages are forcing countries to take steps to train foreigners as nurses, as well as offering language courses. Indonesia’s Health Ministry said the government has received requests to send nurses to Norway and is also talking to the Qatari government about dispatching nursing staff to the emirate. Bambang Giatno, head of the Ministry’s personnel training agency, said a new training centre in Batam will provide Indonesian nurses with six months of intensive training, including a language course, followed by work at Alexandra

Hospital in Singapore to acquire the accreditation needed to work overseas. Japan has also been accepting nurses from Indonesia and the Philippines since reaching agreements with both countries to make up for the lack of Japanese nurses. The new arrivals study Japanese and receive training as nurses or care workers for three or four years. They must then pass a national exam, considered rigorous, in Japanese within three years or they will be sent back home. The moves highlight the cultural barriers faced by nurses who go to work in other countries. According to Keio University professors in Japan, the cultural barriers faced by Indonesian nurses who go to Japan to work are gradually being lowered, but more needs to be done to help Japanese hospital staff adapt. Staff at Saiseikai Yokohamashi Tobu Hospital in Kanagawa Prefecture received training from Naomi Sugimoto, a professor of communications studies in Keio’s faculty of nursing and medical care, prior to the arrival of two Indonesian nurses in February 2010. ‘The fact that hospitals are accepting foreign employees for the first time means that their staff have never worked with foreigners, so they are very nervous,’ Sugimoto told the Japan Times. ‘I told them that [the Indonesian nurses] do not necessarily get used to Japan easily,’ she said. Sugimoto advised the Japanese staff to actively help the Indonesians, many of whom are Muslim, to adapt to the work environment. A key issue is the Indonesians’ pride, according to Sugimoto. They were elite professionals in their own country, so they will likely be frustrated as they can only work as assistants in Japan until they pass the tough national exams, she explained. THE LAMP APRIL 2010 9





MAY HAVE LED TO FIVE DEATHS oor hand hygiene has been linked to a deadly outbreak of Clostridium difficile (C diff) that killed two patients and contributed to the deaths of three others in a Scottish hospital. Seven people who had been treated at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee were found to have contracted the bug in October last year, which caused the death of two patients and contributed to the deaths of three others.


The report ... noted a dip in compliance with hand hygiene policy immediately before the declaration of the outbreak. An internal report into hygiene compliance at the hospital, released last month, found that hand hygiene rates had dropped to 85% in the month before the strain of C diff took hold in the ward. They were previously 100%. The 027 strain of the deadly bug spread quickly and is believed to have taken hold through damaged fabric and furniture in the ward. The report, compiled by lead infection control doctor Gabby Phillips, noted the lack of a hand-washing sink in the clinical preparation room as well as a dip in compliance with hand hygiene policy immediately before the declaration of the outbreak. Nurses in Australia have the highest rates of hand hygiene compared with other health professionals (The Lamp, December 2009January 2010). 10 THE LAMP APRIL 2010

Filipino health workers ‘subject to torture’ The Philippines Human Rights Commission has accused the military of subjecting 43 health workers including 26 women to ‘psychological torture’ since their arrest near Manila on 6 February. Commission chairwoman Leila de Lima said: ‘They are continuously handcuffed and blindfolded, they are not allowed to sleep, they are not allowed to feed themselves. Even when they use the bathroom, someone else is there to take off their underwear.’ The 43, who include two doctors, a nurse, a midwife and volunteer community health workers, were arrested at a farm owned by Dr Melecia Velmonte, consultant to the Philippine General Hospital and professor emeritus of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine. A military spokesman claimed the health workers were members of the New People’s Army ‘conducting a bombmaking seminar and medical training’, and that weapons and explosives were allegedly found inside Dr Velmonte’s compound. However, lawyers for the arrested said they were taking part in ‘First Responders Training’ sponsored by the Community Medicine Foundation and Council for Health and Development, the National Secretariat of more than 50 community-based health programs throughout the Philippines. Five Appeals Court judges voted 3-2 to deny a writ of habeas corpus for the 43 detained health workers. Their lawyers said they would now appeal to the Supreme Court. The health workers are being held

at Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal, headquarters of the 202nd Infantry Brigade. Dr Julie Caguiat of the Community Medicine Foundation said the arrests were part of a state effort to terrorise health professionals and health workers who work among the poor in far-flung villages where government personnel and services are lacking or absent.

Nurses call for measures on alcoholrelated crime NSW nurses have joined forces with other frontline workers including police, ambulance officers and doctors to call on the Government to introduce proven measures to stop alcohol-related violence. The Last Drinks campaign draws attention to the epidemic of alcoholrelated violence in NSW and the fact that frontline workers and innocent members of the community are needlessly suffering at the hands of violent drunks. Between 70% and 80% of all assaults on police alone are committed by offenders affected by alcohol. The NSWNA believes it is high time the NSW Government took action to protect frontline workers and the community. We would like to hear from you if you work in an ED about what it’s like at 3am on a Saturday in relation to alcohol-affected patients. How does this impact on your job/department? And have you been assaulted/threatened by alcohol-affected clients or their friends in your ED? Please contact For more information on the Last Drinks campaign, visit

Relatives of the arrested health workers are demanding their release.

s Leadership Skills for the Aged Care Team 6 May, 8 July, 5 August, Camperdown, 4 days A 4-day workshop specifically designed to meet the leadership needs of nurses working in aged care. Members $320 • Non-members $480

Nurse Practitioner Paea Fifita (in spotted dress) with a family on Niuatoputapu.

Tongan nurse is local hero Waves that towered above the coconut trees smashed into Samoa, American Samoa and northern Tonga, killing 186 people in an earthquake-triggered tsunami in September 2009. Now a Tongan nurse who worked herself to exhaustion after her tiny island was devastated has thanked the outside world for its generous disaster relief. As the sole health practitioner on Tonga’s isolated northern island of Niuatoputapu, Nurse Practitioner Paea Fifita had to set up a temporary health centre in the Mormon Church, after the wave wrecked the main health centre. Paea had no time to contact her family and for two days they feared she had perished. Two days later a medical team from Tonga’s main island arrived to evacuate the most severely injured but did not stay long, leaving Paea to resume charge of the health and medical effort alone. Laura Jeffery, whose Palm Tree Island Resort on Niuatoputapu island was also destroyed, said Paea worked almost constantly day and night to near exhaustion. She said Paea had to deal with unsanitary conditions caused by destruction of toilets as well as a total lack of essential equipment such as a steriliser, an autoclave, a fridge for certain medicines, immunisation serums and a suction machine. She had no independent

transport and was often forced to go between villages on foot. In a letter to the magazine Matangi Tonga, Paea thanked foreign organisations and also ‘many, many individuals who have given their money and their effort’ to aid the 1,000 islanders.

Nurse Practitioner Paea Fifita worked almost constantly day and night to near exhaustion. Katherine Vaka, Secretary of the Tonga Nurses Association, said the tsunami was a great shock to everyone in Tonga. ‘We need to be better prepared. We need to train more Nurse Practitioners for our islands and we need better communication with them. We all salute Paea for her dedication to her calling and her hard work.’ In related news, the first International Conference for Tongan Nurses was held last month, according to Matangi Tonga. The gathering was the first of its kind for Tongan nurses since introductory nurse training in Nuku’alofa started in 1920. The inaugural conference brought nurses back to Nuku’alofa, with 150 coming from throughout Tonga, 70 from the Tonga Nurses Association New Zealand and 10 from Australia.

s Legal & Professional Issues for Nurses and Midwives 9 April, Shellharbour, ½ day 14 May, Batemans Bay, ½ day 28 May, Armidale, ½ day Topics covered include the Nurses and Midwives Act 1991, potential liability, importance of documentation, role of disciplinary tribunals including the NMB, writing statements. Members $39 • Non-members $85 s Appropriate Workplace Behaviour 22 April, Wagga Wagga, 1 day Topics covered include understanding why bullying occurs; antidiscrimination law & NSW Health policies; how to behave appropriately in the workplace; identify behaviour which constitutes unlawful harassment and bullying; what to do if subjected to unlawful harassment and bullying; how to use workplace grievance procedures; identify, prevent and resolve bullying. Members $85 • Non-members $170 s Computer Essentials for Nurses and Midwives 27 April, Concord, 1 day Seminar is suitable for all nurses and midwives. Members $85 • Non-members $170 s Basic Foot Care for RNs & ENs 29 & 30 April, Camperdown, 2 days 26 & 27 May, Wagga Wagga, 2 days This course aims to provide nurses with the competence to provide basic foot care. Members $203 • Non-members $350 s Policy & Guideline Writing 7 May, Camperdown, 1 day Seminar is suitable for all nurses. Members $85 • Non-members $170

TO REGISTER or for more information go to or11ring THE LAMP APRIL 2010 Carolyn Kulling on 1300 367 962


Westmead Hospital Branch.

Nepean Hospital Branch.

Intolerable pressure g Western Sydney nurses seek public support on staffing crisis.

Mount Druitt Hospital Branch.


nough is enough’ was the rallying cry of nurses who held public demonstrations outside seven Western Sydney hospitals last month. They were demanding an end to an area-wide freeze on recruitment that is putting intolerable pressure on overworked staff and jeopardising patient care. About 850 nurses attended lunchtime rallies outside Lithgow, Katoomba, Nepean, Mt Druitt, Blacktown, Westmead and Auburn hospitals and Merrylands community health centre. 12 THE LAMP APRIL 2010

Nurses were joined by community supporters ranging from fellow unionists such as railway and maritime workers (Nepean Hospital) and fire fighters (Auburn) to local businesses and service clubs (Katoomba). NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes told the rally at Nepean Hospital in Penrith that the Sydney West Area Health Service had not advertised positions externally since February 2009 as part of a cost-cutting exercise. ‘Nurse Managers are only allowed to advertise within the existing staff, meaning that staff shortages just get

moved around within the area health service,’ he said. ‘Nurses and midwives can no longer carry the health system on their backs, nor can they remain silent on the reduction of services in their communities. ‘Patient care is being compromised. Nurses and midwives, who previously provided quality patient care, are now simply asking for the ability to provide safe patient care.’ Brett said Nepean Hospital at Penrith had 20 full-time-equivalent (FTE) positions unfilled in the maternity section alone.

Photography by Hamish Weir

Lithgow Hospital Branch.

NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes (left) addresses the rally at Nepean Hospital.

Photography by Hamish Weir

‘Nurses and midwives can no longer carry the health system on their backs.’ NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes

‘There are also 14.5 vacancies in the Emergency Department and despite this shortage the ED nurses are being called upon to cover shortages on other wards. ‘Nepean Hospital is almost on life support itself,’ he said. ‘The Emergency Departments at Mount Druitt-Blacktown are down 13 FTE nurses, including the vital clinicalleadership positions of Clinical Nurse Consultant and Clinical Nurse Educator. ‘The story is the same at all other hospitals including Westmead and Auburn.’ Brett said 10 mental health beds had been closed across the WSAHS.

‘As a result, community mental health services across the area are stretched to breaking point – a situation made worse by the fact some staffing levels are down by as much as 50% in some community mental health teams. ‘This is also putting additional pressure on Emergency Departments as mental health patients are forced to rely on these facilities. ‘We should be opening more mental health beds, not closing them.’ He said community nursing positions are disappearing across the WSAHS and caseloads are almost impossible to manage.

‘Most case workers now have between 40 and 60 patients on their books, but can only devote about eight days a month to them because of the extra time they must spend on crisis work. ‘To make things even worse a significant shortage of cleaners is emerging across the WSAHS, and a lot of areas, including staff toilets, are not getting done or done on time. ‘The WSAHS really needs an urgent cash injection and it needs to start advertising for nurses immediately,’ Brett said.n THE LAMP APRIL 2010 13

Staff freeze hits new graduates


ducation of young nurses and other health professionals is being restricted by the failure to fill nursing vacancies at Auburn Hospital, a rally of more than 50 nurses and supporters was told. Debra Smith, Secretary of the NSWNA Branch at Auburn Hospital, said the main impact of nurse shortages was heavier workloads and a consequent risk to patient safety. ‘There are vacancies across the hospital that we are not allowed to recruit to. It means that every day we walk onto the ward we are starting on the back 14 THE LAMP APRIL 2010

foot,’ said Debra, the pre-admission clinic Nurse Unit Manager. Debra said that as of 16 March there were 4.36 vacancies in the Emergency Department, which was about to lose even more staff to maternity leave. ‘The operating suite has a longstanding vacancy for a Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE) and two scrub nurses had taken voluntary redundancy,’ she said. ‘On top of that, the suite is short 2.28 FTEs due to maternity leave and workers’ compensation. The maternity department is short-staffed and has a vacancy for a CNE as well. ‘Because there is no Nurse Educator,

there is not enough staff and time to adequately educate inexperienced new nurses and medical students on the wards.’

‘Every day we walk onto the ward we are starting on the back foot.’ Debra said that despite heavy workloads, the hospital was not even allowed to re-employ its new graduate nurses and midwives and traineeenrolled nurses who trained at the hospital last year.


Nurses at Auburn Hospital were joined by local fire fighters and community at the rally for more staffing.

Locals turn out for Mountains nurses ocal businesses strongly supported the NSWNA demonstration outside Blue Mountains Hospital, lending trucks and buses decorated with nurses’ posters and putting on a sausage sizzle so nurses attending the rally would not miss out on lunch. NSWNA Branch President Barbara Monley RN said more than 100 people – at least half of them nurses – turned out for the Katoomba rally. ‘We were very pleased with the level of support, particularly from local businesses, which reflects community concern about our hospital,’ said Barbara. ‘For example, Colless Foods of Katoomba provided two trucks and paid for the sausage sizzle put on by the Lions Club. ‘Support from business was amazing and the fact that so many locals attended during a Thursday

L ‘Our staff put a lot into these young nurses’ education over the past 12 months yet some are still unemployed and others have gone to Area Health Services that are hiring staff.’ Branch President Dianne Maclean also addressed the rally, which was supported by members of the Health Services’ Union and doctors and allied staff such as physiotherapists and pharmacists. Other supporters included local fire fighters, who attended with their truck, and ambulance workers. The NSW Police Association sent a message of support.n

lunchtime shows they are determined to support the hospital as a vital part of the community. ‘The local paper has covered some of the issues affecting the hospital over the past year, such as problems recruiting medical staff, but the public were shocked to hear there has been no nurse recruitment for at least 12 months and probably closer to two years.’ Barbara told the rally the aim was to make sure nurses were given the opportunity to do the job they were employed to do, to the standard expected by the community and nurses themselves. ‘We need to be able to put the right nurse in the right spot at the right time, every time,’ she said. ‘Nurses want to have sufficient working numbers to provide safe patient care. We want the Government to be aware that what we have now are not the right numbers.’ THE LAMP APRIL 2010 15


An easier life with Ratios not for sale g Victorians would not trade their staffing ratios for any money.


ictorian paediatric nurse Margaret Grigsby says minimum nurse-topatient ratios are the most important factor determining her level of job satisfaction. ‘I would not give up ratios for any pay increase, no matter how big,’ said Margaret, a nurse at the Special Care Nursery at Wodonga Hospital on the border with NSW.

History suggests most Victorian nurses would agree with her. Since they won their ratio campaign a decade ago they have consistently rejected Government attempts to introduce below-ratio staff levels in return for more money. ‘The Government said, “Get rid of the ratios and we’ll give you more money”, but nurses were determined to keep the ratios no matter what,’ Margaret said. Margaret qualified as a nurse in the Victorian public health system 40 years ago. She has been a long-time nurses’ union job rep for Wodonga Regional Health Service, which last year amalgamated with Albury Base Hospital across the border to form Albury Wodonga Health. She said several NSW nurses quit Albury Hospital to work for lower wages at Wodonga after Victoria got nurse-to-patient ratios. ‘The NSW nurses could no longer cope with the heavy workloads and high numbers of patients. They were attracted by a safe staffing system that allows you to go home at night knowing you’ve done everything possible for your patients. ‘Under the ratio system staff

can go to work knowing they will have, say, five patients to look after and when they finish their shift, all will have had their medication, their dressings and showers, plus the nurse will have been able to spend some time with patients making sure they’re as comfortable as possible.’ The Victorian union won nurseto-patient ratios in 2000 and California achieved something similar. Safety, stability and predictability are its main selling points. The system is not perfect and is open to management abuse if nurses and their union are not vigilant. However, Margaret said working conditions and staff morale improved almost immediately after ratios were introduced. ‘At Wodonga, management initially had a bit of a battle to find staff to meet the ratios. But morale improved almost straight away. We manage to stick to our quotas 95% of the time.’ A 2007 report from the Workplace Research Centre at the University of Sydney found that two-thirds of Victorian nurses would consider reducing their hours, leaving the public health system, or quitting nursing altogether should the ratios be abolished.

‘Coping has gone out with buttonup boots.These days you must have the staff to be able to put patient safety first.’ Margaret Grigsby


nurse ratios Staff morale improved almost immediately after ratios were introduced. The survey found that while Victorian nurses wanted ratios to be improved with more staff, they believed the situation would be much worse without ratios. Margaret said ratios have attracted a lot of former Victorian and NSW nurses back into the Victorian system. ‘We have had a progression of people coming out of early retirement and back into the workforce thanks to ratios. Mothers who are ex-nurses tell me they never encouraged their daughters to enter the profession because the workloads were so bad. But they have changed their minds since ratios were introduced.’ Margaret remembers as a young nurse being put in charge of a ward of 30 patients ‘and if it looked like going to the dogs they’d say, “Well, can’t you cope?” ‘Coping has gone out with button-up boots. These days you must have the staff to be able to put patient safety first, especially as the acuity is higher than ever and throughput is so much quicker.’ Margaret said the very future of nursing depends on keeping nurse-topatient quotas. ‘The alternative is just not safe for patients,’ she added.n

The NSWNA draft Log of Claims fo r Campaign 2010 include s a claim for a clearer, sim pler staffing model with mandated nurse /patien t ratios. The Lamp sp oke with two Victoria n n ur s e s about workin g with mandated s taffing ratio s.

Under pressure all the time g Helen Taylor, working just across the NSW border at Albury Base Hospital, talks about her experiences of working without mandated ratios.


en minutes drive up the Hume Highway from Wodonga is Albury Base Hospital where nurses work under the NSW system with no mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios. Helen Taylor, a registered nurse in Albury’s rehabilitation ward, said nurses are under pressure and feeling the strain from ever-increasing workloads. Helen said nurses have made several unsuccessful submissions to management over the past few years to get a clerk for the rehab ward. ‘Our research shows that similar wards in other parts of NSW all have ward clerks. ‘But here the nurses have to do all the paperwork associated with admissions, appointments and discharges on top of patient care. ‘On afternoon shift in rehab it’s one RN and two ENs covering 21 patients. It is very demanding trying to get your head around that many patients, especially when the “in charge” is not able to assist

‘On afternoon shift in rehab it’s one RN and two ENs covering 21 patients.’

Helen Taylor

because she has her own patients and you also have to look after the paperwork. ‘If you put people under pressure all the time they’re going to get tired; they’re not going to deliver. ‘If you can take some of that pressure off with a different system, you can function a lot better; you can pick up things that might otherwise be missed. ‘I think the idea of having ratios established by legislation is good because without legislation management will find some way to work around it,’ she said.n THE LAMP APRIL 2010 17

the oscars are over.

but the nurses’ short film festival is on! Don’t miss the nursing and midwifery event of the year.




CAMPAIGN201 STAFFING & SKILL MIX FOR SAFE PATIENT CARE An easier life with nurse ratios


‘I don’t know how we looked after so many patients before ratios – I really don’t.’ Pam Szatkowski

Time to build understanding and trust


am Szatkowski, a midwife and general nurse at a Melbourne metropolitan hospital, says nurse-topatient ratios have given nurses time to get to know patients a lot better. Pam works in the post-natal ward where the ratio is one midwife for every six mothers on night shift and one to four on day shift. ‘The workload was much more intense and tiring before ratios came in,’ said Pam, who began her career in 1972. ‘I don’t know how we looked after so many patients before ratios – I really don’t. ‘It is definitely easier working with ratios. You know your patients a lot better because you do not have to look after 15 of them as I was before ratios came in. ‘With ratios you can look after

patients more safely – there is less chance of incidents such as wrong medication occurring. Quality of care is improved because time allows the building of trust between patient and carer. ‘You get to know patients – and therefore their medical conditions – a lot better. You can get to know what patients can and cannot do for themselves, whereas with 15 patients it is just impossible. ‘You get a good understanding of who you need to spend the most time with, who needs the most assistance and who doesn’t need so much and can rely on their own independence. ‘Ratios give you the time to pick up hidden problems such as mental health problems, family problems, housing problems and so on and that means things can take a different direction altogether in the way you are actually nursing the patient.’

However, Pam says it has become increasingly difficult to staff the hospital according to the agreed ratios. She thinks a population explosion over the past year coupled with a shortage of midwives has contributed to the problem. ‘We manage to meet ratios more than half the time, but we are finding it increasingly difficult to cover for sick leave, especially on night shift. ‘At night you can’t grab nurses from another ward or ring an agency to get an extra staff member. ‘We have got to the stage of saying we cannot open up more beds in the midwifery department because it is unsafe to do so.’ Pam says the Victorian nurses’ union is in discussions with hospital management about the problem of insufficient staff to meet the agreed ratios.n THE LAMP APRIL 2010 19

CAMPAIGN201 STAFFING & SKILL MIX FOR SAFE PATIENT CARE Vote now for better pay and safe staffing g It’s time for NSWNA public health system members to vote on the draft claims for Campaign 2010.


he Public Health System Award expires on 30 June and a campaign to improve pay and conditions in the public health system has kicked off. According to NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes, we need the active involvement of all NSWNA members in the public health system to achieve strong outcomes in the 2010 pay campaign. The NSWNA has consulted extensively with members in focus groups across Sydney and regional areas, an online survey last November, Branch meetings in December and through delegates at NSWNA Annual Conference to hear your views and priorities for Campaign 2010. A Log of Claims Committee elected



A NEW AWARD Here are the stages to achieving a new Award:


by NSWNA delegates across NSW has developed a draft Log of Claims for Campaign 2010, based on your views and priorities.

‘All public health system facilities (not including affiliated health organisations) should hold a meeting to discuss the proposed claim.’

Right now NSWNA members have the opportunity to discuss and vote on the proposed claim before negotiations begin. Right now NSWNA members have the opportunity to discuss and vote on the proposed claim (see pages 22-23) before negotiations begin. ‘All members are encouraged to attend Branch meetings and cast your vote by Friday, 9 April,’ said Brett.


Pay rise that recognises your dedication and responsibility Brett Holmes said, ‘The NSWNA recommends a claim of a 5% pay rise per year for a four-year agreement. This amount would keep nurses and



Research – member survey, Branch meetings, discussion groups

Oct 09-Feb 10


Draft claim developed



Branches vote on draft claim

By 9 April



From May

When Government makes an offer

Member support to win a good result

From May


Vote on proposed settlement


Occurs when members are satisfied with Government’s offer

Completed new Award


When approved by Branches

The NSWNA draft claim for Campaign 2010 was developed by the Log of Claims Committee: (left to right) Clare Waite, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital; Coral Levett, NSWNA President and ANF National President; Richard Noort, Justice Health Court Liaison, Wollongong; Marc Johns, David Berry Hospital; NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes; Jennifer Ryan, Coffs Harbour Hospital; Sue White, NSWNA Councillor; Wendy Goodman, John Hunter Hospital; (absent: NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda; O’Bray Smith, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital; Lyn Hopper, NSWNA Councillor). The draft claim was developed after extensive research with members across NSW about their views and priorities.

midwives ahead of inflation predictions and reward you for your hard work and increasing responsibility.’

Say ‘no’ to the Government’s 2.5% offer Nurses have received good pay rises in recent years but it’s been hard fought. The Government is again stating it will only pay NSW public sector workers 2.5% per year. ‘The Government says if you want more than this, you have to pay for it through “offsets”. Nurses are clearly saying this bean-counting approach must

stop and the Government should reverse the higher-grade duty “offset” that it forced upon you in 2008. It’s time for nurses to draw the line,’ said Brett.

Staffing and skill mix for safe patient care Despite the Reasonable Workloads Clause, nurse and midwife workloads are getting worse in NSW public hospitals and health services. ‘Our research and consultation with members reveals that nurses are at breaking point and believe patient care is being compromised – to the point of being

unsafe. We need to improve the current process,’ said Brett. ‘We are recommending a clearer, simpler staffing model with mandated nurse-patient ratios to ensure patient safety. Over the coming months the Association will be working with members to develop claims for specific minimum staffing for different nursing specialties.’ NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes and Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda strongly recommend that NSWNA Branches endorse this claim and get behind the effort to make the new 2010 Award a great win.n THE LAMP APRIL 2010 21

Proposed claim for Campaign 2010 Recognition and reward for your dedication and responsibility c

c c

c c

5% pay and pay-related allowances increase per year for all nurses and midwives, over a proposed fouryear agreement. 1% extra employer-provided superannuation per year i.e. 13% by 2013. Meal allowance to be paid for overtime before, as well as after a rostered shift. Return 100% of salary packaging savings to nurses, not just 50%. Clearer rules for In Charge of Shift payment.

LAST AGREEMENT DELIVERED A REAL PAY INCREASE Reserve Bank of Australia statistics show that the last NSW public health system pay rise delivered real wage increases for nurses when measured against inflation. NSW nurses will have received a 7.95% pay rise over two years by the time the Memorandum of Understanding expires on 30 June this year. Inflation over the same two-year period will be 4.5%. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, inflation was 1.5% for the year ended 30 June, 2009, and is forecasted at 3% for the year ending 30 June, 2010. The Reserve Bank currently forecasts that inflation is likely to be 2.5% for the following year (ending June 2011), rising to 2.75% the year after (ending June 2012). 22 THE LAMP APRIL 2010


‘Correct staffing ratios would not only ensure we have the appropriate resources to continue providing good basic nursing care, they would also increase our capacity to deliver on other organisational demands such as incident management, quality improvement, practice development, patient journey interviews and leadership. ‘In rehabilitation nursing there is a strong emphasis on patient assessment and goal setting – this takes time. Of all the comments made by David Berry Hospital members it is the lack of adequate staffto-patient ratios that inhibits the rehabilitation nursing process and causes most of the frustration for the team.’ Marc Johns, David Berry Hospital Branch Delegate and member of the 2010 NSWNA Log of Claims Committee.

‘Our patients deserve optimal safe care and we, as nurses, deserve to work in an environment that provides an appropriate skill mix to deliver such care. The reasonable workloads tool needs an injection to revive it and nursepatient ratios encompassing skill mix is just what the system needs.’ Jen Ryan, member of the 2010 NSWNA Log of Claims Committee.

‘With national registration commencing this year, nurses will have to provide evidence of their professional development. It would be wonderful if NSW Health supported us with a commitment to study leave on parity with our colleagues in Queensland.’ Jen Ryan, member of the 2010 NSWNA Log of claims Committee.

VOTING ON THE CLAIM All public health system facilities and services should hold a meeting before Friday, 9 April. At the meeting members will discuss the draft claims and then take a vote. You are voting to either approve or reject the proposed claim in its entirety – not to amend. Need more information? Phone 8595 1234 to speak to your Organiser.

Staffing and skill mix for safe patient care




Mandated minimum staffing ratios with a skill mix consideration. c A clear and simple set of workload rules that management must stick to. Over the coming months the Association will be working with members to develop specific claims for minimum staffing and skill mix guarantees for different nursing specialties. We need to keep the best of our current Award workload clause rights, and exchange the parts that don’t work for simple guarantees that enable nurses to provide safe care and that management must follow. c Award to include fair rostering principles.


Promoting a better work-life balance for nurses and midwives c


Professional recognition and development c c

Reinstate Higher Grade Duty payment for every shift (not only for 5+). Improved study leave to match Queensland nurses: Three days per annum for conferences plus

allowance, leave and course costs for tertiary study. ENs graduating as RNs should start at the RN Year 2 pay rate. Continuing Education Allowance for CNCs who achieve a qualification higher than the minimum required for their role. Union delegates to have paid leave for NSWNA Committee of Delegates meetings.



Rotating shift nurses should be free from night duty immediately before starting leave and on the first shift back from leave. Increase paid maternity/adoption leave to 26 weeks (partly funded by the proposed Federal Government scheme) and paternity leave to four weeks. Management should not unreasonably refuse nurses’ requests for 12-hour shifts on a unit. Better insurance for NETS (Newborn & Paediatric Emergency Transport Services)/Air Ambulance nurses.n THE LAMP APRIL 2010 23



Rudd’s big bang hospital reform g Kevin Rudd says his health reform package is bigger than the introduction of Medicare as he commits to taking on the dominant funding role for the entire national public hospital system.

Kevin Rudd meets with ANF Federal and State leaders to discuss his plans for health reform: (left to right) Gay Hawkesworth (QNU), Brett Holmes (NSWNA), Vanessa Owen (SA), Mark Olson ANF (WA), Elizabeth Dabars ANF (SA), Lisa Fitzpatrick ANF (Vic), Coral Levett (NSWNA), Kevin Rudd, Ged Kearney ANF, Jenny Miragaya (ACT), Yvonne Falckh (NT), Jill Parke (ACT) and Athalene Rosborough (ACT).


evin Rudd has announced a National Health Reform Plan that will see the Federal Government become the majority funder of public hospitals. The key aspects of the reform are: c The Commonwealth will lift its share of public hospital funding from 35% to 60%; c It will meet 100% of all GP and primary care services; c The states will now only have to pay 40% of their health budgets; c The funding changes involve the states surrendering 30% of their GST revenue. The Federal Government would put this into a National Hospital Fund for new hospital networks that would replace the area health services. Under the new proposed funding arrangement there will be no cap on a hospital’s annual budget. Instead they will get paid an ‘efficient price’ for every service they provide with tough mechanisms of accountability. An ‘efficient price’ means there will be a uniform national price for all hospital services (such as a hip replacement). These payments would be set by an independent 24 THE LAMP APRIL 2010

umpire ‘at arm’s length from the Federal and State Governments’. The price will be adjusted to recognise particular circumstances and health care needs – for example, people living in rural Australia and indigenous Australians. The efficient price is a formula to

reduce waste and increase the number of services provided for each dollar invested. The Federal Government says it will insist on a set of national standards and transparent reporting in the health system. Responsibility for hospital management will be devolved to Local Hospital Networks

NEW POLL SHOWS STRONG SUPPORT FOR RUDD’S REFORM AND FOR NURSES Research commissioned by the ACTU shows strong support for Rudd’s health reform. Key findings include: c 45% say the quality of the health-care system in Australia is getting worse and only 17% say it is getting better. 38% say it is staying the same. c The need to improve Australia’s hospital and health-care system is the top issue of concern with 91% rating it very or extremely important. c Funding hospitals nationally, but having local boards of doctors, nurses and other health

professionals who manage the day-to-day running of hospitals has 76% support with 5% opposing. c Creating national standards for the delivery of care to hospital patients has 86% support. The poll finds strong support for more health workers, with ‘having enough doctors, nurses and other health professionals’ the most worrying health-care issue. 82% of respondents agree the Government should try to attract more qualified nurses and other health-care professionals by improving pay and conditions in the sector.

WHAT THE EXPERTS HAVE TO SAY made up of small groups of local hospitals that collaborate to deliver patient care, manage their own budget and are held directly accountable for their performance. Responsibility for the negotiation of industrial agreements and awards will lie with the State Governments.

Many positives but some unanswered questions Brett Holmes says there are many positives in the plan. ‘There is now clear accountability by the Commonwealth for the system into the future and it rids the system of the blame game and incentives for cost shifting. ‘There is much greater clarity for public hospitals about what is expected of them and certainty about their budgets, which will be based on real measures of activity. ‘There is greater transparency in quality and safety issues, which will provide nurses with opportunities for better staffing.’ However, Brett says there are still unanswered questions that have consequences for nurses. ‘How will the cost of “quality” be factored into the cost of care? How will labour costs be factored into the cost of care? What mechanisms will operate to ensure that prices reflect the cost of safe staffing levels? How will the outcomes of bargaining be funded? ‘Until we know the answers to these questions, the impact on those at the frontline of health will not be known.’ Brett says he and other ANF Branch Secretaries raised these issues during a meeting with the Prime Minister. ‘We also raised the need for the Government to fix the problems in aged care in order to be able to balance the care of the aged in acute care and residential care. ‘Kevin Rudd acknowledged our issues and indicated there would be further announcements and discussions in the near future.’n

Establishing local health networks should make the health system more responsive and accountable to communities and clinicians. It will make accessing the health system easier and less complicated for patients and hopefully improve services. The new funding arrangements will ensure that the health system is funded on a long-term and sustainable basis. The introduction of activity-based funding is welcome but it is important that the costings reflect the full cost of services, including nursing care. Ged Kearney, Federal Secretary of the Australian Nursing Federation

The Government’s announcements on hospital reform are bold and deserve widespread support.They are a step in the right direction. The Government is challenging, quite correctly, the special interests of State Governments and their health bureaucracies. What is needed next is for the Government to find the political will to challenge other stronger special interest groups, particularly among the providers – the AMA, the Australian Pharmacy Guild, pharmacy companies and the private health insurance funds. John Menadue, Centre for Policy Development

The AHHA has strongly advocated for improved national consistency of hospital funding along with greater transparency and accountability, as the key to driving better service quality and planning.We welcome the proposed moves in this direction. Cydde Miller, Policy and Networks Manager for the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA)

The NSW Government has set up a website to garner feedback from the community about the new reforms.

The announcement of an Australian health and hospitals network constitutes serious reform. However, while this is a step in the right direction, there is no single magic bullet for Australia’s health system and it is important to be realistic about what the plan might achieve. Importantly, the plan rids the system of the blame game and incentives for cost shifting due to different levels of government paying for different parts of the health system.

You can post your comments at https://health.reform.discussions.

Stephen Leeder, Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of Sydney and Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy



Photograph by Jeremy Thompson



Abbott’s regressive health plan g Tony Abbott’s proposed plan for hospitals is a backward step and would not deliver the care needed by today’s communities.


Coalition Government led by Tony Abbott would abolish the Area Health Services in NSW and Queensland and establish boards at every major hospital. Comprising local community and business representatives, doctors and nurses, the local board would have control over its hospital’s funding and decisions about the delivery of services. NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes said the Opposition leader’s proposed plans for hospitals are a return to the system we had 20 years ago, and 26 THE LAMP APRIL 2010

they would not deliver for current or future health care needs. ‘We need a national health plan, not a system that creates small, local and siloed hospitals that operate in isolation from each other. ‘Mr Abbott’s inefficient and expensive health plan will lead to a duplication of services, micromanagement and unworkable healthcare outcomes. ‘It doesn’t provide for the myriad nonhospital health services and fails to recognise that most health care happens outside hospitals. Hospitals are part of a network of services, and the best outcomes occur when services work together,’ said Brett. ‘In the past such boards focused unrealistically on providing the full range of services for their local community. The reality is there is neither the staff nor funding to do this. ‘Such boards also have a natural tendency to interfere in the day-to-day management of hospitals and community health,’ said Brett. Tim Woodruff, President of the

Doctors Reform Society, agrees: ‘The system needs more co-ordination, not to be divided up along lines suggested by Mr Abbott. Our feelings are this is a move back to the 1950s.’ Mr Abbott had his chance to reform the health system when he was Minister for Health under the Howard Government. Instead, the Howard Government slashed funding, starving the public health system of millions of dollars of Commonwealth funding. ‘As Health Minister, he demonstrated no respect and little understanding of the nursing profession, and now his proposed health plan completely ignores the vital and important role of nurses in the Australian health system,’ said Brett. Abbott claims he wants to promote the voice of communities in health care but he attacked the idea of citizens juries on The 7.30 Report in 2006: ‘They’re no substitute for political decision making. In the end, politicians and policy makers can’t subcontract out the decision-making process,’ he said at the time.n

ABBOTT’S IR POLICY SPELLS DISASTER FOR WORKERS ony Abbott’s stance on industrial relations is of as much concern as his health policy. Abbott’s talk of cutting penalty rates would severely impact hospital nurses working weekend and late-night shifts. Some nurses could lose up to $400 a week if the Opposition implements this strategy. ‘The Coalition appear to be holding a candle for WorkChoices and would, if they had the opportunity, once again strip workers of their rights,’ said ANF Federal Secretary Ged Kearney. ‘If penalty rates were cut, you would have nurses who work tough weekend shifts in Emergency Departments or intensive care losing hundreds of dollars from their pay. ‘Nurses could lose up to $36 a shift on weekdays and up to $180 per


shift on weekends,’ Ged said. ‘The fact the Opposition are publicly discussing cutting penalty rates should put fear into the hearts of all workers. Such unfair policy shows the Opposition remains out of touch with workers.’

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said the results revealed people had deep suspicions about Abbott’s support for hardline industrial relations policies and WorkChoices. ‘Under WorkChoices, AWA

‘The fact the Opposition are publicly discussing cutting penalty rates should put fear into the hearts of all workers.’ And it seems the public agrees. A national opinion poll carried out on behalf of the ACTU in February showed that a majority of Australians (53%) believe a Liberal Government led by Tony Abbott will bring back WorkChoices, even if it was under a different name.

individual contracts were used by employers to cut the take home pay and job conditions of thousands of Australians. Also, employers had the power to dictate working hours and this put working families under extra pressure,’ Ms Burrow said.


Your step into the future of health care Macquarie University Hospital (MUH) will open its doors in mid-2010 as the first university campus-based private hospital in Australia. Set in the expansive grounds of Macquarie University, amid one of the fastest growing areas of Sydney and conveniently placed within walking distance of the new Macquarie University underground train station, this 183-bed hospital combines state-of-the-art facilities with world’s best clinical practice.

CRICOS Provider Code 00002J

MUH will offer its patients the highest level of medical care through pioneering onsite medical imaging, fully integrated digital operating theatres, an innovative research base and medical teams of professionals drawn from around the globe. Macquarie University Hospital is seeking experienced professionals to be part of a dynamic operating suite team, which offers diverse career opportunities.

Macquarie University Hospital Get ready to notice the difference

Registered Operating Room Nurses The hospital is now actively recruiting in the following areas:

Neurosurgery Ophthalmology General Surgery Urology Cardiothoracic Vascular Plastics ENT Orthopaedics As the successful candidate you will possess: • Current registration as a Nurse in New South Wales • Relevant experience in the operating suite • Evidence-based practice

We offer fabulous Employee Benefits including: • Flexible working conditions • Competitive remuneration packages • Salary packaging • Comfortable and sophisticated working environment • Extensive campus-based sports and fitness facilities • Priority access to child care Macquarie University Hospital is an Equal Opportunity Employer with a commitment to diversity and social inclusion. We encourage applications from Indigenous Australians; people with a disability; those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; and women (particularly for senior and non-traditional vacancies). Applications will only be accepted via the Hospital’s online system. To view these positions in detail please visit ‘Job Opportunities’ at Should you have any further enquiries, please contact Macquarie University Hospital on (02) 9850 4046.





TV ad spreads aged care message g The ANF and NSWNA have launched a TV campaign to put pressure on the Federal Government to deliver funding to aged care.


ged care nurses are overworked and underpaid, and extra funding to remedy this is vital. That is the message being beamed into lounge rooms across the country after the launch of a new TV ad campaign by the ANF and NSWNA. The message is delivered by a family member whose parent is an aged care resident. Shot at the Whiddon Group facility in Easton Park, Glenfield, the ads feature Rita Verey, whose mother Angelina has been a resident there for eight years.

The ads show nurses lifting, feeding and caring for residents, interspersed with Rita commending them on the hard work they do and advocating for a better deal for aged care nurses. The ad ends with a call to action by the public to let their Federal MP know extra funding for the aged care sector is vital and a link to the Because we care website. Rita said she was happy to take part in the ad. ‘My sister and I go every week to visit mum and every time the nurses are really good. They’re always doing little things as well as everything else and they’ve always got a smile on their faces. Nothing seems to faze them,’ she told The Lamp. ‘I thought they deserved recognition for the work they do.’ Inadequate funding for the sector is an issue of concern, Rita said. ‘Unless you’re in that position, you don’t know how hard it is to have to put one of your family members into a home.

‘If you know aged care is under-funded, you wonder what it’s going to mean for your family member and other residents.’ Rita Verey, family member featured in the ad. 28 THE LAMP APRIL 2010

In 10 years time an extra

Knowing the nurses are there to look after them and give them the care they need, it makes you feel a little better. If you know aged care is under-funded, you wonder what it’s going to mean for your family member and other residents. It really surprised me that aged care nurses get paid so much less

90,000 Australians will be in aged care.

than other nurses – I had no idea until I did this ad.’ At the ad’s launch at NSWNA headquarters last month, Ged Kearney, Federal Secretary of the ANF, said if Government funding was not forthcoming, the aged care sector would lose nurses altogether.

If you haven’t managed to catch the ad on live TV yet, you can watch it on the NSWNA website in the multimedia section.

The NSWNA would like to thank Whiddon Group at Easton Park, Glenfield, for its support in providing a venue to shoot the ad and for allowing staff members time off to take part in it.n THE LAMP APRIL 2010 29



Skull fractured in Forensic Hospital assault g Workplace reviewed after patient fractures nurse’s skull.


he NSWNA Branch at the Forensic Hospital at Malabar, Sydney, has been working with management to review staff levels and workplace practices after a patient fractured a nurse’s skull. The male nurse was assaulted while attempting to restrain another patient as a member of a response team. The nurse is now back at the hospital on a planned return to work. The Branch moved swiftly into negotiations with management following the assault in January. NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda said the hard work of the Branch helped reveal policy gaps and instances where policies were simply not being followed by management. The Forensic Hospital, the first in NSW, opened in late 2008. It is located

within the Long Bay prison complex but is the only Justice Health facility that does not work with Corrective Services officers.

‘The branch has been tenacious in ensuring that there are adequate staff levels and policies at the facility.’ A spokesperson for Justice Health was quoted in the local press as saying that assaults are to be expected in mental health facilities and that the rates of assault at the Forensic Hospital are no higher than other units. However, Judith Kiejda said this

approach to workplace safety was inadequate and demonstrated the need to defend NSW occupational health and safety laws. ‘The Justice Health spokesperson’s reported comments also demonstrate the importance of having an active Branch. It has been the branch’s commitment to raise issues that has ensured that the facility is a safe place for staff, patients and visitors,’ she said. ‘WorkCover was called in to review the incident and the Branch worked closely with senior management on the terms of reference of an external review that has now been completed. The Branch has been tenacious in ensuring that there are adequate staff levels and policies at the facility. ‘Management, the Branch and the Association continue to meet regularly,’ Judith said.n

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Hospital closures leave staff in the lurch g Nurses at Canada Bay and Lismore private hospitals have been left without pay or super after owners Owen Ferguson Health went into receivership.


he NSWNA urges all nurses and midwives to check their superannuation statements regularly to ensure their super is being paid, in light of the collapse of private hospital owners Owen Ferguson Health (OFH). OFH owned Canada Bay and Lismore hospitals in NSW, as well as a facility in Melbourne and one in Queensland. The company also had an option to build a new hospital near Homebush. Staff at Canada Bay hospital expected it to re-open on 4 January after a temporary close down in early December. Instead, nurses learned the hospital’s property and the building itself were up for auction, and were informed by text message that they had no longer had jobs. OFH – which owes surgical supplier Smith & Nephew $1.3 million – was put into liquidation, and the Association was able to file claims for unpaid wages on behalf of members via the Federal Government’s GEERS (General Employee Entitlements Redundancy Scheme) scheme.

‘I’ve not been paid since December. It’s been very stressful.’ Jenny Doyle, RN, former Canada Bay employee

However, GEERS – a Government initiative that pays unpaid wages and entitlements to staff when a company goes bankrupt – does not cover superannuation, and many staff at Canada Bay had not been paid super for up to 12 months, despite employees’ pay slips stating that it had been paid. Things were no better at Lismore. ‘We started getting complaints of super not being paid at Lismore,’ said NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda. When Union officials visited the Lismore site, the receivers had been there for a couple of days. This was as a result of NSW Health – which licenses private hospitals – closing the hospital because it was breaching some required standards. ‘The staff were extremely upset – they had only 15 minutes’ notice that

REGULARLY CHECK YOUR PAY AND SUPER ARE IN ORDER c Always check your super statement to ensure contributions are being paid into your account. c Even if your payslip states that super contributions have been paid, crosscheck with your super statements – do not rely on your payslip alone. c If your super payments are not being made, contact the Union, your super fund and the ATO. c If your employer goes into receivership or bankruptcy contact the NSWNA immediately. c Being a member of the NSWNA gives you access to assistance when you need it, so encourage your non-union colleagues to join today.

the place was going into receivership,’ said Judith. ‘They were shell-shocked and very worried. There’s not all that much work around up there.’ As with Canada Bay, staff hadn’t been paid super for up to 12 months and had not been paid for two weeks, leaving some in dire financial straits. They are intending to put in a GEERS claim. Jan Clarke, an RN who had worked at Canada Bay for 16 years, said she felt ‘cheated’ and ‘disillusioned’ at the hands of OFH. ‘I’m very disappointed at the way they’ve treated us,’ she told The Lamp. ‘We feel really cheated the way they lied to us. They kept my salary sacrifice, which was $400 a month, so I’m really upset. And with GEERS you get a maximum of 10 years for your redundancy – some of the girls have been there for 35 years so they will lose out big time. ‘It makes me angry that the employees obviously meant nothing to these people.’ Jenny Doyle, an RN who had worked at Canada Bay for 10 years, agreed: ‘It’s a kick in the teeth,’ she said. ‘I’ve not been paid since December. It’s been very stressful. It affects people’s health when this happens because you’re stressed and anxious.’ Jenny emphasised the importance of being a member of the NSWNA. ‘It’s good to be in the Union because they do give you some help when you’re in trouble and you’ve got someone on your side when you need assistance.’n THE LAMP APRIL 2010 31



More clarification needed before new rostering system finalised g HNEAHS must clarify skill mix categories before NSWNA Branches vote on balanced rostering.


he NSWNA has concerns the skill mix categories in the new Hunter New England (HNE) rostering system guidelines do not ensure a safe skill mix on each shift. The skill mix categories need to be clarified by the HNEAHS before the new rostering system can be signed off by the NSWNA. ‘The HNEAHS has proposed three skill mix categories, which is inadequate to ensure a safe skill mix,’ said NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes. ‘With only three categories, category 3 would contain newly graduated RNs, EENs, ENs, trainee ENs and AiNs. This means an RN could be swapped for an AiN on a shift. The NSWNA has proposed an additional fourth category for AiNs to ensure there are enough skilled staff on each shift. We need to guarantee that the right staff are rostered on at the right time.

‘The skill mix categories are an integral component of the guidelines and the NSWNA cannot sign these off until members’ concerns are addressed by the HNEAHS,’ said Brett. Once the NSWNA has clarification from the HNEAHS on the skill mix categories, members will have an opportunity to vote on the guidelines at Branch meetings. Members have also reported that on a number of occasions the HNEAHS has misinformed staff regarding their roster preferences, indicating it is unlikely they will have any preferences approved. The roster guidelines clearly state that roster preferences are to be incorporated into the workable roster as much as possible. ‘Although members don’t expect to be granted all preferences, this is an important aspect to ensure work-life balance. The preference section was a key inclusion in the guidelines. The Association is working hard to ensure the introduction of “Balanced Rosters” is consistent with the guidelines,’ said Brett. In developing the new system, a collaborative research project between HNEAHS and the NSWNA was undertaken to examine the impact of a responsive rostering system on patient, nurse and operational needs. One of the research report’s key recommendations is to build in processes to rostering that allow employees to gain their shift preferences.

cannot be guaranteed their preferences, management must endeavour to meet these requests as far as possible under the new system. ‘There may be times when preferences clash and management is unable to give all nurses the roster preferences they have requested. If management is unable to meet a nurse’s roster preference, the NUM should sit down with the nurse and give an explanation and they should work together to resolve the matter,’ said Brett. The guidelines also allow members to request long-term shift preferences such as permanent night shift. ‘If a nurse wants to work permanent night shift and this fits in with the preferences of other nurses and the unit, there should be no reason why this preference would not be granted,’ said Brett. The NSWNA will continue to consult with members in finalising the new rostering system guidelines. It’s important that members attend Branch meetings to have their say and be kept up to date on the process. Members will be given regular updates via a special HNEAHS balanced roster newsletter, distributed directly via email to public sector members in the HNEAHS and available on the NSWNA website ( The NSWNA will also continue to attend regular Branch meetings at hospitals where the implementation

‘The HNEAHS has proposed three skill mix categories, which is inadequate to ensure a safe skill mix.’ NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes.

The new guidelines allow nurses to nominate their roster preferences to enable them to balance their family and other commitments. While nurses 32 THE LAMP APRIL 2010

has commenced until the guidelines are finalised. Other hospitals within the HNEAHS will be visited as the process progresses.n

National registration update g The new national registration scheme for nurses comes into effect 1 July this year.

Members need not worry about being taken to court by the person they report. ‘It won’t be possible to sue nurses or midwives in such a case because the legislation protects them if a notification is made in good faith,’ said Judith, who added that a change in the law to provide for mandatory notification is a positive move. ‘It means nurses will be able to be open about these sorts of things and identify problems early. Nurses can be wary of the repercussions of such actions and it’s sometimes very difficult for them, so this is a stronger, more supported way of managing these issues. National Boards have developed clear, simple guidelines to support the notification process.’


rom 1 July 2010, changes to the way nurses in Australia are registered come into effect. As reported in previous issues of The Lamp, the Federal Government has passed legislation for 10 health professions, including nursing and midwifery, to be included in a national registration scheme. The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia has been appointed to oversee the registration and accreditation of nurses. The Board has decided to have a State or Territory Board in every jurisdiction. In NSW it will be the NSW Nursing and Midwifery Council, which will manage health, performance and conduct matters under the NSW law. So what’s new?

FEES There will be a single national fee for all nurses and midwives (still to be determined), but NSW registrants will pay less because they will not be required to contribute to the costs of running the national complaints scheme. ‘We already have the NSW Healthcare Complaints Commission, which is funded by the State Government and during the consultation process we insisted we don’t pay for a national complaints handling process that none of

IMPORTANT! The National Board will be writing to all current registrants to advise them of their registration category. It is essential that you make sure the contact details the Nurses and Midwives Board of NSW has for you are correct, or you will miss out on receiving vital information.

‘We insisted we don’t pay for a national complaints handling process that none of our registrants have any involvement in.’ NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda.

our registrants have any involvement in,’ said NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda. ‘So NSW registrants whose principal place of practice is NSW will receive a state rebate on the national fee.’

MANDATORY NOTIFICATIONS One of the new aspects of the legislation for nurses and midwives in NSW is mandatory notifications. ‘This means if a nurse or midwife has a reasonable belief that another health practitioner is a threat to public safety, they are mandated to make a notification to the National Board,’ said Judith Kiejda. ‘This has been the case for doctors for years. It’s currently regarded as an obligation for nurses and midwives but has never been included in nursing legislation in NSW, only in a code of professional conduct.’

STUDENT REGISTRATION From 2011 a new category of student registration will be launched. ‘We now know the National Board proposes to register students of nursing and midwifery from the commencement of their program,’ said Judith Kiejda. Students will not pay fees, nor be put on the public register. They also won’t be required to register individually: the education provider will forward all the names of those enrolled on courses to the Board. ‘The idea is that any impairment issues can be easily recognised and dealt with early while the student is still in the program,’ said Judith.

UPDATE ON MANDATORY REGISTRATION STANDARDS The final proposals for the five mandatory registration standards developed by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia in a public consultation process with the professions have been sent to the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council. Approval is expected in early April following a meeting of the Health Ministers. ‘The NSWNA and ANF engaged in a comprehensive review of the proposed standards and made extensive recommendations for the standards on behalf of our members,’ said Judith Kiejda.

FIND OUT MORE All proposals from the National Board and copies of all submissions are available on the Board’s website at www.nursing THE LAMP APRIL 2010 33



Get ready for Professional Day 2010 g International speakers, the Chief Nurse and a man called ‘The Gun’ will motivate and inspire you at the NSWNA Professional Day.


he nursing and midwifery professions are full of challenges and opportunities. Many health professionals recognise that a lot of the most intransigent problems in the system are due to multiple jurisdictions and tiers of government running various aspects of the health system. We’ve seen reforms in a number of areas, including Medicare access for Nurse Practitioners and midwives, a preventative health strategy, a national approach to health professional registration and other areas of workforce development. Despite the lack of progress in many areas of health reform, we have seen a shift toward national workforce standards, practices and regulations that will impact on every nurse and midwife in NSW. So it’s important to attend this year’s Professional Day, organised by the NSWNA, which offers the perfect chance to reflect on these challenges and opportunities from a nursing, midwifery and Union perspective. We’ve got a fantastic line-up of 34 THE LAMP APRIL 2010

speakers, including the inaugural Commonwealth Chief Nurse, Rosemary Bryant. This is the first time the NSWNA has hosted the national Chief Nurse, so this is an excellent opportunity to discuss the issues important to you with someone whose expertise the Department of Health and Ageing relies on to contribute to policy advice to the Government in a range of areas, including nursing workforce issues, education and training issues, primary and acute care services and aged care. We’re also delighted to welcome international speakers from the South Pacific and the California Nurses Association. But perhaps our most ‘explosive’ speaker is Darren Flanagan. Darren was

crucial to the rescue of Todd Russell and Brant Webb from the infamous Beaconsfield mine disaster. Nicknamed ‘The Gun’ by Todd and Brant, Darren was the man who charged and fired 65 shots of explosives that eventually released them from their tomb 925m underground. Not only will Darren provide a fascinating insight into this remarkable event, but also some inspiring observations about achievement, motivation and risk management. And for those working in the public health sector, NSW Health has agreed to one day’s leave being granted to nurses and midwives to attend Professional Day 2010. What are you waiting for? Book your place now!n

Professional Day 2010 will be held on Friday, 23 July, at the Australian Jockey Club in Randwick, Sydney, from 8am-3pm. Cost is $50 for NSWNA members, $75 for non-members, and free for Branch Officials and students. To register, go to for a form, or contact Carolyn Kulling on 02 8595 1234 (metro), 1300 376 962 (rural) or email


Q & A




Pay should not be reduced I have been notified by my employer that I am covered by the new Modern Award from 1 January 2010 and have noticed that the pay rates are reduced. Will I receive a reduction in my take home pay?

If you were covered by a Notional Agreement Preserving State Award (NAPSA) previously, you are now covered by the new Nurses Award 2010. The new Award rates are lower than the old NAPSA rates in the state of NSW. However, your employer should not at any stage be reducing your hourly pay rate. If your employer does attempt to reduce your hourly rate of pay or if your take home pay goes down, you must contact the NSWNA immediately so that we may seek a ‘Take Home Pay Order’ from Fair Work Australia on your behalf.

Shift penalties in aged care I am working in a nursing home and have heard that from 1 July 2010 we will no longer be entitled to shift penalties when we work during the week and on weekends; also, that there will be no extra payment for working on public holidays. Could you please advise if this is correct?

No, this is incorrect. You will still be entitled to penalty rates under the new Nurses Award 2010. The only difference between the previous Nursing Home Award/NAPSA and the new Award is when the loading is applicable. For example, afternoon shift means any shift commencing not earlier than 12pm and finishing after 6pm on the same day. If you work afternoon shift between Monday and Friday you will be entitled to be paid a loading of 12.5% of your ordinary rate of pay.

Night shift means any shift commencing on or after 6pm and finishing before 7.30am on the following day. If you work night shift between Monday and Friday you will be entitled to be paid a loading of 15% of your ordinary rate of pay. These allowances are in accordance with Clause 29 Shiftwork. If rostered to do shift work on Saturday and Sunday, the shift allowance has not changed, so 50% loading from midnight Friday to midnight Saturday, 75% loading from midnight Saturday to midnight Sunday. These allowances are in accordance with Clause 26 Saturday and Sunday work.

Collective agreement protects pay and conditions I am an AiN in a rural nursing home and believed the Rudd Government was going to reverse the WorkChoices legislation and preserve our Award rates. Now the Rudd Government is in power and our facility has moved to this Modern Award, my employer is telling me that my pay will start to be reduced from the middle of the year. How do we get out of this new Award?

The Nurses Award 2010 (also known as a Modern Award) is designed as a safety net and is being rolled out right across Australia. The best way to secure the best conditions and pay rises is through collective bargaining and while your pay should not go down, it may not increase for a number of years unless you have a collective agreement. Collective agreements provide the best level of protection and are the main avenues for improving wages and conditions in the workplace. An agreement will ensure that you are heard at the bargaining table with your employer.

If you and your colleagues do not campaign for a collective agreement, then you may remain on the Modern Award and could miss out on many of the benefits and protections that a collective agreement can offer. For further information on collective bargaining, contact the NSWNA on 1300 367 962.

Annual leave under Nurses Award 2010 I work full time in a nursing home on a seven-day rotating shift roster. How much annual leave am I entitled to?

Since 1 January 2010, most nurses in aged care who are not covered by an Enterprise Agreement have been covered by the Federal Nurses Award 2010. Clause 31 of the Nurses Award 2010 sets out the annual leave entitlement and is additional to National Employment Standard (NES), which provides for four weeks’ annual leave and an additional week’s leave for shift workers. 31.1 (a) provides for an additional week of annual leave on top of the four provided by the NES. 31.1 (b) provides that the additional week for shift workers, provided for in the NES, also applies. The requirements are that the nurse ‘is regularly rostered over seven days a week’ and ‘regularly works on weekends’. If you meet this requirement you are entitled also to this additional week’s leave for shift workers. Therefore, you would be entitled to six weeks’ annual leave. The sliding scale for counter leave, according to the number of Sundays and public holidays worked by a full-time employee, no longer applies. However, if you have an Enterprise Agreement your annual leave would be under the conditions set out in that Agreement.n THE LAMP APRIL 2010 35



Social networking: Be careful g Do you hate your boss? Have you taken a sick day just so you can stay at home and enjoy the latest blockbuster? If so, you’d be wise not to post this information on social media networks, writes Luke Forsyth, Senior Legal Officer at the Queensland Nurses Union.


arely a week goes by without a story in the media about employees who have been terminated or disciplined as a result of comments they have made on Facebook, MySpace or other social networking websites. The explosive growth in social networking as a means of communication is legally unexplored territory and is a source of headaches and heartache for both employers and employees. Nurses and midwives, like everyone else, have flocked to using social networking websites as a means of communicating with friends, family and colleagues. But NSWNA members need to be aware that their activities on social networking websites can come back to bite them in the workplace. Recently the NSW Department of Corrective Services threatened to sack prison officers over a post they made to a Facebook group criticising their bosses and the NSW State Government’s plan to privatise a number of prisons. Their union has accused the Department of trying to intimidate prison officers to stifle dissent as well as invading the private lives of the Department’s employees. In March this year a Telstra employee was disciplined because of comments he posted on Twitter. In recent times employees have been fired for making derogatory comments in relation to their boss, noting that they were ‘chucking a sickie’ in their status update and criticising their boss or coworkers on their Facebook page. The pictures that may be posted on social networking pages, or videos 36 THE LAMP APRIL 2010

on websites such as YouTube, can also cause havoc with a nurse’s or midwife’s employment. Last year a number of employees of a KFC in California were fired after they posted images of themselves having a bath in the sink of the KFC store where they worked. The law has been unable yet to develop a consistent approach to what is and is not inappropriate conduct by employers and employees in relation to the material published by employees on social networking websites. It is still struggling to come to grips with the conundrums presented by social networking websites in relation to a range of legal issues from employment law, privacy law and copyright law. In relation to employment, this relies on possible antiquated or inappropriate established common law principles. The ability of an employer to discipline an employee for out-of-hours

of out-of-hours conduct. The circumstances would have to be where the conduct was such that, viewed objectively, it is likely to cause serious damage to the relationship

‘Social networking websites are also being used by employers and recruiters to screen potential employees.’ conduct is restricted. In the decision of Rose v Telstra Corporation Limited, Vice-President Ross of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC), after considering the historical aspects of the employment relationship, provided a useful guide as to when out-of-hours conduct may be a valid ground for termination. VP Ross found that only in limited circumstances may an employee’s employment be validly terminated because

between the employer and the employee, the conduct damages the employer’s interest, or the conduct is incompatible with the employee’s duty as an employee. A recent decision in the AIRC saw an employee reinstated to his employment at a Victorian supermarket after he was deemed to have been unfairly dismissed for his participation in a YouTube video that showed skylarking during the night filling of the supermarket.

Social networking websites are also being used by employers and recruiters to screen potential employees. A recent US survey found that 45% of employers and recruiters were conducting internet searches of applicants’ social networking web pages. Employers have been slow to deal with the potential implications of their employees communicating and publishing information on social networking websites. However, you can be certain that IT policies, codes of conduct and other documents that regulate your employment as a nurse will soon be updated in an attempt to ensure that you do not make comments disparaging to your employer or breach the privacy of your patients. Always remember that you could be held accountable for your conduct published on your social networking page, which is accessible to the general public.n This article first appeared in QNU’s journal tqn.

TIPS FOR USING SOCIAL MEDIA SITES There are a number of simple rules that nurses and midwives should follow in relation to their use of social networking websites: c ensure the privacy settings on the website do not allow open public access; c don’t talk about confidential patient or work information on your website; c don’t publish photographs of yourself engaging in illegal, offensive or inappropriate activity; c don’t post photographs of yourself engaging in conduct in the workplace which you know would be deemed inappropriate by your employer. The same goes for comments; c don’t add new friends on your website when off work sick;

c don’t fake a sick day and announce it on your website; c don’t criticise your place of employment, clients or patients on your website; c don’t use your website to criticise your boss or other workmates; c don’t make comments that clearly identify your employer and bring your employer into disrepute on your website; c don’t update your website status about something work-related; c don’t post compromising photos of yourself or join questionable groups on a social networking website; c DO try to avoid using your real name on your website.




Rudd’s health-care policy g After promising much during the 2007 election campaign and a prolonged period of consultation and deliberation by the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, the Rudd Government made the first in a series of announcements of plans that, if implemented, will transform health care in this country. A National Health and Hospitals Network for Australia’s Future Without major changes, as rising health costs outstrip revenue growth, State budgets will be at risk of being overwhelmed. If Australians are to continue to enjoy access to world-class health care, we must undertake for reaching reform of our health and hospital system now. This document sets out major structural reforms to establish the financing and governance foundations of a National Health and Hospitals Network for Australia’s future. The Government expects that these reforms will permanently establish the Commonwealth Government as the majority funder of hospitals and place the Australian health system onto a sustainable and selfimproving footing for the future.

Croakey The Croakey blog is a forum for debate and discussion about health issues and policy. A range of contributors have provided insight and commentary on the latest health and hospitals proposal.

Public hospitals – reform overseas Rear Vision, ABC Radio National

Public hospitals are the centrepiece of Australia’s health system, yet there seems to be something deeply wrong with them. What can we learn from attempts at reform overseas? stories/2010/2834416.htm 38 THE LAMP APRIL 2010

Health reform: the opening shot James Gillespie, Inside Story, Current Affairs and Culture

While short on detail, the Prime Minister’s National Health Reform Plan focuses on the funding and governance of public hospitals. It proposes a sweeping increase in Commonwealth financial responsibilities – but far short of a complete takeover.

It proposes a sweeping increase in Commonwealth financial responsibilities. It calls for fundamental change in the way most hospitals are paid, increased scrutiny of the quality of the services they deliver, and a radical decentralisation of management and accountability. The outcome of the deliberations of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission and the hundred-

odd public consultations that followed, the plan makes large claims about the setting in train of a revolution in health-care management, declaring that it will end ‘blame games’, set hospital finances on a sustainable footing and relax the centralism that has undermined accountability, morale and some of the public trust in public hospitals.

Boards and pricing pose challenges to hospital reforms Mark Metherell, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 March 2010

The Government appears to have underestimated the difficulties it faces in rolling out its hospital reforms, says Dr Stephen Duckett.n



Stephen recruited 40 members … and won a fabulous trip to Fiji

Stephen Not t and his wife Lauren sampl the local cuis e ine at lunch in a Fijian vi llage.

g Recruiting new members to the NSWNA helps build a strong Union for nurses. Stephen Nott was delighted to discover it also won him a luxury holiday to Fiji.


tephen Nott, an RN at Dubbo Base Hospital, wanted to help build the Union to ensure it is in a strong bargaining position, so he embarked on a recruitment drive. All up Stephen recruited around 40 people. ‘No one was really doing it up here in Dubbo, so I gave a talk to the graduating Enrolled Nurses at Western TAFE about signing up, so I did that and signed about 30 up. The rest were people working in the hospital,’ he said. So, how did he go about persuading people to join? ‘I explained the benefits of membership,’ said Stephen, who was a

Branch Official at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in the 1990s and is now VicePresident of the Dubbo Base Branch of the NSWNA. ‘The bottom line is still the legalities. You can talk about the other benefits and how it’s only fair you should be sharing the costs for the awards you get, but when I was at RPA, I drew on the Union’s legal resources on a couple of local issues and won every one. I ask people, “Can you not afford to join?” It’s the legal coverage you need. Up here, there have been problems with one of the maternity units and they tried to crucify the nursing staff, so I continually reinforce the benefits of Union membership.’ In order to make it easy for staff to sign up for membership, Stephen made sure that application forms were readily available and he even helped people fill them in. ‘I put up display forms on the notice boards and staff knew exactly where to grab a form,’ he said. In the three years Stephen has been at Dubbo Base Hospital, the Branch has gone from being almost about to close to having several active Union members – something Stephen is very proud of.

le cruising a cocktail whi Stephen enjoys ji. Fi of lands the beautiful is

‘It’s important to be in a strong bargaining position, particularly for nurses working in the private or aged care sectors who have to negotiate for Enterprise Agreements to get guaranteed pay rises and other decent working conditions. The only way to get the best deal is to build up Union membership,’ he said. ‘I’ve been a nurse since 1978 and when everyone in a unit is a member, it tends to form a bond. If you want to get information or if things get messy at work and you need legal support, the Association is there for you.’ Stephen was delighted to learn he’d won the NSWNA’s recruitment lucky draw: six days and nights in Fiji at a beautiful hotel, which he and his wife Lauren thoroughly enjoyed. ‘The hotel we stayed in was excellent and the cruise around the islands was spectacular,’ Stephen said. The NSWNA has run a number of competitions with some fantastic prizes and Stephen recommends members enter the competitions. He’s certainly glad he did. ‘Competitions are definitely a perk of membership,’ he said. ‘They’re an absolutely brilliant idea – especially when you win!’n THE LAMP APRIL 2010 39



NSWNA Branch News

ns get active in campaig g NSWNA members ate achievements. br le ce d an , ts es ot pr and

The aged care nurses at Lady of Grace Nursing Home Branch in Dural celebrated their success in getting an Enterprise Agreement in December 2009. Cutting the cake is Branch Official Julieann Kinsella. The NSWNA Kempsey Branch saw their Official Jo Hewsler’s son do his bit for the ‘One more nurse per shift’ rally at Kempsey on 27 February.

Quality Aged Care Action Group Central Coast’s Marta Frasca (left) and Hazel Gosling (right) presented more than 250 signed Because we care postcards to Federal member for Dobell, Craig Thompson (centre). Hazel told The Lamp that Mr Thompson expressed his support for the campaign and acknowledged the need for improvements in aged care. He said he would take the postcards to Canberra to present to Justine Elliot, Minister for Aged Care.

Kathryn Sullivan, NSWNA’s Manager Government and Community Relations, received her scroll of honour from Unions NSW. After 29 years of service, she happily took retirement in December 2009. Pictured with her is Mark Lennon, Secretary Unions NSW, at the presentation at Unions NSW’s Trades Hall in February. 40 THE LAMP APRIL 2010

The Union Summer interns flew the NSWNA flag high in their last week on the job. They are from left to right: Andrew Clark, Mitchell Wilson and Anna ScottMurphy. The trio spent three weeks at the Association under the careful guidance of the Professional Team where they helped recruit new graduates in nursing for the NSWNA.

ANNUAL CONFERENCE PROFESSIONAL DAY FRIDAY 23 JULY 2010 WHERE Australian Jockey Club, Randwick, Sydney WHEN Friday 23 July 2010 TIME

8am – 3pm. Registration from 7am


NSWNA Members $50 Branch Officials and students free of charge Non-members $75

Free parking on site. Registration go to for registration form or contact Carolyn Kulling on 8595 1234 (metro), 1300 376 962 (rural) or email (L-R) Luke Hartsuyker, Federal MP for Cowper; Andrew Stoner, Federal MP for Oxley and Kempsey; Branch Officials Di Lohman and Jo Hewsler talk about the issues on the ground at the Kempsey community and nurses’ rally for the ‘One more nurse per shift’ Kempsey Emergency Department Campaign.

NSWNA’s General Secretary Brett Holmes (second from left) presented certificates to the Association’s Union Summer interns. Pictured from left are Mitchell Wilson, Anna Scott-Murphy and Andrew Clark. Mitchell and Anna are both third-year nursing students at Notre Dame University and Sydney University respectively, while Andrew is an AiN at Calvary Retirement Community and studying for his Certificate IV.

NSW Health has agreed to one day’s leave being granted to nurses and midwives to attend Professional Day on 23 July 2010.





Le Concert g Get ready for a tale of secrets, lies and obsessions – all resolved with music!

Reviewed by Megan Barker, RN, RPAH


didn’t quite know what to expect from this movie, and about 15 minutes in, I admit to thinking that it was going to be a formulaic film about the downtrodden hasbeens showing up those who took their place. And it is that – plus more! It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what the more is. The film is about Andrei Simoniovich Filipov (former Maestro of the Bolshoi Orchestra) and his obsession with Tchaikovsky’s Concerto for Violin in D major. Politics intervened and the orchestra collapsed. As the film unfolds, so does the story of what happened to Andrei and his orchestra 30 years ago – he was fired for hiring Jewish musicians. As more of Andrei’s world is revealed, the orchestra


GIVEAWAYS is re-formed, revealing that an orchestra is a collection of people bringing together their talent and instruments in the hope of attaining harmony – the real communism – but it only lasts until the end of the concert. This film has loves, losses, laughter, tears, drunken Russian romps through Paris and, of course, music. In terms of production, flashback scenes are sometimes clumsy. There are times when there is a feeling of watching old WWII movies, but the scenes elicit the emotion they are designed to and certainly deliver an impact. In the end, I was glad to have seen this movie. It’s about facing your past and taking risks so you can build yourself a future, no matter how long you have waited to do so.n The Concert opens on 29 April.

FOR NSWNA MEMBERS The Lamp has 100 double passes to previews of The Concert and 50 double passes to Micmacs. To enter, email lamp@nswnurses.asn. au with your film preference, name, membership number, address and contact number. First entries win!



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.

Micmacs g Micmacs is a hilarious French farce crossed with a heist movie, with an ‘Ealing Studios’ casting call of lovable eccentrics, says Wayne Lynch.


icmacs à tire l’arigot (not standard French but slang: roughly ‘Troubles from everywhere’) is a terrific film about armaments and landmines. Unlike that remarkably cynical insight into the trade, The Lord of War with Nicolas Cage, Micmacs deals only with manufacturers, avoiding confronting us with the horror suffered by victims. Still, the film has heart; an ordinary man Bazil, a life beset by tragedy caused by weapons manufacturers, is propelled

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by them into a series of extraordinary events. Tragedy has never overwhelmed him and his sense of self, and inner strength inspires others to join him in prevailing over ‘the baddies’. The opening credits and Max Steiner score, harvested from classic 1940s and 1950s Warner Bros melodramas, sweep you into a big luscious film, written and directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen, The City of Lost Children, Alien Resurrection, Amélie). It’s basically a French farce crossed with a heist movie, with an ‘Ealing Studios’ casting call of lovable eccentrics.

Review by Wayne Lynch, RN, Kirketon Road Centre and CNC at Concord Hospital Drug Health Services.

Did someone mention surrealism? It’s never far away and Bazil (Dany Boon) provides some of the funniest moments in a very funny film: His miming of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall while watching The Big Sleep in a video store is reminiscent of silent movie slapstick. Bazil shows you one person can make a difference, even change the course of history. Maybe this is a fairytale, but like a child, I can’t wait to hear and see this tale retold.n Micmacs opens on 1 April. ORDER YOUR TICKETS TODAY! 20 tickets per book – $2 per ticket: Ring 1800 888 674 or email or visit or fax (02) 9261 1118 Closes May 14, 2010 Winner drawn June 3, 2010 Results in The Australian June 8, 2010




A spirited activist KATALIN (KATHY) PARKER 31 March 1958-14 March 2009


athy Parker lived life to the full. Her personality and sense of purpose attracted other people to her, of all ages and various walks of life. She was born in Kogarah, NSW, the younger twin of two daughters, followed by her brother George. Kathy’s parents were originally from Budapest, Hungary, and settled in Blacktown. She attended Maryong South and Doonside Technical School, where she excelled as a student. Kathy continued studying and researching all her life and attained many distinctions. Kathy left school to become a Dental Nurse where she worked at the Children’s Hospital Camperdown for 21 years and then transferred with the Dental Clinic to the new Westmead Children’s Hospital where she played a big role in ensuring the smooth transition of the Dental Clinic to the new Westmead Children’s Hospital. Kathy moved to Umina on the central Coast after marrying her husband Colin in 1987 and still carried on working at the Children’s Hospital for another three years In 1998 Kathy studied again and became an Enrolled Nurse and began working at the Woy Woy Rehabilitation Unit on the Central Coast until its closure last year. She was very passionate about her work and became very involved in the NSWNA, where she fought for better conditions for her fellow workers and the patients. Kathy was Secretary for the Woy

Woy Branch when the Rehabilitation section was closed last Christmas. Kathy very strongly and loudly expressed her beliefs of unfairness to the ‘Peninsula patients’ at the Rehabilitation unit before it closed, right up until she was suddenly taken from us on 14 March 2009. Kathy had a photographic memory and was always researching one disease or another and if anybody needed help with assignments she would be there. This included family or work colleagues. Kathy was the first EN to become endorsed in the Woy Woy Rehabilitation Unit, and she encouraged other ENs on the ward to complete their endorsement as well as offering to help them with their studies. Many people thought Kathy should have gone on to do her Bachelor of Nursing or that she could have completed a Medical Degree. Work was her life and she gained a wealth of practical experience both as a Dental Nurse and as an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse. Kathy very much enjoyed her ‘crime stories’ – both fact and fiction – as well as the numerous television series.

Kathy was a spirited woman who would fight for what she believed in. She will be sadly missed by her family, friends and colleagues. Kathy is survived by her husband Colin, two children, Veronica and Adam, and two grandchildren, Noah and Zanda.n By Karen Dobbs, RN, Woy Woy Hospital

Nurses ~ Use your acute clinical nursing skills to assist patients all over the world. 






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, jbromfield@ or Cathy Matias, 8595 2121, Reviews by NSWNA librarian, Jeannette Bromfield.

Book me Inside Chronic Pain: An Intimate Critical Account by Lous Heshusius, Footprint Books, RRP *$39.95 : ISBN 9780801447969 Inside Chronic Pain is the dramatic memoir of Lous Heshusius’ life and how she lived in constant pain after surviving a near fatal car accident. Through her own experience, Lous shows how she deals with pain’s dramatic and destructive effects on her life and how inadequate the health-care system is in understanding chronic pain and in treating those who suffer from it. The concluding clinical commentary by Dr Scott Fishman, who has tried over a long period of time to improve the lives of patients in chronic pain, is an attempt to help physicians and other clinicians better understand and treat patients with this debilitating condition.

Mentoring Nursing and Healthcare Students by David Kinnell and Philip Hughes, Sage Publications, RRP* $67.95 : ISBN 9781847873262 Mentoring Nursing and Healthcare Students provides an essential framework for developing the practice skills needed for successful mentorship. It is aimed at assisting nursing and healthcare students build a foundation in effective mentoring.

Ethnicity and Healthcare Practice: A Guide for the Primary Care Team by Lorraine Culley and Simon Dyson, Quay Books (available through Medical Society Bookshop), RRP *$33.00 : ISBN 9781856423663 Ethnicity and Healthcare Practice: A Guide for the Primary Care Team is a concise overview of the key issues in understanding the relationships between ethnicity and health. It explores different cultural perspectives of medical care including complementary and Chinese medicine and considers the ethical dilemmas relating to contemporary medical advances. It also discusses mental health issues as well as the needs of refugees and asylum seekers

Nursing Pathways for Patient Safety by Patricia E. Benner, Kathy Malloch and Vickie Sheets, Mosby/Elsevier (available through Elsevier Australia), RRP *$65.00 : ISBN 9780323065177 Nursing Pathways for Patient Safety makes it easy to identify the causes of practice breakdowns and to reduce health-care errors. It provides expert guidance from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), plus an overview of the TERCAP (Registered) assessment tool.

PUBLISHERS’ WEBSITES c Medical Society Bookshops: c Footprint Books: c Quay Books: c Elsevier Australia: c Sage Publications:

The book systematically examines the causes of practice breakdowns resulting from practice styles, health-care environments, teamwork and structural systems to promote patient safety.

Clinical Leadership: Bridging the Divide edited by Emma Stanton, Claire Lemer and James Mountford, Quay Books (available from Medical Society Bookshop), RRP* $54.97 : ISBN 9781856423984 This book details the knowledge, skills and behaviours required in clinical leaders, from the viewpoint of a group of exceptional junior doctors, aspiring clinical leaders and participants on NHS London’s ‘Prepare to Lead’ scheme. Clinical Leadership: Bridging the Divide encourages a distributed model for clinical leadership and attempts to change the basic belief that clinicians look after patients while managers look after organisations – as a starting point.n *Price in Australian dollars at time of printing

In need of a Textbook? Save up to up to 25% with the Medical Society Bookshop. From the 1st of April an exclusive discount is on offer to all NSWNA Members: c c c c

15% discount on all books priced under $100 20% discount on all books priced at over $100 25% discount on all Quay Books titles 5% discount on all Prestige & MDF instruments.

*Includes free postage. Simply register at www.medicalsociety quoting your Association membership number and browse over 30,000 titles or order over the phone (02) 9351 6198 or by email: THE LAMP APRIL 2010 45

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Test your knowledge in this month’s nursing crossword.






6 7

8 9 10








18 19






s 1. 4. 7. 9. 10. 12. 13. 15. 16.


A thin, flexible tube (8) Supine (5) Bones of the thorax (4) Relating to the colon (10) Curve, arc (4) Slices, scores (4) Abnormal heart rhythm (10) Parts of the eyes (7) Red Nose Day raises money for this condition ( 19. Sallow, ashen (4)


20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.

The same (5) Deadly (6) Poisonous (5) Diet (9) Transparent parts of the eyes (7) The cardis, fundus, corpus and pylorus are all part of this organ (7)



1. 2. 3.

Heart attack (7, 6) Bone of the leg below the knee (5) Airway in the throat (7)

4. 5. 6. 8. 11. 14. 17. 18. 21.

Slashed, shredded (9) Organ that stores bile (4, 7) Airway that conducts air into the lungs (8) Shame, dishonour (6) Breathing (11) Types of nurses, abbrev (1.1.1) Pass from parent to child (7) Cut in two (5) The pulmonary system (5)

Solution page 49 THE LAMP APRIL 2010 47

DIARY DATES Conferences, seminars, meetings SYDNEY, HUNTER & ILLAWARRA Nurses Christian Fellowship Professional Breakfast 17 April, 9am, Flower Power, Enfield. Contact: Jane, 9449 4868 A.C.A.T Nurses Meeting 20 April, 1-3pm. Bankstown Hospital, 2A/2B conference room. Contact: Wendy Oliver 9722 7236 or RPA Hospital – Nurses Professional Day ‘The Evolution of Nursing ... Your Generation’ 22 April, Kerry Packer Education Centre, RPA Hospital. Contact: Lynn Hyde Jones by email at Change Champion Seminars Whose Challenging Behaviours? ‘Meeting the Needs of Older People with Dementia’ 29-30 April, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney. Contact and registration: 9692 0533, NSW Urological Nurses Society Study Day ‘Let’s talk about sex’ 30 April, 8.30am-3.30pm, Burwood RSL. Contact: Virginia, 9990 4148, Sydney Alliance Reflection Group ‘Mike Gecan in conversation’ 5 May, 7pm, Shalom College, Kensington. Contact: Liliana, 8007 6055 or

NSWNA Branch Officials’ and Activists’ Training Program 2010

St. George ’Connecting with Neuroscience’ Conference 7 May, St. George Hospital, Education & Research Centre. Cost: $50. Contact: Melissa Tinsley, 9113 3614 or

New Delegates Program Tuesday 18 May & Tuesday 21 September, 1-4pm, NSWNA Sydney

Negotiation & Advocacy Part 1

Nurses Christian Fellowship Winter Dinner 15 May, 7pm, Rhodes Ninety restaurant, 90 Rider Blvd, Rhodes. Contact: Jane, 9449 4868

for Branch Officials and Activists Wednesday 19 May; Wednesday 22 September; Wednesday 17 November, 9am-4pm, NSWNA Sydney

Negotiation & Advocacy Part 2: ‘The IRC, NMB and You’

Change Champion Seminars Future Proofing the Aged and Community Care Workforce 25-26 May, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney. Contact and registration: 9692 0533, The workplace Research Centre, University of Sydney, 2010 Climate Change at work Conference ‘Growing the sustainable workplace’ 26 May, 9am-5pm, Hilton Hotel, Sydney. Cost: $795. Contact: Karen Treacy, 9351 5624. Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery Nurses Association of NSW Meeting 29 May, 12-2pm, Boardroom, Westmead Private Hospital. Speaker: Dr Peter Haertsch, Concord Burns Unit. Contact: Helen Johansen by email at Sydney Alliance Reflection Group ‘The history of coalitions & civil society in Australia’ 16 June, 6-7.30pm, CFMEA Trade Union Ctr, Lidcombe. Contact: Liliana, 8007 6055 or

Wednesday 19 May; Wednesday 22 September; Wednesday 17 November, 9am-4pm, NSWNA Sydney Details will be sent to Branches in GenSec Circulars For more information contact Lyn Stevens at the NSWNA Metro (02) 8595 1234 • Rural 1300 367 962 Sydney West Wound Interest Group meeting 29 June. Contact: Jilll Spark, (08) 8887 4484, 0414 192 691 or

– ‘Hearing through the years’ 20-22 October, West Diggers Tamworth. Contact: Kathy Challinor, 0428 667502 or



Australian Women’s Health Nurses Association Professional Update 2010 – ‘Participate, Progress & Praise’ 5-6 August, Orange. Contact: Anne Smart, 6392 8600 or

Australian Practice Nurses Association – 2nd Annual Conference 6-8 May, Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast. Contact: (03) 5977 0244 or

10th Rural Critical Care Conference – ‘Delivering Safe Rural Critical Care’ 20-21 August, Orange Ex-Services Club. Contact:

27th International Congress of Applied Psychology 11-16 July, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Contact: Congress Office: (03) 9417 0888

Community Nurse Audiometrists Association Inc, 28th Annual Conf.

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CALL NOW! 1800 265 534 for your 2010 course handbook email: web: When phoning please quote L1003


Cancer Nurses Society of Australia’s 13th Winter Congress 29-31 July, Perth, WA. Contact:

Reunions Gosford District Hospital Group 80B 17 April Contact: Prue Pendlebury, pphp@ O’Riordan née Pugh, Western Suburbs Hospital Graduate Nurses Reunion 29 May, 12 midday, Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club. Contact: Robyn Daniel, 9644 9692 or Margaret Gane, 8753 1411 Sydney Hospital PTS 752 Reunion June Contact: Jennifer Clarke, 0414 511 655 or or Carol Campbell née Feather, 0418 433 152 or Bathurst District Hospital, PTS 1980 Reunion Seeking interest. Contact: Marie Cusick by email at

NSWNA events Education Course: ‘Leadership Skills for the Aged care Team’ 1 April & 6 May, NSWNA Offices, Camperdown.

3 days, 28 April & 23 June, NSWNA Offices, Camperdown. Education Course ‘Basic Foot Care for RNs and ENs’ – 2 days 29-30 April at NSWNA offices, Camperdown; 26-27 May at Wagga RSL Club. Education Course: ‘Computer Essentials for Nurses and Midwives’ 27 April, Concord Hospital, Concord. Contact and registration for these NSWNA events: Phoebe Turner, 8295 1234 or 1300 367 962 (freecall), Branch Official and Activist Training (BOAT) workshops ’Safe Patient Care and Your Workload’ 19-20 May (rural) & 14-15 April (metro), NSWNA’s head office, Camperdown. Contact: Diana Modderno, 8495 1234 or 1300 367 962 (freecall). www.

Other notices Kenmore Museum’s Exhibition ‘Kenmore: Staff Connections’ 6 March-25 April (weekends only), 10am-4 pm, 197 Taralga Rd, Goulburn. Tour: 11am & 2pm (1½ hr). Cost: $2, children under 10 free. Contact: Secretary, 4821 2587

Crossword solution

‘Legal and Professional Issues for Nurses and Midwives’ – ½ Day 9 April at Shellharbour Resort and Conference Centre; 14 May at Batemans Bay Soldiers Club; 28 May at Ex Services Memorial Club, Armidale.

Diary Dates is a free service for members. Please send diary date details, in the same format used here – event, date, venue, contact details, via email, fax and the web before the 5th of the month prior, for example: 5th of May for June 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.

The moment the curtain rose on West Side Story on Broadway, musical theatre was at once changed forever. With groundbreaking choreography by the legendary Jerome Robbins, book by Arthur Laurents, an unforgettable score by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, West Side Story created a new face for musical theatre. Now 50 years after the musical made its Australian debut, Joey McKneely’s vibrant new stage production arrives in Australia to play for a limited season at the Lyric Theatre. Packed with unforgettable songs including ‘Maria’, ‘Tonight’, ‘Somewhere’, ‘America’ and ‘I Feel Pretty’, this is a musical not to be missed. The Lamp is offering members the chance to win one of two great prizes in connection with this legendary show.

FIRST PRIZE Two nights’ accommodation, breakfast and parking at Mercure Sydney and two tickets to a preview performance of West Side Story on either 1 or 2 July at 8pm or 3 July at 2pm or 8pm. In addition to its beautifully appointed guest rooms, Mercure Sydney has a heated indoor swimming pool with panoramic views, rooftop gym, 24-hour room service and business centre.

SECOND PRIZE Two tickets to a preview performance of West Side Story 1-3 July.

‘Practical Leadership Skills for Nursing/Midwifery Unit Managers

Diary Dates


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. 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. Diary Dates are also on the web –

Mercure Sydney is offering NSWNA members a special rate of $170 per night including breakfast. To take advantage of this offer, simply show your membership card. Bookings: 9217 6666 or email To enter this month’s competition, simply write your name, address and membership number on the back of an envelope and send it to: West Side Story competition PO Box 40, Camperdown, NSW 1450. Competition closes 30 April 2010.

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. THE LAMP APRIL 2010 49






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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:

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Sign up a new member and win a fabulous Hong Kong Holiday for 2

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The Lamp April 2010  

In this issue: intolerable pressure — Western Sydney nurses fight staffing crisis.

The Lamp April 2010  

In this issue: intolerable pressure — Western Sydney nurses fight staffing crisis.