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lamp the

magazine of the NSW Nurses’ Association

volume 67 no.11 December 2010 – January 2011

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Cover story

lamp the

magazine of the NSW Nurses’ Association

6,000 + strike for ratios 10

volume 67 no.11 December 2010 – January 2011

14 Regional nurses on strike 16 Rallies for safe patient care 22 Community shows support for nurses on social media

Print Post Approved: PP241437/00033

27 TV and radio ads on One2Four 29 Delegates vote to strike




Photography by Sharon Hickey.

PRESS RELEASES Send your press releases to: F 9662 1414 E

News in brief

Regular columns



8 8 8 9 9 9

NSWNA matters 30 NSWNA has moved

Because we care 33 Keeping the spotlight on aged care


6 37 38 41 42 45 47 49

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

Christmas competition 34 Fantastic prizes to help you unwind this Christmas

Special offers 43 Win 20 double passes to Morning Glory, 25 double passes to Lebanon, Sarah’s Key and Another Year, 15 double passes to Rare Exports and 30 double passes to the preview of Heartbreaker.

44 John Stuart Vernon: Knowledgeable and compassionate mental health nurse



NSWNA COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Noel Hester T 8595 2153 NSWNA COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT Janeki Chellam-Rajendra 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


CFMEU calls for abolition of ABCC after Ark Tribe victory Senate supports motion to increase aged care funding Board consults on revising English Language Skills Registration Standard AWU investigates workplace spying allegations Nurse Practitioners and eligible midwives gain MBS and PBS access Female veterans sought for wellbeing research project Workers not happy with work/life balance

Contacts NSW NURSES’ ASSOCIATION For all membership enquiries and assistance, including Lamp subscriptions and change of address, contact our Sydney office. SYDNEY OFFICE 50 O’Dea Avenue, Waterloo NSW 2017 (all correspondence) T 8595 1234 (metro) 1300 367 962 (non-metro) F 9662 1414 E W HUNTER OFFICE 120 Tudor Street Hamilton NSW 2303 ILLAWARRA OFFICE L1, 63 Market Street Wollongong NSW 2500



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 Richard Noort, Justice Health ADVERTISING Patricia Purcell T 8595 2139 or 0416 259 845 F 9662 1414 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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Strong action for safe patient care g A successful strike resulted in the Government starting negotiations on our ratios claim.


his month’s issue of The Lamp goes to print days after the strike of 24 November. I would like to thank all those members who took the courageous decision to join our strike. I know it is not an easy decision for nurses to take industrial action. Our first instinct is always to remain at the bedside and provide care to our patients. The intransigence of the NSW Government and NSW Health – which refused to enter into meaningful negotiations about ratios during seven months of talks – left us with no choice but to take such strong action. The Special General Meeting of members at Olympic Park was a memorable occasion and will go down as an important moment in the history of the NSW Nurses’ Association. It was a day that made me very proud to be the leader of this Union. For a large number of nurses, this was their first experience of industrial action. This was one of the most encouraging aspects of the day. For most it was their first experience of a large-scale strike. The huge dose of energy, enthusiasm and commitment that they brought to the arena is a very good sign for the future health of the Union. There was just as much solidarity outside the Sydney metropolitan area. Throughout the State nurses and midwives did whatever they could to send a message to the Government that we are deadly serious about the issue of patient safety. In the end over 190 NSWNA Branches voted to support the action.

The community supports us There is widespread community support for what we are doing. As The Lamp goes to print over 15,000 people have registered their support on our campaign website It is worth reading through the comments

Next steps

After the actions of 24 November the Government will be in no doubt about our resolve. on this website. You get an appreciation of the strong support the public has for what we are trying to achieve with our campaign. They understand the pressures nurses operate under every day trying to deliver the sort of care that patients need and want. They understand the system is under severe strain. They understand the dire consequences if nothing is done. They understand and appreciate and respect what we are doing to get the whole thing fixed. We should take courage from this support. Because that is why we are doing it: To protect the interests of our patients and the integrity of the public health system.

The Special General Meeting resolved to continue industrial action through bed closures if the Keneally Government did not come back with a constructive offer about ratios within a week of that meeting. On Friday 26 November, the NSW Government gave NSW Health the authority to enter into consultation under the guidance of the NSW IRC to discuss our claims including, in their terms, workload issues. Consultation commenced at 9.30am Monday, 29 November 2010 and continues as we go to press. The NSW Government’s position is particularly galling when it is compared to the attitude and actions of the Victorian Labor Government. The Victorian Government implemented ratios nearly a decade ago and went into this month’s State election trumpeting their success and promising to improve them and extend them into other nursing areas. Regardless of the election outcome, our Victorian nurses and midwives will continute to fight to retain and improve their ratios. The Victorian nurses and the Californian nurses who have already been through similar struggles to win mandated nurse-topatient ratios (see p.12) always tell us that ratios were never handed to them on a plate. They fought long and hard to win them. We have to be conscious that we need to be resolute and may have to show similar stamina to achieve our goal. After the actions of 24 November the Government will be in no doubt about our resolve and the willingness of our members to mobilise for this issue that they are so passionate about. The ball is in their court: are they going to join nurses, midwives and the community and support mandated nurseto-patient ratios so we can deliver justice for our patients and improve the safety and quality of our public health system?„ THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011 5



LETTER of the month Jill Fisher

Take action on ratios now The November issue of The Lamp has sign-posted the way forward for nurses in our One2four campaign, only if we have the courage to follow it. In Caring Together: the Health Action Plan for NSW, NSW Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt responded to the Garling Inquiry’s findings with the recognition that nurses are ‘experiencing a sense of powerlessness and feel they cannot make changes they believe are in the interests of their patients’ – a sense that is now compounded by the NSW Government rejecting nurse-to-patient ratios. Even worse, the NSW Government wants to rob us of hard-won Award conditions. Nurses see that for the NSW Government, ‘health’ is all about money and nothing to do with patient care. If the NSW Government is serious about saving money it would mandate nurse-to-patient ratios and improve nursing skill mix. Nurses know that the money the NSW Government counts by not spending on nurses’ wages is spent tenfold on increased length of stay, unplanned transfers to HDUs and ICUs, falls, mistakes and more where the cost can’t be so easily quantified. The NSW Government blames the nurse for poor patient care and turns a convenient blind eye to the fact that nurses work in a system that sabotages every effort they make. After all, the ISBAR procedure for reporting deteriorating patients is founded on the false premise that the nurse is at the bedside to begin with. Nurses are patient advocates and so it is our responsibility to oppose the NSW Government’s attempts to emasculate us. We need to be loud. We need to be visible. We need to make it clear to the NSW Government that the consequence of understaffing NSW wards must no longer be borne solely by patients, nurses and their families. The NSW Government banks on nurses working with dangerous workloads, inadequate skill mix, paid overtime, unpaid overtime, missed meal breaks and recurrent double shifts to stop NSW 6 THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011

Talitha Reid

Support One2Four campaign Health imploding. Little wonder the NSW Government is quite comfortable rejecting nurse-to-patient ratios. Nurses are forever proving how hard we’ll work without them. We have to stop. Let the NSW Government be accountable for public anger as it shortchanges patients on delivering nurses to the bedside. The next State election is in March. There is no better time than now to get politicians on side. Now is the time to email every candidate in your electorate and tell them clearly that your vote is solely dependent on whether or not they make nurse-to-patient ratios prominent in their election campaign. Now is the time to organise rallies and marches, to email the editors of your local and daily newspapers, to gain the attention and support of the public in making nurse-to-patient ratios an election winner or loser. Now is the time to hand out nurseto-patient ratio brochures to people at your schools, shopping centres and sporting facilities. People are angry. They will tell you how nursing shortages have impacted on them or someone they know. It’s up to each of us to turn that anger into public pressure. Don’t waste a minute. Get to your keyboard. Every individual effort counts. Jill Fisher, RN, Westmead Hospital Jill Fisher won the prize for this month’s letter of the month, a $50 Coles Myer voucher.

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Having one nurse to only four patients would allow nurses to provide the comprehensive care patients need, while increasing the speed at which a deteriorating patient is detected. As a young nurse just entering the hospital system, I have already seen too many complications and even deaths as a result of nurses being overworked due to inadequate nurse-patient ratios. It’s tough for me as a nurse, but I cannot imagine how scary it is for patients. Currently within NSW Health there is no restriction on the number of patients that can be allocated to one Registered Nurse. I have seen cases where up to nine patients have been allocated to one RN. Despite this restricting the nurses’ ability to provide adequate care, if something goes seriously wrong with one of the patients the others are often left unsupervised until the situation is resolved. So much for patient safety! Detecting the deteriorating patient is something NSW Health is currently pushing. To adequately assess the patient a nurse needs time. Without time, detection occurs at a later stage of the patient’s deterioration. This often results in health complications for the patient while increasing their stay in hospital and the cost of their care. If nurse-to-patient ratios were changed to one to four, complications would occur less often and the cost incurred by NSW Health for extended hospital stays would also reduce. Please, help me, all other nurses, and all patients within NSW Health facilities by showing your support. Provide your name and suburb at Talitha Reid, student nurse

Gottosomething 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.

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

Mary Smeaton

Student request to support ratios campaign I would just like to mention and voice my support in regards to the NSWNA’s one nurse to four patients ratio. I am currently a 21-year-old, second-year nursing student at University of Newcastle and I can say this move should very well be welcomed in NSW hospitals. I have had the pleasure of meeting some amazing, smart and very knowledgeable nurses during my clinical placements throughout my study course, and I continue to meet more. I have seen the worst and the best of patients and nursing life in my placements, and am totally supporting this campaign to the end. I believe this move is not just for fairer nursing conditions but also for the people we come to work for – people we care so deeply about and want the best outcomes for, no matter what. I believe patients deserve this move. You and I can be a patient at any of these hospitals and we would expect nothing less than a nurse who is not stressed and who will provide you with determined care because, believe me, we want to. Sana Kaur, student nurse

Correction to letter In my letter to The Lamp, November 2010, ‘NSW Health needs to stop passing the buck’, which pointed out cost-cutting anomalies in our area health service, there are errors that affect the points I wished to make. The cost of a doctor for six days is $12,000 not $120,000, as printed. A CMO is a casual medical officer, not Chief Medical Officer. The outcome of our period without a doctor did prove to be very expensive. By the end of this ‘cost-cutting exercise’, our hospital paid $32,000 for ambulance transfers of 21 patients by road, and $4,000 for an air transfer, during a nine-day period between 23 September to 1 October. Our VMO suggests that with a doctor in attendance, only seven of these patients would have been sent, at the cost of $8,000-$10,000. Instead, we paid $36,000 – some cost cutting! Mary Smeaton, RN

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Tribute to Constable William Crews I wish to pay tribute to Constable William Crews, who died while on duty 9 September 2010, his family and colleagues of Campsie Police. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Campsie Police for their collaborative co-ordinating work over many years with the Canterbury Mental Health Crisis Team, achieving a positive outcome for persons experiencing acute mental illness. Cheryl Blackwell, RN, Canterbury Mental Health Crisis Team

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delaide construction worker Ark Tribe has been found not guilty of failing to attend a compulsory Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) interrogation in 2008. Mr Tribe, a rigger who pointed out safety problems on a construction site in Adelaide and was later called on to attend a secret interrogation with the ABCC, faced up to six months in jail before the ruling on 24 November. The controversial ABCC has the power to coerce construction workers into secret interviews without legal representation of their choice. Construction union the CFMEU called on the Federal Government to abolish the ABCC following the verdict. National Secretary of the CFMEU Construction and General Division, Dave Noonan, said while the relief felt by Ark and his family is hugely gratifying, the threat hanging over every Australian construction worker continues. ‘We still have a system under which an ordinary construction worker, like Ark, can be dragged through 18 months of hell for sticking up for safety on site,’ he said. ‘The ABCC has engaged in a year-and-a-half of war against an ordinary Aussie worker – and what do they have to show for it? A million dollars of taxpayer money down the drain. ‘This decision demonstrates that the ABCC has been acting illegally – in breach of its own laws. ‘This Labor Government has so far spent $100 million on faceless bureaucrats to bungle around on an ideological mission.‘ 8 THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011

Senate supports motion to increase aged care funding Greens Senator Rachel Siewert moved a motion in November to increase funding in aged care in line with CPI, which is currently at 2.8%. This figure is above the recent 1.7% increase in subsidies paid to providers by the Commonwealth. The ANF applauded the Senate for supporting the motion, but said some of the funds must be allocated to improve staff wages. ANF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said nurses and AiNs would welcome the news but there would be an expectation that any increase in funding should consider their plight as the lowest paid sector of the Australian nursing workforce. ‘The Senate has recognised the discrepancy in current funding levels and the CPI, which is good news for providers,’ Lee said. ‘What we need to also acknowledge is that nurses and AiNs who care for some of our most vulnerable citizens are paid, in many cases, a whopping 30% less than their public sector counterparts.’ Lee said any future funding increases in the sector must include transparency and should be tied to improved wages and conditions for the most valuable asset the industry has, ‘its hardworking nursing and AiN staff’.

Board consults on revising English Language Skills Registration Standard The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia has released for consultation a revised English Language Skills Registration Standard for the nursing and midwifery professions. The Board has reviewed and revised the standard that has been in place since 1 July 2010, after feedback from stakeholders that there were opportunities to improve it. The core difference in the revised standard is removal of the requirement that a practitioner’s secondary education be completed in English. Other less substantial amendments have also been made. There is no proposal to alter the English Language Skills Standard of IELTS 7 or equivalent in each of the four components –

listening, reading, writing and speaking – for all nurses and midwives to practise in Australia. The revised draft standard is published on the Board’s website. The Acting Chair of the Board, Dr Lynette Cusack RN, said the Board believed the revised draft reflected the feedback provided to date, while ensuring the standard supports the Board’s core role of protecting the public. ‘The Board welcomes comments from the profession, the community and all stakeholders on this revised draft,’ Dr Cusack said. The current English Language Skills Registration Standard will remain in place until the revised standard is finalised by the Board and approved by the Ministerial Council. The consultation process on the revised standard is open until 10 December 2010.

AWU investigates workplace spying allegations The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) is continuing an investigation into why notorious strike-breaker Bruce Townsend and his company, Australian Security and Investigations (ASI), were hired to report on workers at construction giant Thiess. AWU Victorian Secretary Cesar Melhem said the spying on workers at the Victorian desalination project appeared to be the brainchild of two now-suspended rogue executives, and not a symptom of systemic corporate activity. The AWU believes there was no breach of privacy and there were no records of workers’ activities, which would need to be destroyed. ‘This was an amateurish and completely misguided response by [executives] Marcus Carroll and Greg Miller, who acting on rumours and innuendo, hired Bruce Townsend and his company to investigate unsubstantiated claims,’ Cesar Melhem said. AWU members at Victoria’s $5 billionplus desalination plant went on strike for two days in November because of the alleged privacy breaches. After AWU leaders said they were satisfied it was a one-off incident triggered by two senior managers at Thiess, rather than a move by the company to hire ASI out of malice towards workers, the union recommended that workers returned to work. ‘We will continue to monitor the situation. Our greatest concern has always been for the privacy and wellbeing of our members, and that appears to be undamaged by this regrettable incident,’ said Cesar. The plant is due to be completed by December 2011.






n 1 November, a landmark win for nursing and midwifery was implemented when Nurse Practitioners and eligible midwives were finally able offer their patients access to MBS and PBS rebates. While some details of the legislation are still being debated, ANF Assistant Secretary Yvonne Chaperon said it has the potential to greatly increase affordable access to health professionals for all patients. ‘The way the legislation is set up, a patient can potentially walk in off the street, access the services of a Nurse Practitioner and receive benefits,’ she said. Yvonne said it was clear the community wanted the option of seeing a Nurse Practitioner and cited the success of the nurse-led clinic in Canberra, staffed by Nurse Practitioners and advanced practice nurses, which opened mid 2010. In the first two months 2,400 patients were seen at this clinic. ‘This is the community voting with their feet and should surely silence those critics from the medical profession who are convinced the community only want to see a doctor,’ Yvonne said. The move comes as a new survey reveals nurse care is highly valued by the community The Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute (APHCRI) at ANU and Health Care Consumers’ Association of the ACT (HCCA) survey found that most Australians would be happy to visit Nurse Practitioners. The research found nurses are excellent advocates for their patients and are able to provide them with more choice and better access to primary care in terms of affordability and shorter waiting times.

Female veterans sought for wellbeing research project

Workers not happy with work/life balance

A research project entitled The wellbeing of female Vietnam and contemporary veterans: An ethnography of military health personnel is seeking ex-military women deployed on any operation from the Vietnam conflict onwards to take part in a one- to twohour confidential interview, and/or focus group with other female veterans, to discuss their experiences and perceived effects of war and/or peacekeeping.

Only one in five Australians are working the hours they want to work, according to new research by the Australia Institute. A survey found that half of all respondents wanted to work fewer hours than they had worked in the previous week. For those working overtime, four in five (81%) wanted to work less, while 60% of part-time workers wanted to work more hours. The report, Long time, no see: the impact of time poverty on Australian workers, reveals that workers would prefer to work an average two and a half hours less each week than they currently are. For those currently working more than 50 hours a week, they would prefer to work almost two standard working days (13.5 hours) fewer, while people working less than 15 hours a week wanted to work around one extra day (8.7 hours) more on average. The Australia Institute’s Deputy Director Josh Fear said there is a clear mismatch between the hours the labour market makes available and the hours that people want to work.

The findings of the research will contribute to new insights into women’s service and transition experiences and the impact on their health and wellbeing. This project has been funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) to investigate the experiences and impact of deployment on female veterans. The findings of the research will contribute to new insights into women’s service and transition experiences and the impact on their health and wellbeing. This new knowledge will inform DVA policy to better promote the health and wellbeing of women veterans. The three-year project will be conducted by an experienced team of researchers for the Australian National University. Those who are interested in participating are invited to contact the principal researcher for further information. Some financial assistance will be available for travel expenses, if required, on completion of the focus group. Personal details and any responses by participants that could identify them will remain confidential to the research team, unless otherwise specified by the participant, and will not be passed on to DVA. Participation in this project will not in any way affect people’s pension, benefits or any health services that they are entitled to from DVA. For further information, contact Dr Samantha Crompvoets, principal investigator at the Australian National University, on 02 6125 1310 or email

There is a clear mismatch between the hours the labour market makes available and the hours that people want to work. ‘Bringing the standard working week down to 30-35 hours would mean that many people would be working the hours that better reflect their preferences. By giving work/life balance greater priority we could create an additional 390,000 jobs for the unemployed and the underemployed,’ said Mr Fear. The survey also found that people caring for a disabled family member suffer the effects of time poverty very acutely; carers expressed a desire to work six hours less per week than they currently do. Three in four carers (75%) reported feeling always or often rushed or pressed for time, and most (50%) said that work had prevented them from looking after someone who needed them in the past week. The Institute’s Executive Director Dr Richard Denniss said a variety of changes in the workplace, by individuals and through policy intervention, is needed. THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011 9



More than

6,000 strike for ratios


ore than 6,000 nurses and midwives walked off the job on Wednesday, 24 November 2010, and gathered at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre for the biggest meeting of NSWNA members ever held. By 11am, the vast stadium had filled up with a sea of red, blue and white, with nurses and midwives sporting the now ubiquitous campaign t-shirts and waving hand-painted signs and placards. The atmosphere was electric. The passion nurses and midwives are feeling about safe patient care and the need for nurseto-patient ratios was undeniable. Members arrived at the stadium on ‘strike trains’ from Central and Lidcombe stations, and regional members from Goulburn, Orange, Coffs Harbour, Bega, Kempsey, Lismore, Wollongong, Tamworth, Dubbo, Hunter and the Blue Mountains boarded buses as early as 4am to attend this historic gathering. While nurses gathered for the mass meeting at Olympic Park in Sydney, Branches in regional areas throughout NSW also organised activities to show their determination to win ratios.

‘We deal with patients when they are at their most vulnerable, yet we don’t have the staffing to give these patients the care they so desperately need, when they need it most. ‘It is my professional obligation to fight for their safety, and I won’t stop until we have achieved one to four nurse-to-patient ratios.’ Jo Hensler, EN, Kempsey District Hospital

Brett Holmes told members: ‘The resolve and courage shown by members today is a proud moment for the NSWNA and the nursing profession. Taking strike action is not something nurses and midwives do lightly. In fact, it’s been nine years since the NSWNA last went on strike. But the fight for ratios is the most important in living memory and the most serious action is required. ‘First and foremost nurses are advocates for our patients. As advocates we will do what it takes to protect them.’ NSWNA President Coral Levett took the stage and said, ‘We are deadly serious about this. This is just the start. We want

‘In 28 years of nursing, I’ve never felt so strongly about the need to speak out about an issue. We would all prefer to be at work but the people of NSW need to know what’s happening out there.’ Diane Gordon, RN, Liverpool Hospital 10 THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011

the Premier, the Health Minister and the Director General of NSW Health Debora Picone to hear our message.’ The crowd’s response was several minutes of thunderous applause. There to support NSW nurses and midwives were ANF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas, ANF Victorian Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick, and Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon. The NSWNA also received messages of support from the Californian Nurses Association; the AMA; Warren Anderson, whose daughter Vanessa paid the ultimate tragic price of a health system in crisis; the NSW Police Association; the Fire Brigade Employees Union; and the Queensland Nurses’ Union. ANF Secretary Lee Thomas said the entire ANF was standing behind NSW nurses and midwives in their fight for ratios. Nurses and midwives also recounted their recent experiences, which demonstrate the consequences of what happens when our public hospitals and services are not properly staffed.

g Nurses and midwives at more than 190 public hospitals and community health services went on strike on 24 November and pledged to close hospital beds if the NSW Government does not meet the NSWNA demand for ratios.

Left to right: NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda, General Secretary Brett Holmes and President Coral Levett at the Special General Meeting.

Diane Gordon, RN, described chronic under-staffing in the coronary care unit at Liverpool Hospital, juggling critically ill patients and constantly prioritising which are most critical. Luke Marks, RN, described the untenable pressure caused by under-staffing at Orange Base Hospital Emergency Department. Vicki Meredith, midwife at St George Hospital, explained how one midwife can be caring simultaneously for four labouring women, and Jo Hensler spoke of the stress of being an EN responsible for observing 14 patients in Kempsey ED because not enough senior nurses are available.

Members walked off the job after the NSW Government refused the NSWNA claim for mandated ratios in medical, surgical, emergency, palliative care and rehabilitation wards, inpatient mental health units, and improvements in operating theatres and critical care areas, community health, and community mental health. NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes said the NSWNA had attempted to negotiate many times with NSW Health over seven months but it had failed to respond meaningfully. ‘Mandated nurse-to-patient ratios were introduced in Victoria 10 years ago

and have resulted in a safer environment for patients, have reduced nurse shortages and improved nurse retention rates. ‘Nurse ratios have been so successful in Victoria that the Victorian Labor Government has committed to expanding and improving them. ‘We may well have to send a message to the NSW Government at the ballot box in a few months,’ he said. At the meeting, members unanimously voted to pass a resolution to start closing hospital beds from 7am on Wednesday, 1 December, if a constructive offer has not been received from the NSW Government.„ THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011 11



There to support NSW nurses and midwives: ANF Federal Industrial Officer Nick Blake (left), ANF Vic Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick (second from left), and ANF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas (third left).

‘Make sure this is your legacy’


he Special General Meeting received strong encouragement and wise words of advice from two nursing unions who have already been through battles for ratios and won – the Californian Nurses Association and the ANF Victoria. ANF Vic Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick described the long, bumpy road travelled by her members. ‘In Victoria, ratios were not just handed over. We fought for ratios in 2000, and had to fight in 2001, 2004 and 2007 to keep them,’ she said. Lisa said it has taken Victorian nurses


10 years to win and consolidate ratios in the Victorian public health system. ‘Now the Victorian Government has made a commitment to extend and improve ratios as part of its election platform,’ she said. ‘Ratios will only be achieved with determination and courage. Make sure this is your legacy.’ The Californian Nurses Association also sent a strong message of support. ‘It was direct-care nurses that led the charge on behalf of our patients and fought off repeated hospital industry attempts to erode the ratios, including a famous year-long fight with our famous

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who tried to roll back the law in late 2004. But we prevailed as you will too.’ ‘Stay the course, sisters and brothers. Our thoughts are with you at this critical juncture in the ANF Vic Secretary fight for the safety Lisa Fitzpatrick of your patients and the future of the profession!’„

Westmead Hospital Branch.

OTHER MESSAGES OF SUPPORT Warren Anderson (Vanessa’s father): ‘As with many factors that contributed to Vanessa’s death, the most heartbreaking part was a department adhering to a budget as a priority over patient welfare. In other words, our daughter could be with us now if the budget allowed the two empty highdependency beds just 20 metres away to be staffed, but they weren’t. ‘When you are fighting this cause keep in mind the terrible experiences of the nursing staff that were on duty and responsible that night. The commission refusing to give hearing on your claim must be made aware of the shocking Members on the ‘strike train’ to the Special General Meeting in Homebush.

consequences that will inevitably result should the 1 to 4 ratio not happen.’

Lee Thomas, Federal Secretary ANF: Today is an important day in the history of your professions. You are making a strong and united stand for your patients and yourselves. Today the strength of the entire Federation of 196,000 members is standing with you in your fight.

Gay Hawkesworth, Secretary, Queensland Nurses Union: Queensland nurses and midwives stand with you in support of your vital campaign to ensure safe patient care. Our thoughts are with your dedicated members taking this important action. If there is anything the QNU can

do to assist your members in their courageous efforts please do not hesitate to call upon us – we will be there for you.’

President of the Australian Salaried Medical Officers’ Federation (NSW), Dr Tony Sara: ‘As doctors working in the public health system alongside nursing staff, we see the effects everyday of nurses working short-staffed and with not enough senior nurses looking after patients. Minimum nursing numbers, together with an appropriate skill mix, will contribute to the effectiveness of healthcare teams and go a long way to improving the health care that the NSW community receives.’ Go ratios! Young supporter Breanna Barnett.




Members from Grafton Hospital walked off the job to support the NSWNA’s campaign for ratios.

Regional nurses on strike g Members at regional and rural public hospitals in NSW took part in the strike by holding rallies in their local areas. Delegations from the ANF ACT Branch and ANF Federal representatives joined Queanbeyan Hospital staff in rallying for ratios.

Six on-duty and two off-duty nurses at Maclean District Hospital took industrial action from 11.30am to 1pm. The Branch decided to walk through Maclean CBD speaking with shopkeepers, customers and passers-by, handing out flyers to explain the campaign, as well as doing letterbox drops and car drops. Overwhelming support was received by all Maclean residents and visitors. Comments included ‘Keep up the good work’, ‘You deserve it’, and ‘About time’. There was also excellent community awareness about the campaign. 14 THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011

Wollongong members on the bus to the Special General Meeting.

Kempsey nurses on strike and determined to win ratios.

Resolution to close beds g At a Special General Meeting at Olympic Park on 24 November members unanimously passed a resolution to close hospital beds if the NSW Government does not meet the NSWNA demand for ratios.

Photo credit: The Macleay Argus


his Special General Meeting resolves that: Public health system nurses and midwives will start closing hospital beds so that safe patient care can be provided from 7 am on Wednesday 1 December. The NSW Government can stop these bed closures by giving the Nurses’ Association a constructive offer about ratios, as well as pay and conditions, by no later than 7am Tuesday 30th November. If NSWNA Council believes there are reasonable prospects of progressing the offer to a proposed settlement no later than 13 December, 2010, Council may delay the commencement of the bed closures to progress negotiations. Any proposed settlement of the NSWNA 2010 Award claim will be determined by a vote of NSWNA Branches.

One2four Action Plan – Bed Closures and Service Restriction

Members from Shoalhaven rallied at the hospital, then marched down Junction Street in Nowra to draw the public’s attention to the need for mandated nurse-patient ratios.

During the bed closure plan all patients who require emergency care will be provided with that care. Exempted Areas: The bed closure plan to ensure safe patient care will occur in all wards and units except for the following exempted areas: c oncology patients c palliative care patients c haemodialysis patients c maternity wards/units where occupied by maternity patients c paediatric beds where occupied by paediatric patients c Emergency Departments, including Psychiatric Emergency Care Centres c Intensive Care Units, Coronary Care Units and High Dependency Units c terminations of pregnancy c Category 1 and emergency surgery, and emergency and priority diagnostic procedures and booked caesarian sections. The plan includes: c 1 in 4 ‘operational beds’ will be closed on every ward/unit in public hospitals and health services. Beds that are generally

STOP PRESS After the successful strike on 24 November, the NSWNA Council decided to lift the plan for bed closures after the State Government finally gave NSW Health the authority to engage in constructive talks about our ratios and skill mix claim. For the past seven months, the Department would only negotiate about pay and other aspects of the claim. Ratios were immediately dismissed as not for negotiation. It was the strong, resolute action of members throughout the State to strike that was the direct catalyst for this change of position by the Government. However, beds will be closed if there is not meaningful progress in the talks.

closed or not regularly used, such as ‘surge’ beds, will not be opened. c 1 in 4 booked operations or the equivalent in Operating Theatres will be cancelled, including endoscopy and day surgery. c 1 in 4 outpatient appointments will be cancelled. c 1 in 4 non-urgent home visits and clinic appointments by community health and community mental health nurses will be cancelled. c In addition, up to 3 additional beds on every ward/unit will be closed and reserved for clinically-determined emergencies. c residential aged care patients assessed as needing high care accommodation will not be discharged or transferred to low care facilities. All normal staffing rosters will be maintained including the replacement of staff on leave during the action. Nursing staff on wards and units who are additional to those needed to provide safe patient care due to bed closures will work as additional support in Emergency Departments, if requested by their Emergency Department colleagues.’„ THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011 15



Rallies for safe patient g Public hospital nurses and midwives across NSW rallied for nurse-topatient ratios.


SWNA Branches across the State held lunchtime rallies to show the NSW Government they are serious about winning nurse-to-patient ratios. Members took to the streets after the State Government refused to respond to the NSWNA claim for mandated nurse-to-patient ratios. NSWNA Branches at nearly every public hospital and community health service in NSW endorsed the ratios claim, which would guarantee a minimum staffing ratio and skill mix for every shift in public hospital wards and units. 16 THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011

Rallies were held 3-12 November at Prince of Wales Hospital, Mount Druitt Hospital, Wollongong Hospital, RPA Hospital, Nepean Hospital, Gosford Hospital and Gosford Mental Health Unit, St George Hospital, Westmead Hospital, Bankstown Hospital, Royal North Shore Hospital, Concord Hospital, Liverpool Hospital, John Hunter Hospital, Blacktown Hospital, Orange Base Hospital and Bathurst Base Hospital. At the St George Hospital rally, NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes explained that staffing in NSW hospitals is done to budget and is not necessarily based on genuine, safe patient care requirements. ‘Nurses report that an increasing number of medication errors have occurred because of the heavy workload. That is not a good development. Safe patient care is undoubtedly compromised.

‘The workloads management clause in the current NSW Nurses and Midwives Award is not proving rigorous enough to address issues such as these. ‘The overwhelming feedback from NSW nurses is that ratios, with the right skill mix, are the way to get hospital management to fill vacancies and provide the staffing levels required to give quality, safe patient care and to protect the health and well-being of nurses. Victoria has these ratios and if Victoria can do it, NSW can do it,’ said Brett.„

Right: Royal North Shore Hospital members showed their support for nurse-to-patient ratios by signing the giant postcard: (signing the postcard) Louisa Charlton; (back, left to right) Emma Ashton, Edward Makepeace (delegate), Malcolm Leabon (Branch Secretary), Kristina Yu and Ruth McKinnon.

‘1 : 4 – the way to safe patient care’: (left to right) Ruth Swanton, Alicia Agius and Virginia Tesoriero.

Royal North Shore Hospital Branch held a lunchtime rally on 5 November to show they are serious about getting nurse-to-patient ratios. Members and the community, including members of the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association, signed a giant ‘1 Nurse: 4 patients’ postcard (pictured, centre).





Members from Liverpool Hospital rallied for safe patient care.

Rallies for safe patient Almost 200 members turned out for the Rally for Ratios at St George Hospital.


Liverpool Hospital Branch members demanded ratios.

Members from John Hunter Hospital came out in support of the campaign for nurse-to-patient ratios.

Karen Oldfield, EN, from the Royal Newcastle Centre.

care Members at Gosford Hospital showed their support for ratios.

NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes (left), Antoinette Borg, Nurse Manager (second from right); Melanie Lax, NUM (right) at the St George Hospital rally.

Over 60 nurses rallied for ratios at Gosford Hospital. ‘We don’t normally get such a large turnout to meetings but everyone is talking about ratios and how it would benefit us,’ said Meg Pendrick, TEN. THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011 19



Nurses from Orange Base Hospital came out in support of safe patient care and nurse-to-patient ratios.

Rallies for safe patient Richard Ycasiano, EN, mental health nurse (left), believes ratios will save patient lives.

Bankstown Hospital Branch rallied for nurse-to-patient ratios. 20 THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011

Blacktown nurses rally after attack


urses from Blacktown Hospital rallied in November after a nurse in the mental health Psychiatric Emergency Care Centre (PECC) unit

was attacked. ‘It’s happened before,’ said Alyson Chapman, CNS and mental health nurse and the Branch Secretary. ‘Two years ago it was a doctor who was injured. Management is trying to address the physical issues in regard to the building – they are redesigning the PECC unit and installing a new duress alarm system.’ At least 50 members from two Branches – the general hospital Branch and mental health Branch – gathered just outside the hospital to highlight the need for mandated nurse-to-patient ratios.

‘The rally was kicked off by the attack on a nurse in psych, but falls right into the Association’s staffing ratios claim,’ said Alyson. Staffing numbers impact on these types of attacks, according to Alyson. ‘If you get someone in who is quite psychotic, and the doctor is already backed up with three people, some evenings can get really busy. We can be hours waiting with these patients. It’s unpredictable and stressful for staff because we are short-staffed.’ The rally was a great success and helped to draw attention to the NSWNA’s ratios campaign. ‘Lots of people were very supportive; cars tooted as they went past. We’re only a small hospital but we feel very encouraged by the Association and its claim on our behalf,’ said Alyson.„


At the RPA Branch rally, patient Peter Boyle (seated), spoke out in support of nurse ratios and attended the RPA rally to support nurses. Jan Dilworth, Branch Secretary, RN, CNC (left) with members.





Community shows support for nurses on social media g Facebook, Twitter, Nurse Uncut, and a dedicated campaign website are all playing an important part in spreading the message about the NSWNA’s campaign for mandated nurse-to-patient ratios to the public.


he online environment is a huge part of any social justice campaign nowadays, so the NSWNA has created a campaign website One2four, with the tagline ‘the way to safe patient care’. The website contains information about the NSWNA’s campaign, along with downloadable brochures and easy ways for the public to show their support for our campaign. This includes a ‘speak out’ section, which lists the email and postal addresses of major newspapers so people can send a letter to the editor, and a ‘register your support’ section, which allows visitors to submit a comment to the site in support of our campaign in just a few seconds. We’ve also made full use of social media networking. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter help to create a buzz and to get campaign messages out to the widest possible audience. On Facebook, in addition to the NSWNA’s official page, a One2Four fan

page has been set up, which already has more than 2,500 fans expressing their support for ratios. With almost 1,000 followers to the Association’s account, Twitter has also been a key strategy for updating people on what’s happening with Campaign One2Four and what they can do. And in the spirit of social media networking, our ‘tweets’ are ‘retweeted’ by our followers so they potentially reach thousands of people. Finally, the NSWNA’s own Nurse Uncut blog is being utilised to spread the word that NSW needs mandated ratios to ensure safe patient care and the health and wellbeing of nursing professionals. ‘Social networking is a very useful way of reaching out to the general public to garner support for our campaign for ratios,’ said NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda. ‘Combined with our mainstream media ads, these additional outlets have enabled us to put the need for safe patient care firmly in the minds of Australians.’„

TWITTER ONE2FOUR FACEBOOK FAN PAGE!/pages/One2four-the-way-tosafe-patient-care/137329086317935




15,000 messages of support g At the time of printing, more than 15,000 nurses, midwives, doctors, patients and members of the public had left messages on the One2Four website in support of the NSWNA’s nurse-to-patient ratios campaign.

WHAT THE PUBLIC SAY ABOUT PATIENT SAFETY Warren Anderson (Vanessa’s father): ‘I admire the nurses for fighting for an issue that clearly was a factor that contributed to the death of our daughter Vanessa. The shame of your fight is the fact that it is now five years since Vanessa died at RNS and in between we have had a Garling Report with 139 recommendations. It’s a disgrace that you have to even raise this as an issue. If there is any way that I can help you in this please let me know. As I have always said our issue is not with the nurses in relation to Vanessa’s tragic death, it was the very thing that you are fighting for now, sufficient levels of staffing to maintain the welfare of your patients. Maybe then we will have more nurses come back to the industry. Good luck – I’m sorry you have been left to fight this battle.’

WHAT NURSES AND MIDWIVES SAY ABOUT PATIENT SAFETY Jen Smith: ‘Nurses want to be able to do their whole job. When I have 8-10 patients on a shift I don’t get to do everything that I need. In small rural hospitals the issues are more acute with even less staff. When a really sick person comes in overnight they may need three nurses to stabilise them, leaving one nurse for 22 to 28 patients on one ward and 1 to 14 on the other.’

Amanda Chapman: ‘I work in the busiest ED in NSW and we are constantly expected to cope with increasing workloads with no

WHAT NURSES WHO HAVE LEFT HAVE TO SAY Jacqueline Bell: ‘It is vital nurse-patient ratios are set 1:4. It will retain more nurses in hospital-based nursing as it will be less stressful. I have left this field of nursing due to the frustration at being unable to care adequately for my patients on a busy ward.’ 24 THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011

Zahra Dewji: ‘I was recently in hospital with Ulcerative Colitis. I buzzed my nurse many times to help me to go to the toilet as urgency is one of the main symptoms, but she was too busy with 10 patients that night. I had to disconnect my own drip from the wall and take myself to the loo for fear of having an accident, knowing that she would have been too busy to help clean me up if I did!’

Catherine Mason: ‘During my father’s last admission to hospital (age 78) we hired our own nurse special for him as we could see the staffing was totally inadequate. Result – no bed sores, regained swallow reflex quickly, no agitation leading to excess sedation and my mother went home at a reasonable hour so did not herself get ill and need admission. We’d be happy to pay more in tax instead, if we could be sure it would go to more nurses at the bedside.’

increase in nurses. We average 220-230 patients a day. On a daily basis we are three to four nurses per shift short, senior staff are leaving as they have had enough, the number of patients we see is rising per month and we are only asking to be given the resources to do our jobs properly.’

Anne Bruce: ‘I have recently worked in a public hospital on a Rehab Ward. Eight patients in two rooms, as a casual RN. One room had four patients with MRSA, and the other room had four patients who were not mobile. Out of the eight patients under my care, only seven were able to walk within the Rehab Ward! I had to work between both ‘four-bed’ rooms, with very high co-morbidity patients, including patients with MRSA. Need I say any more!’

Jennifer Fancett: ‘I am a burnt-out RN, no longer work in my chosen profession due to the constant demand of unpaid overtime, double shifts, being short-staffed and often going without breaks. Ratios will relieve this burden and nurses will not need to leave the profession they love.’

on One2Four

WHAT A STUDENT NURSE SAYS ABOUT PATIENT SAFETY Alyssa McRae: ‘I’ve worked as a student nurse in hospital wards and watched an RN struggle with having a patient load of 12 patients. The RN who had the other side of the ward was caring for 14. Things need to change.’

Facebook fan page comments Sue:


‘I think it’s only fair on nurses that the ratio be 1:4. They all do such a great job. We need to support them.’

Jeannette Kegreiss: ‘The ratio system is working well in Victoria. Nurses there are happy and staff are coming back to the public hospitals. I believe it would be in the best interest to the NSW Health System to introduce ratios of 1 nurse to 4 patients here in NSW and maybe consider doing this throughout the whole country. This way all hospitals and services would be uniform throughout the land just like our registration/enrolment is now uniform throughout the land. This way more staff would come back to the service or not leave in the first place.’

Susan Quinn: ‘I have worked as an RN/RM in Victoria with the one to four ratios. We were able to give high quality care to our patients. The staff morale was high and we went home knowing we had done a good job. NSW on the other hand, we’re being flogged to death, everyone is leaving and huge errors are being made, morale is appalling, and I for one, will be retraining to leave the profession for good.’

WHAT DOCTORS HAVE TO SAY Dr William Turnbull: ‘The relationship between inadequate qualified nursing staff numbers and adverse outcomes for patients is well recognised. This situation must be addressed as a matter of urgency in all acute care wards (including psychiatric wards) in all metropolitan and rural hospitals in NSW.’

Dr Graham Hill :

Lee: ‘If all the nurses in NSW called in sick on the same day they would realise how important they are and pay them a wage equal to the responsibility of the job and give them the conditions to match the same.’

Billy: ‘I’m sending this to everyone I know ... please do the same.’

Kerry: ‘About time. Gotta take a stand. Unfortunate for the patients but if Vic can do it why not NSW and all states, then we won’t have burnt-out creaky nurses that have been in the frontline for past plus 30 years ... Hey, I’m with ya all the way.’

John: ‘Over 10 years ago I had a stay in hospital, I was in a great deal of pain and was in the end given something for it. I reacted badly and had a nurse checking on me every 10 mins, taking my blood presure etc, and talking to me reassuringly the whole night. I found it very comforting and was very grateful for the care I was given. I hope the support all nurses are deserving of is given to them also.’

Kimberley: ‘Get on board and support the overworked and understaffed nurses in NSW!’„

‘I believe the one to four ratio is critical, and should be supported by the NSW government.’ THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011 25

Nurses see it all. Now they can tell it all. WRITE IT. SHOOT IT. SEND IT.

The 2011 Nurses’ Short Film Festival. Showing at the Randwick Ritz Cinema, Monday 9 May 2011. Entries close 25 February 2011 Enter now for your chance to win


for full details of the 2011 film festival and to check out the 2010 finalists’films: The NSW Nurses’ Association Short Film Festival is proudly sponsored by: 26 THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011



How many patients can one nurse be safely responsible for?

TV and radio ads spread One2Four message


he NSWNA’s campaign for mandated nurse-to-patient ratios has been broadcast into people’s homes and cars via our TV and radio ads. Two TV ads have been created. One features nurse Claire Brunton, who worked for 11 years

in NSW hospitals and now works in Victoria. She talks about the benefits of ratios and why NSW needs them. A second ad shows a stressed nurse desperately rushing from one patient to another trying to help them, with a voiceover talking about why a ratio of one nurse to four patients is necessary.

Both ads end by encouraging people to visit the NSWNA’s campaign website A radio version of the ad featuring Claire has also hit the airwaves. Watch the ads at www.one2four.„

Send a message to the Government. Register your support at THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011 27

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Delegates vote to strike g NSWNA committee of delegates gave the green light for a statewide strike by public health system nurses and midwives.


he NSWNA committee of delegates (COD) unanimously voted for a statewide strike by public health system members on Wednesday, 24 November. At a COD meeting on 16 November, more than 250 workplace delegates, representing nurses and midwives from hospitals, health services and aged care facilities throughout the State, passed a resolution (see box) giving the go ahead for strike action. Delegates voted that on 24 November nurses and midwives would provide life-preserving services at all times, but would reduce services to current night duty staffing levels at each facility for the period generally between 7am and 5pm. NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes told delegates, ‘After numerous meetings, the NSW Government is still rejecting the NSWNA claim for mandated nurse-to-patient ratios. ‘We have no choice but to escalate our action,’ said Brett Holmes. In the days following the delegates’ meeting, NSWNA members at NSW public hospitals and community health services voted on whether their facility would join the statewide strike and, if so, for how long.„

RESOLUTION FOR STRIKE ACTION The following resolution proposing strike action was passed by NSWNA delegates on 16 November. ‘This meeting of the NSWNA Committee of Delegates representing nurses and midwives from across NSW asks the Council of the Association to call a Special General Meeting and strike of public health system members (excluding Affiliated Health Organisations) on Wednesday 24 November. ‘Our industrial action is a last resort in response to the State Government’s refusal to implement mandated minimum nurse-to-patient ratios, which will provide safer patient care, and its refusal to provide a pay and conditions offer without unfair strings attached. ‘We condemn the Government for its intransigence during months of negotiations and its refusal to employ enough nurses and midwives to provide safer levels of care for NSW residents. ‘Unlike the Victorian Labor Government, which last week announced improvements to its mandated nurse-to-patient ratios, the NSW Labor Government refuses to guarantee nurse staffing levels. ‘Our Government is also refusing to employ 1,000 Registered Nurses who will graduate from NSW universities this month and forces hospital managers to restrict recruitment of nurses and midwives to meet budgets rather than patients' needs. ‘On 24 November nurses and midwives will provide life-preserving services at all times, but will reduce services to current night duty staffing levels at each facility for the period generally between 7am and 5pm. The Special General Meeting will hear a report back from the Association leadership on any developments in negotiations for safer patient care and recommend the next steps in the campaign.’ THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011 29



NSWNA has moved g The NSWNA has moved into new premises that will see us go forward as the Association and nursing and midwivery professions grow from strength to strength.


he NSWNA has a new home. After 22 years at our previous address in Camperdown and four premises changes in our 80year history, we have moved to a building that will accommodate the next phase of the Association. Each move we’ve made over the years has reflected the growth of membership and of the profession. In 1931 we had just hundreds of members, whereas today membership stands at 54,000. The new building, located in Waterloo, befits the growing status of nursing as a profession and the Union. It was officially opened on 14 November by Ged Kearney, ACTU President and former ANF Federal Secretary, who told attendees that returning to the NSWNA was like ‘coming home’. Uncle Max Eulo, an Indigenous elder of the Redfern community, performed a smoking ceremony to cleanse the space of negative energy. When searching for new premises,

The new building, located in Waterloo, befits the growing status of nursing as a profession and the Union. we were keen to find a sustainable building, and 50 O’Dea Avenue boasts a plethora of ‘green’ credentials. These include rainwater harvesting, energyefficient hot water and air conditioning systems, recycled materials, water-saving tapware and fixtures, and external louvers and sun-glare blinds on the glazing to reduce the heat load and need for air conditioning. A dedicated space for bicycle parking has also been installed. Another benefit is that we can now accommodate all Delegates for meetings, whereas previously we had to hire external lecture theatres.„

ACTU President Ged Kearney (second from left) officially opened the new building. Pictured with her from left to right are NSWNA President Coral Levett, General Secretary Brett Holmes and Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda.


A lot has changed since the NSWNA moved to 43 Australia St in 1989.

50 O’Dea Avenue boasts a range of ecofriendly credentials.

NEW NSWNA ADDRESS AND CONTACT DETAILS 50 O’Dea Avenue Waterloo. 2017. Phone (remains unchanged): 1300 367 962 (non metro); (02) 8595 1234 (metro) Fax: (02) 9662 1414 Postal address: same as above.

Aboriginal elder Uncle Max Eulo performed a smoking ceremony to cleanse the new building of any negative energy. THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011 31




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Keeping the spotlight on aged care g Members are encouraged to organise community stalls, have a presence outside the Productivity Commission’s hearings, and talk to their local MPs.


he NSWNA is ramping up the next stage of the Because we care campaign, which will take place between now and March, with the aim of keeping aged care on the Government’s agenda. There are three strategies planned – and we need your help to ensure their success.

Community stalls to collect signatures The Association is aiming to collect 20,000 signatures on a petition to the Productivity Commission, which is undertaking a review of aged care in Australia. The petition asks people to support the ANF’s submission to the Commission, in particular its recommendations regarding the introduction of minimum staffing levels, wages increases, accountability of funding and licensing for all care staff. The petition was started online on the Because we care website prior to the election. People can still sign online at, but will also have the option of signing a paper version. Members are encouraged to get involved with holding community stalls in shopping precincts or events in their local area. The NSWNA can help with organising stalls and will supply petitions and materials to set up your stall. ‘These stalls organised by members are a fantastic way of engaging the public with aged care issues. Having petitions at the stalls will allow people to take action and do something practical to help aged care nurses and improve the aged care system,’ said NSWNA Assistant General

Secretary Judith Kiejda. ‘I strongly encourage members to consider setting up stalls in their local communities.’

Lobby outside the Productivity Commission’s premises The Productivity Commission is expected to release its preliminary ‘Caring for Older Australians’ report in January, after which it will hold a series of roundtable consultations before submitting the final report to the Minister in June 2011. The NSWNA is calling on members to be available to stand outside the Commission’s premises during these roundtable discussions.

REGISTER YOUR INTEREST IN TAKING ACTION If you would like to run a stall collecting petitions in your local community, or have a presence outside the Productivity Commission’s premises during the roundtable consultations, contact Stella Topaz at the NSWNA on 8595 1234 or email

‘We are hoping to get 50 to 100 nurses at each event to stand outside the building reminding people not to forget nurses during the discussions,’ said Judith.

Contact your MP The ANF and NSWNA will be visiting MPs who have taken on a new seat or role to make sure they are aware of the Because we care campaign and to encourage them to support it. Members are urged to contact their new local member if they have one, by sending a letter or making an appointment to visit the MP. ‘We now need to lobby the new Federal Government,’ said Judith Kiejda. ‘The Government made aged care a second-term election commitment; now we need to keep active so they follow through on that promise. It’s important for members to do their part to keep aged care on the agenda.’„ THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011 33



Happy holidays! g It’s been another year of hard work and campaigning by NSWNA members. To celebrate Christmas and our achievements, we’re pleased to offer you the chance to win one of these fantastic prizes. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



in a two-night stay for two at the Mercure Sydney, with breakfast and parking, plus tickets to some amazing shows during Sydney Festival. In Power Plant, Sydney’s tranquil Chinese Gardens at Darling Harbour will be transformed into an enticing nocturnal fantasia of sound and light by five UK-based sound and visual artists who specialise in site-specific installations of a grand-scale. My Bicycle Loves You is a wildly imaginative, often surreal, modern-day fantasy that pays homage to the spirit of Vaudeville. In this world premiere by Australia’s Legs On the Wall, performers and musicians work alongside acrobats and multimedia experts to create a unique Festival event. For four nights only, the Festival transforms the newly refurbished Sydney Town Hall into swing-dancing heaven in Trocadero Dance Palace. The re-imagined Trocadero Dance Palace will feature a huge

dance floor, a fabulous floorshow, aerial artists and sizzling swing music played by Sydney’s spectacular all-girl big band, Sirens Big Band, just as an all-girl big band did in the Troc’s halcyon days. Prize includes: c One family ticket for four our to Power Plant c One double pass to Myy Bicycle Loves You c One double pass to Trocadero Dance Palace (includes pre-show dance class!) Major prize winner gets a two-night stay for two at the Mercure Sydney and a double pass to see one of the three Sydney Festival ther events of your choice. The other two winners win a double pass each to one of the other two performances. Entrants need to indicate what performance they wish to see on the back of an envelope.

SUMMER VIEWING The Lamp has five prize packs of: c Creation DVD ($39.95) c South Solitary DVD ($39.95) Creation is a deeply moving and inspirational story of how Charles Darwin conceived one of the most explosive ideas in history: the theory of evolution. South Solitary is an intoxicating, playful tale of love and lighthouses, starring Miranda and Barry Otto. Creation is available to rent or buy on Blu-ray and DVD from 17 November 2010 and South Solitary is available from 1 December 2010.

HOW TO ENTER To be in the draw for one of these fabulous prizes, write your name, address, membership number, and the prize name and number you want to win (a separate entry/envelope is required for each prize), on the back of an envelope and mail to: NSWNA Christmas Giveaway • 50 O’Dea Ave Waterloo NSW 2017 34 THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011

ENJOY A RELAXING BEACH GETAWAY The Lamp is offering members the chance to win a seven-night stay for four people at the Beach Getaway Port Stephens. Just two hours’ drive north of Sydney, Shoal Bay is perfectly posi positioned as an ideal coastal destination for a re retreat. Enjoy the comforts of home in this beautifully decorated ‘holiday feel’ accommodation just seconds walk to the Shoal Bay Beach. You can choose between the two-bedroom unit appointed or

upgrade yourself to the spa-bath, threebedroom unit. Visit the Shoal Bay Country Club just metres away for restaurants, entertainment, food and beverages. Port Stephens Getaway prize is for two adults and three children staying at the Beach Getaway, effective 1 January 2011 until 31 December 2011 excluding school holidays. To book, call (02) 4984 9570 or visit

BE BOWLED OVER BY CRICKET TICKETS Sports enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that The Lamp has 10 double passes to the RTA SpeedBlitz Blues v Queensland/Lend Lease Breakers vs ACT Double Header cricket matches on 29 January. The KFC Twenty20 Big Bash continues

to grow with the RTA SpeedBlitz Blues playing three blockbuster home matches at ANZ Stadium against Western Australia (9 January), Tasmania (19 January) and Queensland (29 January). There is always plenty at stake in these matches with national bragging rights, and a place in the 2011 Airtel Champions League up for grabs. There will be plenty of stars in action too including David Warner and Brett Lee. The match on 29 January will also include a Women’s National League

Twenty20 curtain raiser, with the Lend Lease Breakers taking on the ACT. ning The winning tickets are for general seating – there is no reserved seating. Tickets for all matches are available now through

GIVE YOUR FACE A TREAT W are offering a gift We b basket of Revlon skincare aand cosmetics valued at m more than $350 to one luc member. lucky This collection includes a selection

of Revlon’s latest colour and skincare products including cleanser, moisturiser, lip products, eye products and many more Revlon products designed for the woman who demands both performance and fashion.

SUMMER READING Kick back on a balmy summer day or evening and enjoy one of two six-book gift packs from Penguin. PACK 1: c GONE by Margaret Wilcox c Corsair by Clive Cusser c Reading by Moonlight by Brenda Walker c Women of the Outback by Sue Williams c A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman c At Home With the Templetons by Monica McInerney

c c c c c c

PACK 2: Time Out for Living by Estelle Pinney Outback Pioneers by Evan McHugh The Girl Next Door by Elizabeth Noble The Alphabet Sisters by Monica McInerney The Hunter’s Wife by Katherine Scholes Glory Girl by Peter Yeldham.„

Competition closes 17 December 2010. IMPORTANT: Only one entry per member for each competition will be accepted. Entrants must write which prize they would like to win on the back of the envelope. THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011 35



Q & A





What are the notice periods if I want to resign?

What can I do about car parking rates?

I am employed in a small GP clinic and covered by the new Modern Award. I have been informed that there are new notice periods which, depending on my years of service, I need to advise my employer if I want to resign. Is this correct?

I recently commenced work at a public hospital where new staff must be placed on a waiting list for subsidised car parking or pay the full casual rate for car parking, which is approximately $30 per day. What can be done about this?

Yes, that is correct. Section 117 of the National Employment Standards provides the following explanation: ‘1. Not more than 1 year service: 1 week notice 2. More than 1 year but not more than 3 years’ service: 2 weeks’ notice 3. More than 3 years’ but not more than 5 years’ service: 3 weeks’ notice 4. More than 5 years’ service: 4 weeks’ notice.’

Unfortunately, privately-operated car parks can set their own rates for parking. You could contact your management to ascertain the timeframe of when you can expect to be able to access the discounted rate or there may be options such as a stored value card. If the delay is extended, you could contact your Branch officials to investigate if a long-term solution can be negotiated.

Can ENs carry drug keys?

Do I need liability insurance outside the workplace?

I am an EN in an aged care facility and have recently been advised that I am to carry the drug keys, including the S4 and S8 drug keys. I have been told in the past that only an RN could carry the drug keys. Is this correct?

Yes, that is correct. Under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 2002 clause 29, for schedule 4 drugs and clause 74, for schedule 8 drugs, a nurse is required to carry the drug keys. A nurse under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act is defined as ‘a person who is a registered nurse in the meaning of the Nurses Act 1991’. The drug keys must also be kept separate from any other keys such as storeroom cupboards and so on.

I am aware I do not need to take out professional indemnity insurance individually as I am covered by my employer’s vicarious liability. However, what happens if I provide assistance outside of work, such as in a traffic accident?

The Civil Liability Act provides protection to those who act in good faith in an emergency. It also covers by-standers, who do not act. Therefore, it is not a requirement that you need professional indemnity insurance individually to cover the chance of an emergency that occurs outside of the workplace.

Can I be forced to work overtime? I work on a busy surgical ward in a public hospital and there has been a lot of sick leave lately. As a result, the After Hours Managers have been telling afternoon shift staff that they must work a double shift instead of getting a staff replacement. Many staff have been intimidated into working when they haven’t wanted to. Can management insist on you working a double shift?

The Public Health System Nurses’ (State) Award states in clause 25 Overtime: ‘(i)(a) Subject to paragraph (b) of this subclause an employer may require an employee to work reasonable overtime.’ It further states in subclause (i)(b): ‘An employee may refuse to work overtime in circumstances where the working of such overtime would result in the employee working hours which are unreasonable.’ Subclause (c) outlines what is unreasonable as the following: ‘(i) any risk to employee health and safety; (ii) the employee’s personal circumstances including any family and carer responsibilities; (iii) the needs of the workplace or enterprise; (iv) the notice (if any) given by the employer of the overtime and by the employee of his or her intention to refuse it; and (v) any other relevant matter.’ So while the employer can ask if you can work the overtime, they must take into consideration the above factors, and if the employee is too tired to work overtime (health and safety), or has children at home that require their care (carer responsibilities) then other options need to be explored.„

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What’s hot on Nurse Uncut g Debate on where a nurse should learn their craft – university or hospital? Workplace violence towards nurses – what should you be looking out for? Do bedrails up mean you’ve restrained a patient? Nurses’ diets – what are you really eating? Nurses discuss One2Four, and don’t forget to check out Nurse Uncut ( for details on our Christmas contest!

HOT TOPICS Where should a nurse learn their craft? and au/nursing-training-should-it-bereturned-to-hospitals

Since the move of nursing education from the hospital setting to the university setting nurses have debated where the best place to educate the fledgling workforce is – university or hospital?

University-based education means nursing is seen as a profession with baseline standards for education with students learning more of the theory behind the workings of the healthy body and disease processes, ethics in nursing, critical thinking, basic skills and how nurses are a patient’s advocate and educator. Hospital-based education means students learn how to work as part of a multi/inter-disciplinary team, how to interact with patients and gives them an opportunity to utilise basic skills under the guidance of a practising nurse. However, there are pitfalls to both – read the full story on Nurse Uncut and have your say.

Workplace violence towards nurses – what are the indicators? www.nurse au/workplaceviolence-towardsnurses-what-arethe-indicators

Health-care workers must routinely handle patients who are delirious, agitated, and even aggressive, especially on psychiatric units, in EDs, and in nursing homes. Sometimes when these conditions escalate they become full-scale assault – and nurses are often the victims. There are numerous reports in the media of nurses being injured, or worse, by patients. Just last week the death of a Filipina

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Win a $200 Christmas goodie basket or 2 x $150 Elsevier book vouchers – check out all the contest details at www.nurse uncut.

One2Four – The Way to Safe Patient Care Nurses can discuss the one2four campaign in a specially dedicated forum at:,com_ccboard/Itemid,24/ forum,13/topic,576/view,postlist/#ccbp3300 You don’t need to register to leave a comment. It’s open to everyone!

‘It’s about time something is being done about this issue. All nurses are overworked and in my field of mental health it can be downright dangerous having too many patients to care for during a shift.’ ‘I left clinical nursing because after 20 years of it worsening slowly we got to the point that providing worthy care to patients was like pushing water uphill.’ Visit our forums and and show your support!

Nurses’ diets – What are you really eating?

Do you think night shifts, or shift work in general, is linked to unhealthy eating habits? Recent studies have shown that nurses are more likely to be obese than

many Americans. In fact, a Harvard Nurses’ Health Study showed that about 56% of nurses could be classified as overweight. Is this due to bad eating and snacking habits in the workplace such as too much caffeine, sugar and too much snacking in general? If so, how do you break those habits? What are your eating habits when you work night shift? Tell what you think at Nurse Uncut.

Do bedrails ‘up’ mean you have restrained a patient?

A post from one of our bloggers Gordo: ‘We have a problem at my workplace.

The bedrails are considered a form of RESTRAINT, and must be approved by the VMO (resident’s GP), before a nurse can apply them. This is regardless of whether or not the resident is prone to falls, cannot weight bear, is an amputee etc. We are told it is “illegal” to place the bedrails up without a doctor’s order and the NOK written permission. For those of you who work in aged care, what happens at your facility? Do you think the need for all the documentation is reasonable? I’d like to hear what happens elsewhere.’ Check out the full post at Nurse Uncut.„

Hj 1368.2

nurse working in a California jail raised concerns over the ‘disturbing trend of violence’ faced by medical care professionals in potentially violent workplaces. Share your views with us at Nurse Uncut.





Podcasts for nurses g Downloadable audio files are a great way for busy nurses and midwives who are short of time to explore topics of interest. This month Nursing Research Online presents a sample of the wide range of health-related information on the web that can be listened to while undertaking other activities.

National Health Medical Research Council

Health Check

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is Australia’s peak body for supporting health and medical research; for developing health advice for the Australian community, health professionals and governments; and for providing advice on ethical behaviour in health care and in the conduct of health and medical research. The NHMRC provides a substantial range of podcasts on a variety of topics.

The BBC World Service’s weekly roundup of global health stories and topical issues in medicine. Recent topics include the relationship between a woman’s fertility and her blood group, telemedicine, the eradication of polio, new hopes for people with Parkinson’s Disease and why the drug ketamine is so popular in Hong Kong. podcasts/index.htm

Austin Health Austin Health is the major provider of tertiary health services and health professional education and research in the northeast of Melbourne. Austin Health is world-renowned for its research and specialist work in cancer, liver transplantation, spinal cord injuries, neurology, endocrinology, mental health and rehabilitation. Austin Health comprises Austin Hospital, Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital and the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre. The company’s podcast series highlights current research activities.

BBC World Service series/healthc

Medical Matters BBC Radio 4

The latest medical information and advice from Radio 4’s health programs. In Case Notes Dr Mark Porter takes an in-depth look at a different topic each week, speaking to doctors, patients and researchers about the latest treatments. In All in the Mind, psychologist, Claudia Hammond examines how we think and why we behave as we do. Recent discussions include the question ‘Does paying people to be healthy work?’, an exploration of the issues of consent when giving a patient a blood transfusion and an investigation of good and bad fats and how they impact

on our health, from trans fats associated with heart disease to the health benefits of fish oils. series/medmatters

NPR: Your Health Podcast National Public Radio (USA)

The Health Desk brings you the latest in consumer health and medical news reporting. Recent topics include PTSD and veterans, and the right of disabled people to receive care at home. story.php?storyId=1027

Health ABC Radio National

A great deal of interesting information is available as audio files on the Radio National website. Recent topics include nurse home visiting programs in the US, underactive thyroid and associated risk for heart disease, and discussions of current health reforms.„ health/






Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale g A Finnish film that offers a completely different – and somewhat dark – take on Santa Claus.


he story begins in a wild and isolated mountain community in Northern Finland, where an American researcher declares that the world’s greatest archaeological discovery is about to be unveiled. Simultaneously, we meet two boys,


M MORNING G GLORY ‘From the team behind Devil Wears Prada, Morning Glory stars Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton.’ 6&$1:,7+<28502%,/( 72:$7&+75$,/(5



Copyright © 2010 PARAMOUNT PICTURES. All Rights Reserved.

When hardworking TV producer Becky


one exceedingly fearless and the other, Pietari, terrified with what they have just overheard: that these men are about to unearth the real Santa Claus. Interestingly, reluctant and anxious Pietari is in fact the hero of this story. The child’s uncanny understanding of the real Santa Claus prepares him for what Fuller is fired, her career begins to look as bleak as her hapless love life. Stumbling into a job at national morning news show, ‘Daybreak’, Becky decides to revitalise the show by bringing on legendary TV anchor Mike Pomeroy. Unfortunately, Pomeroy refuses to cover morning show staples – let alone work with his new co-host, Colleen Peck, a former beauty queen and longtime morning show personality. As Mike and Colleen clash, Becky’s blossoming love affair with her fellow producer begins to unravel – and soon Becky is struggling to save her relationship, her reputation, her job and ultimately, the show itself. ONLY AT THE MOVIES 6 JANUARY

Review by Chris Benellie Ladera, RN, St Vincent’s Hospital

ultimately needs to be done to triumph against those who wish to protect Santa Claus. When children, potato sacks and heaters begin to disappear, Pietari along with his father, Rauno, and other deer hunters, are caught in a battle against Santa’s elves who will stop at nothing to free their beloved leader. Finnish film director Jalmari Helander explains that for the movie the goal was to make a new kind of Christmas tale. And he has done exactly that. The film offers an alternative truth about Santa Claus, moving away from the modern jolly old man with the trademark red coat. After watching Rare Exports, Christmas in my home will never be the same. I had unwittingly watched this ‘Christmas’ movie with my mum. Unfortunately, far from the typical feel-good holiday movie, we were astonished by the twisted events that ensued. This film is not one that will be easily forgotten. Its dark humour is not for everyone, and you would probably have to keep this one locked up away from any child’s reach. It does, however, successfully blend horror and comedy. It opens a Pandora’s box of ‘what ifs’, and this is what makes this film truly entertaining. I guarantee that this year, no one would want to be on Santa’s naughty list.„ Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale opens on 2 December.

ANOTHER YEAR Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. Family and friendship. Love and warmth. Joy and sadness. Hope and despair. Companionship. Loneliness. A birth. A death. Time passes... The film stars Academy Award winner Jim Broadbent (And When Did You Last See Your Father?), Lesley Manville (Vera Drake) and Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake). Another Year opens on 27 January.

Our reviewers and tipsters receive a delightful ABC Classics CD for uplifting enjoyment! Gifts so good, you won’t want to give them away. There is an ABC Shop near you. For locations visit or call 1300 360 111. Ask about our rewards program.

Review by Susan Miles, RN, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

Heartbreaker g A romantic comedy with high jinks, ‘dirty dancing’ and Wham.


his romantic comedy is in a league of its own, with wit, charm, a breathtaking romance and stunning scenery. Set in Monaco and Paris, two cities known for romance, we meet Alex (Romain Duris), who is charming and funny. Cool and irresistible to women, he offers a professional service: to break up couples. For a fee he will stake out any husband, fiancé or boyfriend

LLEBANON L Lebanon is set in June 1982 during J the t First Lebanon War. A lone tank and a paratroopers platoon are dispatched to search a hostile town – a simple mission that turns into a nightmare. The i i h Th four members of a tank crew find themselves in a violent situation that they cannot contain. Motivated by fear and the basic instinct of survival, they desperately try not to lose themselves in the chaos of war. Lebanon opens on 2 December.

and turn them into an ex. The lengths he goes to achieve this includes fake identities, stakeouts, and the odd slap. The target is Juliette (Vanessa Paradis), young, beautiful and an heiress with word-perfect knowledge of Dirty Dancing, a love of Wham and a year spent in secret. Alex is hired by Juliette’s dad to stop her marrying the man of her dreams, Lincoln. The wedding is set to take place in 10 days in Monaco. Alex, with a support team of two – his master of all disguises sister and her mad husband – set out to undo the engagement. They hatch a perfect plan: Alex poses as Juliette’s bodyguard and the job commences. Along the way there are ridiculous

SARAH’S KEY Sarah’s Key stars Kristin Scott-Thomas as Julia Jarmond, an American journalist who’s been living in France for 20 years. Julia is investigating the terrible rounding up of Parisian Jews and their incarceration rceration in the bicycle stadium, Vel’d’Hiv, during the Nazi occupation of France. Tracing her way back through events, her path crosses that of Sarah, who was 10 on that

scenes: phone tapping, faulty air conditioning, singing along to Wham and of course the clincher, ‘The dance scene from Dirty Dancing’. This movie has it all: fast cars, high Monaco fashion, a hilarious seduction that includes Alex being caught by a ruthless personal creditor, angry exes, and the race against time to turn Juliette off the dream man in her life. Alex’s perfect plan becomes unstuck when he discovers that when it comes to love the perfect plan doesn’t exist. The film, complete with subtitles, is a delight from start to finish. Alex has an atypical romantic hero look, more Russell Brand than Mr Darcy, but the movie is believable and like all good romances leaves you with a smile as you walk out of the film. Take a girlfriend and enjoy the dance scene.„ Heartbreaker opens on 26 December. fateful day in July 1942. For Julia, what was intended to be a subject of an article then becomes of a personal nature, revealing a family mystery. How do two destinies, 60 years apart, interweave to reveal a secret that will shake the foundations of the lives of Julia and her family? The truth from the past sometimes has a price in the present. Sarah’s Key opens on 26 December. The Lamp has 20 double passes to Morning Glory, 25 double passes to Lebanon, Sarah’s Key and Another Year, 15 double passes to Rare Exports and 30 double passes to the preview of Heartbreaker. To enter, email lamp@ with your film preference, name, membership number, address and contact number. First entries win! THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011 43



Knowledgeable and compassionate mental health nurse JOHN STUART VERNON 12 September 1962 – 15 May 2010


adly, John died prematurely, as all those near enough to him are aware of and are still trying to assimilate. John trained in England but moved to Australia and in July 1993 started to work as an RN in Mental Health in rural NSW. I recall meeting him in 1994 and found him to be a wonderful clinical nurse who exemplified what most would consider as the ideal mental health nurse: patience, application of knowledge, sound judgement, and most of all fairness and compassion.

As a manager, his application of the aforementioned qualities remained a constant within an area of nursing that is renowned for its ‘greyness’. His dignity and fairness within his managerial role remained a notable quality. He always attended to his duties and did so with without much fuss or difficulty. His notable ‘wry’ grin, humour and foresight about mental health practice and its perpetual challenges will always be a treasured memory, and a yardstick for my own practice – and I am sure others will agree. Aside from his professional role,

he was a dedicated family man, and is survived by his lovely wife Jenny, and two children Charlotte and Samuel whom he loved dearly. Nursing is much poorer for losing John, a wonderful nurse and a role model for so many. You may have left us, but you are not forgotten. I remember fondly our mediocre games of golf, our chats, and your gentle, loving nature. From all of us, we miss you mate.„ By Mark Hopwood, EEN, Ramsay Health


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Book me Havard’s Nursing Guide to Drugs (8th ed.) By Adriana Tiziani, Mosby (available through Elsevier Australia), RRP *$63.00 : ISBN 9780729539135 In this latest edition of Havard’s Nursing Guide to Drugs information is presented in a user-friendly guide that can be accessed by either therapeutic class or by body system. As with previous editions, each drug has been reviewed to ensure its relevance to the health-care setting.

Teaching Cultural Competence in Nursing and Health Care (2nd ed.) By Marianne R. Jeffreys, Springer publishing (available through Elsevier Australia), RRP *$92:00 : ISBN 9780826117878 Teaching Cultural Competence in Nursing and Health Care provides a model to guide cultural competence education in academic and health-care institutions as well as professional nursing associations. The book features

discussions of key issues, the dynamics of diversity in the classroom and workplace, tools for assessment and evaluation, and educational activities for easy application in academic and practice settings. It is also appropriate for related health-care professions, from recuperation specialists to medical doctors. The book additionally offers a peer-reviewed, field-tested, digitally available assessment toolkit for academic and health-care institutions, and for nursing organisations and associations.

Nursing Against the Odds: How Health Care Cost Cutting, Media Stereotypes, and Medical Hubris Undermine Nurses and Patient Care. By Suzanne Gordon, Footprint Books, RRP *$38.95 : ISBN 9780801472923 The text Nursing Against the Odds, focuses on the conditions that affect the nurse who gives direct care to sick, ageing, chronically ill, and dying people, and on those who do the critical work of teaching and supporting nurses who provide that care. It shows how they are the critical clinical educators who play an important role in prevention – helping patients

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

Me are based on information received and have not been independently reviewed.

PUBLISHERS’ WEBSITES c Elsevier Australia: c Mosby: home.jsp?sgCountry=AU c Wolters Kluwer Health / Lippincott Williams and Wilkins: c Footprint Books: c Springer Publishing:


Celebrating Nursing: A Visual History B Dr Christine By H Hallett with foreword bby Associate Professor SStephanie Fox-Young, A Ausmed Publications, RRRP *$59.45 (includes Postage and hhandling) : ISBN 99780980366280 Celebrating Nursing: a Visual History is an inspiring tribute to the breadth and depth of nursing from the earliest times to the present day through a combination of art, photographs, recollections and history.

to learn and follow treatment regimens safely, to adjust to and recover from illness and disability, and to help them function in a world that their disease and injury may have permanently altered.

Fundamentals of Nursing and Midwifery: A Person-Centred Approach to Care By Jennifer Dempsey, Jill French, Sharon Hillage and Valerie Wilson, Wolters Kluwer Health / Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, RRP *$132.00 : ISBN 9781920994051 Fundamentals of Nursing and Midwifery: a Person-Centred Approach to Care is an introductory level textbook designed specifically to meet the needs of nursing and midwifery students. The text provides a comprehensive overview of all the key information required for introductory course/s offered in undergraduate programs in Australia and New Zealand. Person-centred care is introduced and highlighted throughout to provide a focus on the individualistic, interactive and wholistic nature of nursing and midwifery care.„ *Price in Australian dollars at time of printing THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011 45

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Sydney Nursing School’s specialist postgraduate coursework and research degrees prepare nurses and midwives for leadership in clinical practice and research. Learning from leading academics and clinical experts, you’ll gain the skills and knowledge to provide optimal care and contribute to important decisions about future trends in treatment, patient care and disease prevention. From graduate certificate to master’s you’ll find our programs challenging, rewarding and relevant. Choose from:


– Clinical Nursing – Cancer and Haematology Nursing – Clinical Trials Practice – Emergency Nursing – Intensive Care Nursing – Mental Health Nursing – Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) In 2011 we are offering Commonwealth Supported Places for postgraduate coursework students. This means you’ll save approximately $1300 per unit of study. Join us to help shape the future of health care. For more information head to: 46 THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011

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Test your knowledge in this monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nursing crossword. 1





















22 23



26 27



1. Clotting within a blood vessel (10) 6. A bandage or a prop (5) 9. The internal bony framework of the body (12) 10. A smear of vaginal or cervical cells (3) 11. Embryonic formation of muscle cells or fibers (10) 13. Be pregnant with (5) 14. The procedure of cutting into parts (8) 15. Immunoglobulin E (3) 16. A light blow (3) 17. Supplied by a single nerve (10) 18. Red blood count (3) 20. Defective development (7)

23. Teething (10) 24. Recuperation, where symptoms of an acute disease gradually subside (5) 26. Response of the body against a substance normally present in the body (4,6) 27. The mass of the body (6)



1. An instrument for indicating temperature (11) 2. Affected by radiation (11) 3. Excision of the breast (10) 4. Excessively fat (5) 5. Reversal of position or location (5, 8)

6. Having two eyes (9) 7. Infection with fungus Aspergillus, seen in people with a deficient immune system (13) 8. Swelled; bloated (13) 12. The shortest and smallest of the three styloid muscles (12) 19. Cimex (3,3) 20. Mad dog weed (6) 21. To remove or destroy the function of (6) 22. The elbow (5) 25. An irritating sensation that produces a desire to scratch (4) Solution page 49 THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; JANUARY 2011 47



Made Incredibly Easy! Everything you need to strengthen your nursing skills in this award-winning and easy-to-follow series.



Discount Pathophysiology P C Covers cancer, infection, immune disorders, genetics, and more. Reviews pathophysiologic g processes, signs and symptoms, diagnostic test p findings, and treatments for more than 150 fi disorders. d $ $63.80 reduced to $54.20 9780781779128 A Anatomy & Physiology R Reviews the core concepts of A & P and offers detailed coverage of every body system, nutrition, d fluids and electrolytes, reproduction and lactation fl aand genetics. Includes pocket-sized study cards for on-the-go review. o $63.80 reduced to $54.20 $ 9780781788861 N Nursing Pharmacology EExplains an often overwhelming topic in easy-tou understand terms for today’s rapidly changing h health service. Includes real-life problems and how tto administer drugs, quizzes that test learning and m memory joggers that reinforce your learning. $ $63.80 reduced to $54.20 9781901831047 9

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Wed 16 March

Lisa Marasco Exploring the tangled web of insufficient milk supply 9.45 am Dr James McKenna Evolution, science and culture in relationship to breastfeeding, cosleeping and SIDS. Prevention: never sleep with baby? Or keep me close but keep me safe? 11.20 am Gillian Opie Biotics: Pre, pro or both? 12.20 pm John Senior Vitamin D 2.10 pm Lyn Craig (Sydney), Ellen McIntyre (Adelaide), Sara Javanparast (Perth) The breastfeeding and working mother: effective support through breastfeeding-friendly childcare and workplaces 2.25pm Lisa Marasco Exploring galactagogues and milk supply 3.20 pm James McKenna Humankind’s oldest and most successful sleeping arrangement; mother/baby co-sleeping with breastfeeding in evolution and in laboratory (an evidence-based perspective) 8.45 am

ONLINE SEMINARS Register for the on-line seminar and access all the information and speakers from Program 1 (Dr Alison Stuebe, David Clark, Dr Foteini Hassiotou, Professor Lesley Barclay) and Program 2 (above) right from your computer screen. The online seminars can be viewed at your convenience from your home or workplace. For more information go to

COUNSELLING WORKSHOPS Tuesday 8 March Workshop 1 & 2 for more information go to

REGISTRATION COSTS HOW TO ORDER... Email or Call +61 2 9212 5955 quoting the reference

LAMP1110 Get 15% offf all books in the Made Incredibly Easy! Series until December 20th 2010! Place your order 48 THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011 today while stocks last. *inc. GST. No postage charge for Australian orders.

Live Seminar: $180 ($160 ABA/LRC subscribers) Register for a live seminar and get access to the online seminars for only $50 extra!

Please check for further details This program is supported by funding from the Australian Government

Diary Dates 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.

DIARY DATES Conferences, seminars, meetings SYDNEY, HUNTER & ILLAWARRA Ausmed Conference • ‘Guidance for Infection Control’ for Nurses: 6 Dec, Quality Hotel Cambridge. • ‘Dealing With Difficult Situations With Relatives’ 2-day Seminar: 16 & 17 Dec, Quality Hotel Cambridge, Surry Hills. • ‘Safety at Work – Dealing with Highly Unpredictable Situations & Behaviours’ for nurses and allied health workers: 9-10 December, UTS. Cost: $451. • ‘The Management of Persistent Pain – incl. Advanced Cancer Pain’ 2-day seminar: 3-4 March 2011, Quality Hotel Cambridge, Surry Hills. • ‘Trauma & Emergency Nursing Skills’ 2-day seminar: 28-29 April 2011, Quality Hotel Cambridge, Surry Hills. Contact: (03) 9375 7311 or Nurses Christian Fellowship Conf. 6 Dec, 6pm, BBQ - Balls Head Waverton Contact: Jane, 9449 4868 Change Champions’ Masterclass: Radical Health Care Reform under a Minority Government. Facilitated by Pippa Bagnall 7 December, Parramatta Contact:, 9692 0533,

INTERSTATE AND OVERSEAS Ausmed Conference • The Management of Persistent Pain, including Advanced Cancer Pain, 2-day seminar: 27-28 January 2011, The Pavilion Qld Cricket HQ and 17-18 February 2011, Hotel Ibis 15, 21 Therry Street, Melbourne • Trauma & Emergency Nursing Skills – 2-day Seminar for general nurses: 3-4 March 2011, The Pavilion Qld Cricket HQ • Guidance for Infection Control: 7 March 2011, Hotel Ibis 15, 21 Therry St, Melbourne Contact: (03) 9375 7311 or M&K Update Ltd • Gynaecology Assessment and Examination: 24-25 January 2011, London; 3-4 February 2011, Edinburgh; 17-18 March 2011, Manchester. • Phlebotomy (Venepuncture): 21 March 2011, Manchester • Injection Technique Training: 9-10 May 2011, London; 16-17 May 2011, Edinburgh; 20-21 June 2011, Manchester NEW: pay by instalments. Open to individuals ONLY and only in agreement with M&K in advance. Split payments for your course/conference booking with up to four spread payments. Contact:, 017687 73030,

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 –

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 Frontiers of Pain – Australian Pain Society 31st Annual Scientific Meeting 12-16 June 2011, Darwin Convention Centre, NT. Contact: (02) 9954 4400, aps2011@, www. Maria Hulme (née Honner),


Crossword solution

Armidale & New England Hospital, 30-Year Reunion – Light Green Group Seeking interest. Contact: Brian Rapley, 6366 3242 or

Tamworth Base Hospital PTS 1981 30-Year Reunion 5 February, The Tamworth Hotel Contact: Joanne.McIlveen@hnehealth.; Ruth.Barwick@hnehealth.; Cheryl Werthiem or Lynette Stewart, 6761 8606 St Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst, March 1978 PTS, 30-Year Reunion March 2011. Contact: Patsy Sullivan, psu34047@

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If you’re a member of a union The Super Members Term Deposit interest rates are up to 0.25% p.a. more than the interest rates for a Standard Term Deposit. See for eligible super funds and unions. Fees and charges may apply. Terms and Conditions available on request. This is general information only and you should consider if this product is appropriate for you. Members Equity Bank Pty Ltd ABN 56 070 887 679.

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COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IN PREGNANCY Evidence-based clinical considerations for Midwives Midwives in Australia are frequently confronted with questions from pregnant women about the safety and efficacy of complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs). The workshop will cover the principles, philosophies, use and standards of practice of common therapies accessed by pregnant women and their midwives. This course is approved for 14 MidPLUS points. FOR ENQUIRIES OR ENROLMENT PLEASE CONTACT US P: 0420 231 700 E: W:

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Part of Australia’s Largest Motoring Group THE LAMP DECEMBER 2010 – JANUARY 2011 51

Simple super answers for busy women As a woman, your life is already filled with all sorts of matters. But that doesn’t mean you don’t care about your super. To get super answers fast – and find out more about the issues that affect women and super, here’s the place for you:

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The Lamp December 2010 - January 2011  

In this issue: more than 6,000 strike for ratios.

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