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lamp the

magazine of the NSW Nurses’ Association

Print Post Approved: PP241437/00033

volume 64 no.1 February 2007

RPA celebrates WIN

2 THE LAMP February 2007


About The Lamp

c o n t e n t s

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

Cover story

RPA celebrates win 12 Cover RPA branch members Karen Creighton, CNS, and Clinton Davis, CNS

The lamp produced by Lodestar Communications T 9698 4511

News in brief

From the field

8 Ramsay seeks greater teaching role 8 Tell your story to Workers Radio 9 Little History of Australian Unionism 9 Patient deaths linked to poor staffing

32 Fertility nursing ripe for growth 35 The day my boiler burst

Industrial issues 14 Iemma pledges to protect nurses’ rights at work 19 Wages fall in NSW 19 Andrews seeks to widen sacking powers 19 Another ‘protected by law’ sick joke 19 James Hardie finally pays up

Nurses active in protest 20 National Day of Action against IR laws 23 Stamp of approval for fair employers

Professional issues 26 NSWNA education calendar

Agenda 24 Auditor General backs union on workloads tool 30 Why nurses really get the blues 31 Education key to happy nurses



Lifestyle 38 Members’ tips Netball gives Belinda bounce 41 Film review The Tale of Miss Potter 45 Book me

Notice 42 2007 NSWNA Council election

Obituary 43 Robyn Jeanette Nolan

Regular columns 5 Editorial by Brett Holmes 6 Your letters to The Lamp 37 Ask Judith 51 Our nursing crossword 53 Diary dates


NSWNA communications manager Noel Hester T 8595 2153 NSWNA communications assistant Russell Burns T 8595 1219 For all Lamp editorial enquiries, letters and diary dates: Editorial Enquiries T 8595 1234 E M PO Box 40 Camperdown NSW 1450


Press Releases Send your press releases to: T 9550 3667 E The Lamp Editorial Committee Brett Holmes, NSWNA General Secretary Judith Kiejda, NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Coral Levett, NSWNA President John Lyons, Coonabarabran District Hospital Jonathan Farry, RPA Hospital Mark Kearin, Wyong Hospital Roz Norman, Tamworth Base Hospital Stephen Metcalfe, Lismore Base Hospital Therese Riley, St George Hospital Advertising Patricia Purcell T 8595 2139 or 0416 259 845 F 9550 3667 E Records and Information Centre - Library To find old articles in The Lamp, or to borrow from the NSWNA library’s nursing and health collection, contact: Jeannette Bromfield, RIC Coordinator T 8595 2175 E 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. Ex-members can subscribe to the magazine at a reduced rate of $44. Individuals $60, Institutions $90, Overseas $100.

4 THE LAMP February 2007



We will always defend nurses’ interests g A court decision on the in charge of shift allowance shows the value of a fair and reasonable industrial relations system.


t’s always good to start off the year in a positive way and the win by nurses at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for the right to be paid the in charge of shift allowance is a boon for us all (see story page 10). The victory at RPA is not only a great win for nurses at that hospital but is likely to have implications across the Sydney South West Area Health Service. Nurses at a number of other hospitals and services in the SSWAHS may also be entitled to back pay as a result of the fine campaign at RPA. These nurses have again proven the relevance and effectiveness of union activity. It is also evidence that this union will never flinch from defending the interests of nurses. We will always stand up to protect our members’ rights. One of the lessons of the win at RPA is that nurses need a fair industrial relations system in order to improve their jobs. It reaffirms our confidence in the NSW state system’s capacity to deliver decisions which are fair and reasonable. The Area Health Service has indicated it will appeal the decision – as is their right – and the fact that they can proves that the system treats all parties fairly. This is the civilised way in which employer-employee relations should be conducted. All parties have a forum to make their case. All have access to expert representation. An independent umpire weighs up the evidence and delivers a decision within a framework of fairness

and affordability. Avenues of appeal exist for all parties. This is a model that has evolved from and is consistent with the democratic and legal structures that have served this

We face two elections – one at state level and the other at the federal level. Although the debate about John Howard’s laws has been largely conducted at the federal level it is important to understand that it is also very much a state issue and deserves to be at the forefront of the upcoming NSW election. Although the laws have been enacted at the federal level their impact is felt locally and the state political parties have a duty to take a stand on this issue in the interests of NSW workers. We believe all the political parties in NSW should stand up to John Howard and say the laws are unfair, they are unnecessary, they are detrimental to the interests of workers and the local economy and they should be replaced with laws that are fair and reasonable. John Howard never mentioned these laws before the last federal election. He has never been given a mandate to implement them. But one of the strengths of our democratic system is that there is always an occasion down the track to make politicians accountable for such opportunistic behaviour. These elections are a form of appeal and we should take advantage of them. The laws are so extreme and farreaching – and in the long term will impact to the detriment of all nurses and their families – that the NSWNA believes the 2007 state and federal elections should be a referendum on these IR laws and the provision of good health care.n

‘The 2007 state and federal elections should be a referendum on the IR laws and the provision of good health care.’ country well for over a century. As we have consistently outlined in The Lamp over the last two years this system is under mortal threat from the Howard government’s IR laws. I believe history will show 2007 as a pivotal year for nurses and all workers in this country with work conditions, livelihoods and economic security all at risk.

THE LAMP February 2007 5


l e t t e r s

letter of the month Judith Hoy

Invaluable ENs

Vicki Blanch

Equal pay for all nurses As a registered nurse working within an aged care assessment team (ACAT), I have had the privilege and pleasure to visit many aged care facilities during the course of my work over the past 11 years. Today, with my colleague who is a social worker, I visited a nursing home in our local area, a facility I had visited many times before. As I walked around the rooms, I was struck by how much more dependent many of the residents were compared to a few years ago. Most were bed bound, needing full care (including second hourly pressure area care), feeding, hoist transfers, PEG feeds, and so on. The residents who were not so physically disabled had severe cognitive impairments. In short all of the residents required very skilled, intensive nursing care. Any nurses working in aged care facilities deserve our full support and respect for what they do, and need to be renumerated at the same rate as nurses working in other fields. Anything less devalues the important work they do for their residents who are often vulnerable and frail. Vicki Blanch, NUM, St Josephs Hospital Vicki Blanch won the prize for this month’s letter of the month, a $50 David Jones voucher.

6 THE LAMP February 2007

I am writing in reply to a letter in the December issue of The Lamp, titled ‘Wagga’s disappointing attitude to ENs’ As the NUM of a surgical ward at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital I have a responsibility for the employment and professional development of nurses on my ward. As such I wish to correct a few of the inaccuracies in the above mentioned letter. I have a number of ENs currently employed on my ward, many of whom are endorsed and give out medications to their allocated patients. I also actively employ TENs on completion of their

training and find they are a valuable contribution to the team. One of the core selection criteria for all enrolled nurse positions at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital is medication endorsement or an undertaking to complete the endorsement within 12 months. I along with the RNs and the remainder of the staff support and encourage ongoing education for all nurses. The advent of endorsed enrolled nurses has been of great benefit to the ward and is appreciated by all the registered nurses. We work very hard as a team to achieve the best results for our patients and for each other. Incorrect claims to the contrary do nothing but damage the morale of this team and individual staff members. Judith Hoy, NUM, Wagga Wagga Base Hospital

Peter Allen

Pressures in aged care The current poor climate in aged care is creating cost and profit pressures that are eroding quality. Profit has been steadily declining due to increasing costs of goods, services and staff and an income that is not indexed to meet these increasing costs. Providers have been forced to cut costs, aggressively sourcing goods and services at the lowest possible cost. This alone will lead to inevitable quality problems as cost takes precedence over quality. Staffing is the major cost area and the largest savings can be obtained by reducing the most expensive wages – those of registered nurses. RNs will continually be forced out of aged care until only those required by regulation are left and all care will be delegated, directed and attended by very few, possibly even only one registered nurse. The major causes of this change are cost containment by the government in conjunction with an accreditation system that is deliberately designed to show compliance while allowing reduced expenditure on quality staffing. By

progressively keeping aged care costs down we reduce the costs for the government. The accreditation process, which is meant to be a quality tool, is in reality a political tool designed to assure the community that residents in aged care receive quality, when in fact there continues to be a deteriorating quality. The process is subjective, the criteria are not measurable and the outcomes therefore are not valid. The community has no idea the system is pulling the wool over its eyes. There are many good providers who wish to provide quality care, however they are being distanced from such standards by a government determined to keep costs to a minimum. Solving the problem is reliant upon improving accreditation to ensure valid measures of quality. In particular, measures of care and improvements to income which ensure income remains indexed to a level which meets the cost, profit and quality needs of the aged care system. Peter Allen, Care Manager, Wollongong Nursing Home

Got something to say?

Send your letters to: Editorial Enquiries email fax 9550 3667 mail PO Box 40 Camperdown NSW 1450 Please include a photograph along with your name, address, phone and membership number. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.

the trouble Ken Wildy

Orders aplenty As nurses we deal with death and its aspects are multi-faceted, be they in ICU or ward settings. However, I ask you all to give serious consideration to your legal status and professional understanding of the many ambiguous and ill-worded progress notes associated with NFR orders – the medicolegal conundrum due to the lexicon used in health care delivery. My five months of careful research on this subject shows there is no legal standing whatsoever for such ‘orders’. In talks with MOs some do not like the use of the word resuscitation. No state law exists on this subject. There has never been a case at law on this matter. No policy exists, despite what we nurses are told. There is a vast ocean between a directive and an exact written policy. Have you ever read one on DNR? Let me know please! As it stands NFR is not an order as such but a linguistic statement. DNR is more correct and is in fact an order. So what do we do as nurses who are faced with new admissions that are ‘flagged’ but there is no admitting MO available? We are trained to be advocates for the patients and not servants to the MOs. My ultimate goal would be to have a universal compulsory question on admission to cover this important matter, given the aged population we are all dealing with. It can be as simple as asking if people have any dentures or drug allergies. Just ask,’ In the event of any serious complication or clinical decline in your health do you wish for resuscitation or ICU?’ Depending on the answer given, a blue colour wristband could be put on the patient and remain until the prescriber orders it to be removed. Your feedback is asked for, via my email address I have a questionnaire available to share if you are keen to be involved in gathering data on this. Ken Wildy, EN, Gosford

Angie Dalli

Unwavering support from NSWNA I am writing to thank the NSWNA, and in particular Ronelle Kiernan (Organiser) and Jim O’Brien (IR Officer), for your assistance with a dispute between my employer (a major metropolitan teaching hospital), and myself. The matter originated when I disclosed to my employer that I had suffered from depression. Although I received empathy from the DON, the Hospital Executive made a decision to immediately cancel my shifts as Relief After Hours Nurse Manager, a role I had performed for three years. Following intervention by the NSWNA and nine months of negotiation, my employer has reversed their decision, and I am able to return to work as a Relief AHNM. Without the unwavering support and perseverance of Ronelle and Jim, there is a good chance that I would have left the nursing profession, as I was so disillusioned with the discriminatory attitude of my employer. I am also very grateful to my colleagues who have given me so much support and encouraged me to ‘fight the good fight’ to remain in a job I love. One in five people suffer depression at some stage in their life. It is reassuring for members to know that the Association so strongly advocates fighting the stigma of mental illness, and the rights of nurses to be judged on their performance, instead of being incorrectly stereotyped to a condition. Angie Dalli, CNC Transfusion Medicine

with tuesdays

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

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

Every letter published

receives a delightful

ABC Classics CD – for uplifting enjoyment!



An article in December Lamp, The best Christmas cake (page 40), incorrectly referred to Roz Norman as ‘RN’. This should have read Roz Norman, EN.

ABC Shops provide you with a window into the wonderful variety of programs seen and heard on ABC Radio, TV and Online by offering a range of quality DVDs, books, music and audio products. For locations, visit THE LAMP February 2007 7


n e w s i inn bbrri ieeff



greater teaching



amsay Health Care plans to expand some of its biggest hospitals to take on more of the role of traditional public teaching hospitals. In NSW, Ramsay has targeted St George, Westmead and North Shore Private for expansion. The company, Australia’s largest private hospital operator, says it has $400 million to spend on developing ‘large multi-service hospitals’ to attract increased referrals in major metropolitan areas.

In NSW, Ramsay has targeted St George, Westmead and North Shore Private for expansion. ‘The next move is to get private hospitals more involved in teaching and research,’ Managing Director Pat Grier told The Australian newspaper. He said Ramsay hospitals would be ‘competing on all levels’ with the biggest public hospitals, but claimed the ‘synergies’ would also improve public health care. The Australian said Ramsay now trains about 3000 nurses and is lobbying for government funds so it can train more than double that number. 8 THE LAMP February 2007

A voice for workers, presenter Craig Bulley

Tell your story to Workers Radio


ydney has long endured right wing shock-jocks taking cash for comment from corporate sponsors, but a new radio program is providing a refreshing change with a focus on working families, strong communities and industrial rights. Since 2005, Workers Radio Sydney has broadcast the latest information about mistreated workers, community protests and local Your Rights At Work groups.

In 2007, the program will begin podcasting stories on the internet to allow workers to listen in whenever and wherever they are. Presenter Craig Bulley spends his time chasing the latest stories impacting on working people, many of whom get ignored by the mainstream press, and joins them all together with an eclectic mix of music to cover an audience with an estimated listening age of 15 to 85. ‘Our audience doesn’t just listen to the

Since 2005,Workers Radio Sydney has broadcast the latest information about mistreated workers, community protests and local Your Rights At Work groups. It has supported sacked meatworkers, underpaid cleaners, exploited guest workers, striking storemen, asbestos victims, and fought to prevent cuts to public services such as health, education and transport. Workers Radio Sydney does not accept corporate advertising and is funded by donations from supporters including the NSWNA.

stories, they turn up at pickets, they call and email bad bosses, and their support gives the show some real bite,’ Craig says. If you have a story for Workers Radio, contact Craig on 0431 392 160 or The show broadcasts on 88.9FM between 6am and 9am Monday to Friday. To listen online and get more info, visit

Little History of Australian



he Little History of Australian Unionism is a book that is truly ‘little’ in size, but big in content. It covers the union movement in Australia from 1788 right up to the challenges that unions currently face.

The book is an excellent introduction to Australian unionism. It explains why unions exist, how they have been organised and what they have achieved. Written by Sean Scalmer, who is a trade unionist, labour historian, and sociologist who lectures at Macquarie University, the book is an excellent introduction to Australian unionism. It explains why unions exist, how they have been organised and what they have achieved. With the support of 13 Australian unions, including sponsorship by the NSWNA, the book is aimed at everyone interested in the history of Australian society and the formation of its values and institutions as well as unionised and yet-to-be-unionised workers. The Little History of Australian Unionism is important for anyone who cares about the changing workplace and the role of workers. The Little History of Australian Unionism, Vulgar Press, PO Box 68, Carlton North, Victoria 3054. Recommended retail price $9.95. To purchase, download an order form from and send a cheque (made out to Vulgar Press) for $9.95 plus $5 (per order) for postage anywhere in Australia.

Patient deaths linked to poor staffing g Patients 26% more likely to die in wards with low staffing, research reveals


atients cared for in hospitals where there are fewer nurses on the wards are more likely to die or experience complications, than those in the better staffed wards, new research has revealed. The UK study led by Anne Marie Rafferty, Dean of the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery in London, established a direct link between the number of nurses working on wards and patients’ chances of recovery and survival. According to a report by the Royal College of Nursing, researchers interviewed 4,000 nurses and examined the outcomes of more than 118,000 patients who were discharged or died after general, orthopaedic or vascular surgery in 30 English hospitals, which were divided into four groups based on the average number of patients each nurse cared for on the last shift worked. In the top group, wards had 6.9-8.3 patients for each nurse, while the worst had 12.3-14.3 patients per nurse.

Professor Rafferty estimated that 246 fewer people would have died if they had all been treated in wards with the most favourable staffing levels.

It was revealed that patients were 26% more likely to die in wards with the lowest staff numbers, compared with those nursed on wards with the highest staffing levels. The figure rose to 29% if there had been complications. The research also finds that nurses working on wards where nurse to patient ratio are lower are much more likely to experience ‘burn out’. Nurses in the hospitals with the heaviest workloads are between 71% and 92% more likely to experience burn out and become dissatisfied with their jobs. They are also more likely to report low or deteriorating quality of care on their wards and hospitals. Professor Rafferty estimated that 246 fewer people would have died if they had all been treated in wards with the most favourable staffing levels. n


c o v e r s t o r y

BACK PAY FOR RPA NURSES g RNs win right to in charge of shift allowance


wenty one Royal Prince Alfred Hospital nurses are in line to receive back pay after winning a long battle for the right to be paid the in charge of shift allowance. The Emergency Department nurses worked as acute care coordinators or team leaders when a nursing unit manager (NUM) was on duty but not available for clinical management. The Sydney South West Area Health Service (SSWAHS) refused to pay the allowance, which came into effect as an Award provision in June 2002. Clause 10(v) of the former Public Hospital Nurses’ (State) Award – now clause 12(v) of the current Public Health System Nurses’ & Midwives’ (State) Award – states the allowance shall be paid when the NUM is rostered on duty ‘if the day to day clinical management role for the shift is delegated to a designated registered nurse.’ However SSWAHS claimed it was 10 THE LAMP February 2007

not required to pay the allowance because a NUM was in charge of the shift, despite frequently being off the floor attending to non-clinical management tasks. The NSWNA filed claims on behalf of RPA members in the NSW Chief Industrial Magistrate’s Court. The Chief Industrial Magistrate, Gregory Hart, agreed with the Nurses’ Association that responsibility for clinical

‘The first two nurses to sign the letter were harassed and intimidated by management.’ management had in reality been delegated to team leaders who therefore were entitled to be paid the allowance. The union will ask Mr Hart to order that the nurses be paid a total of more

RPA branch members (from left) Karen Creighton CNS, John Farry RN, Clinton Davis CNS, Emma Harley RN, Amanda Stack CNS and David Slater RN.

than $21,000 plus interest, worth up to a week’s pay in some individual cases. Mr Hart’s decision sets a valuable precedent which will have implications across the SSWAHS and may also apply to nurses in other clinical areas, said NSWNA Assistant General Secretary, Judith Kiejda. In mid 2006 top management of SSWAHS instructed directors of nursing (DONs) at all hospitals and community and mental health services not to pay the in charge of shift allowance when a NUM was on duty. The union is now asking the SSWAHS to withdraw the directive and pay back money to all nurses entitled to the allowance. Judith said if management failed to act the union would seek the support of branches and take further legal action if necessary. She said the AHS directive to cease paying the allowance had been implemented at several hospitals including

Bowral, Campbelltown, Concord, Fairfield and Liverpool, as well as mental health and community health services. ‘Nurses at these and other services may now be entitled to back pay, thanks to a magnificent campaign by RPA nurses,’ Judith said.

‘Since they first raised the issue with the union in April 2004, RPA nurses have done a tremendous amount of work to ensure the success of our claim for payment of the allowance.’ NSWNA delegate at RPA, John Farry, was a registered nurse in the ED when management first refused to pay the allowance. Though not personally entitled to the allowance, John led the campaign to ensure management complied with what he believed was the letter and spirit of the Award. John said nurses affected by the refusal to pay, all signed a pro forma letter and lodged claims with management. ‘The first two nurses to sign the letter were harassed and intimidated by management. As a result one resigned from the department while the other became a union delegate,’ he said. Backed by a resolution of the NSWNA branch at the hospital, all ED team leaders in charge of shifts banded together and refused to take charge of shifts until the allowance was paid. ‘That meant the NUM had to come out of the office, where she was doing important non-clinical work, and actually take charge of the department,’ John said. ‘It was immediately apparent that the ED couldn’t function effectively without both a clinical manager and a nursing manager. ‘It was a completely untenable situation which went on for about two months, until management employed an additional four NUMs to cover the shifts.

‘That was our first win which created more senior positions and promotion opportunities for nurses.’ Then came the laborious work of finding out the names of all nurses in charge of shifts since 2002, and detailing the dates of every shift worked by each nurse. Despite a legal requirement to keep rosters on file for at least six years, the nurses had difficulty obtaining access to the records until the NSWNA lodged a formal request. Once management handed over the records a core group of nurses including delegate Karen Creighton, Clinton Davis and John spent many weekends going through the paperwork. Judith Kiejda paid tribute to the hard work done by these members to provide evidence needed for the union’s legal case. ‘It is crucial to obtain accurate records, which is why, when SSWAHS issued its directive to all DONs to cease paying the allowance, the union advised all branches in the area to retain pay slips and other records of relevant shifts so we could pursue a wider claim outside RPA,’ she said. John Farry says RPA nurses feel vindicated by the Chief Industrial Magistrate’s decision which they view as a test case for nurses across the State. ‘It wasn’t easy for some people to go against local management and put in a claim, so the nurses who put their necks on the line are very happy with the decision,’ he said. n

what the magistrate said Chief Industrial Magistrate Gregory Hart rejected the Sydney South West Area Health Service’s arguments that (a) the allowance was not payable merely because a NUM was also rostered on duty and (b) to satisfy the Award provision the delegation of the clinical management role had to be done in a ‘formal’ way. Mr Hart said it would be extremely difficult to split the role of providing clinical management between two employees in circumstances where the NUM was frequently off the floor. He said: ‘In those circumstances a

nursing unit manager who had left the floor of the ward for a period of half an hour or an hour or more could return to a very different set of circumstances to that which they left...The (role of clinical management) does not appear to be a role that can be conducted by remote or periodic instruction but is an ongoing team leader function where each person involved in the team can look to the team leader for immediate guidance or assistance or direction.’ Mr Hart found that a system of de facto delegation was in place despite the lack of formal documented delegations.

He said it was ‘an artificial construct to suggest the allowance is only payable where there is some formal and documented delegation whilst permitting (the SSWAHS) to have, at least at ward level, a de facto delegation system whereby the rostered NUM could focus on a range of administrative matters whilst leaving it to the acute co-ordinator to fill the team leader role and juggle on a minute by minute basis the resources of the department with the flow of patients being brought to the department for emergency assistance.’ THE THELAMP LAMPFebruary February2007 200711 11


c o v e r s t o r y

Employer to appeal – but lodge your claim ASAP


ydney South West Area Health Service announced it would appeal against the Chief Industrial Magistrate’s decision in the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital case. Members who believe they may be entitled to claim the in charge of shift allowance retrospectively, should disregard the appeal and lodge a claim as soon as possible.

RPA Delegate John Farry

12 THE LAMP February 2007

You should NOT wait for the appeal to be decided before lodging a claim, because the limitation period for making a claim for an entitlement is six years. Members with claims that may have accrued from June 2002 (when the award provision for the in charge of shift allowance came into effect) should lodge a claim to preserve your rights while the appeal is underway.


I n d u s t r i a l

i s s u e s

Norfolk Island nurses celebrating the pay rise.

Huge pay rise for Norfolk Island nurses g NSWNA campaign wins a 33.5% pay rise for the majority of nurses on Norfolk Island


urses on Norfolk Island enjoyed a special Christmas bonus with the delivery of a pay rise of up to $460 per week. Part of a new agreement voted on by NSWNA members on Norfolk Island, the pay rise arrived in nurses’ pay packets on 28 December 2006. The agreement was achieved after protracted negotiations between NSWNA, members and the Minister for Health on behalf of the Legislative Assembly on Norfolk Island and delivers the majority of nurses on Norfolk Island a 33.5% pay rise, backpaid to 29 November 2005. Nurse managers will get a huge increase of $460 per week; RNs will be paid an additional $219 per week; and ENs an additional $49. The majority of nurses will receive a further 4% increase on 1 July 2007. Joy Cochrane is an RN at Norfolk

Island Hospital and is one of 20 nurses celebrating the pay rise. ‘It’s been a long time coming but we’re just ecstatic it’s finally come through.’ ‘The Nurses’ Association was really behind us all the way. They really went into battle for us. It was a long fight but we finally won.’ Joy works at Norfolk Island Hospital – a 24-bed, multi-purpose facility. ‘We’re a multi-disciplined workforce because we have

Joy said the pay rise goes a long way to improving the status of the nursing profession on Norfolk Island, and will help attract younger nurses to the island. ‘Nurses on Norfolk Island have suffered appalling pay rates. They have been paid far less than other allied health workers on the island. This disparity has reinforced the impression that nurses were not valued. ‘We have an ageing nursing

Nurse managers will get a huge increase of $460 per week; RNs will be paid an additional $219 per week; and ENs an additional $49. to cope with the needs of the population on Norfolk Island. In the course of a day we have to deal with everything from birth to death. It’s a challenging job, you don’t know what will walk through the hospital doors.’

workforce here because young people leave Norfolk Island to undertake their nursing studies in Australia, but they were not returning because of the appalling pay.’n THE LAMP February 2007 13


I n d u s t r i a l

i s s u e s

Iemma pledges to protect nurses’ rights at work g Presented with a petition from 2000 Nepean Hospital workers, Iemma heeds the call to protect their rights at work


t was the middle of the busy festive season but the lecture theatre was still packed to the rafters when Nepean Hospital workers presented a petition with over 2000 signatures to Premier Morris Iemma, urging him to protect their rights at work. The Nepean Hospital group is the first workplace-based Rights At Work campaign in Australia. While collecting signatures nurses had spent months having one-on-one conversations with 14 THE LAMP February 2007

their colleagues about the impact of the federal government’s IR changes on them, their families and their local communities. Nepean has 3400 workers and is the largest workplace in the electorate of Lindsay, currently held by Jackie Kelly, a keen supporter of John Howard’s IR laws. It services several marginal state and federal seats in Western Sydney. Jason Mullavey, an EN in the emergency department, said the importance of the hospital in Western Sydney gave nurses there a great

opportunity to make a difference in the next election. ‘This issue affects the whole community and we’re determined to do something about it,’ he said. ‘If our award conditions were abolished we’d lose not only penalty rates, shift loading, pay and conditions but provisions governing reasonable workloads designed to ensure quality care for patients.’ The Nepean group is now looking at building on its present organisation and is hoping to raise funds for a billboard on

‘This campaign is about having a decent future for your families. I have four kids under eight and I want them to grow up in an Australia where they go into workplaces where there are organisations that are able to represent them. I’m not in this just as Premier but as a father who wants his kids to have jobs and rights.’

the hospital grounds. Premier Morris Iemma, when receiving the petition, said the labour movement had worked too hard over 100 years, through struggle and sacrifice, to win workplace conditions that were now under threat. ‘This campaign is about having a decent future for your families. I have four kids under eight and I want them to grow up in an Australia where they go into workplaces where there are organisations that are able to represent

them. I’m not in this just as Premier but as a father who wants his kids to have jobs and rights.’ n

THE LAMP February 2007 15

16 THE LAMP February 2007


a g e d c a r e

Medications guidelines clarify RN role in aged care g Guidelines to enhance clinical leadership role of RNs and provide scope for a more ‘person-centred’ model of care.


n December 2006, the Nurses and Midwives Board (NMB) released guidelines for RNs in aged care on the delegation of the administration of medications, after extensive investigations by the NMB, NSWNA and aged care employer groups. The Guidelines on the Delegation and Supervision by Registered Nurses of Medication Administraion Within Aged Care Facilities serve as a useful tool to guide RNs in decision making about the delegation of medications administration, said NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda, ‘The Guidelines provide a framework to support RNs in managing the administration of medications by care staff rather than directly administrating medications themselves,’ she said. ‘Aged care is an important area of practice for nurses. A priority of the NSWNA is to support members working in aged care so they can carry out their professional responsibilities. We will work with members in clarifying and putting into practice the Guidelines. ‘The Guidelines are consistent with legal requirements in NSW and they have been developed in the context of an acute shortage of RNs in aged care. They go some way to clarifying the roles and responsibilities of RNs in an aged care setting.’ Jacqui Culver, who is CNC for Practice Development at Catholic Care of the Aged in the Hunter and provided input to the NMB, welcomes the new guidelines as an opportunity to promote the professional development of RNs in aged care. ‘The guidelines provide scope for the RN role in aged care to move to a more clinical leadership role where they are involved in managing residents’ care at a higher level,’ she said. ‘This allows a more person-centred care model where an RN’s time is

‘The guidelines provide scope for the RN role in aged care to move to a more clinical leadership role where they are involved in managing residents’ care at a higher level.This allows a more personcentred care model where an RN’s time is directed to the care needs of individual residents, rather than being taken up with medications rounds.’ Jacqui Culver, CNC, St Joseph’s Nursing Home

directed to the care needs of individual residents, rather than being taken up with medications rounds. ‘If there is a sound quality system in place to manage medication administration, then there is not greater risk to residents. The quality system needs to include comprehensive policy and procedures around use of dose administration aids, competency training requirements for all staff and regular auditing processes by RN and pharmacist. There also needs to be a transparent and robust approach to medication incident management. I would caution all RNs working in aged care to ensure there is a rigorous system in place at their organisation.’ Judith said the NSWNA also believes employers have a duty of care to provide systems at the workplace that support nurses in making decisions about the delegation of medications. ‘The NSWNA will support members and work to ensure such systems are in place so that nurses can carry out their professional responsibilities in assessing, planning and supervising the care of aged care residents,’ she said. If you have concerns about the delegation of medications in your

workplace, the NSWNA recommends you notify management verbally and in writing. The NSWNA has developed a document to support you in notifying management about concerns. Go to and click on ‘a fair share for aged care’. A forum will be held on 5 February that will cover issues concerning the guidelines. For more information and to attend the forum, call Carolyn Kulling on 8598 1234 or 1300 367 962. The NSWNA will also hold special workshops to explain and explore the changing role of RNs in aged care. See page 29 of this edition of The Lamp for more information. n THE LAMP February 2007 17


18 THE LAMP February 2007

iR shorts



ew research by the ACTU shows that workers in NSW are being hard hit by the federal governments's industrial relations laws, with average wages for fulltime employees dropping $33 a week in real terms over the last year. Average real wages for full-time workers throughout Australia are failing to keep pace with inflation for the first time since the introduction of the GST and NSW workers have experienced the biggest fall in real wages for full-time workers of all the States. The ACTU claims the federal government’s IR laws are a major factor in the drop. This is backed up by the federal government’s own data. The government’s own workplace agency (the OEA) has admitted that two thirds (63%) of new AWAs registered under the IR laws scrap penalty rates, a third cut overtime pay, half get rid of shift allowances and another third do away with public holiday payments.



he federal government intervened in a case in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission in order to broaden the scope for employers to dismiss employees on the grounds of ‘operational reasons’ under federal IR laws. Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews intervened to overturn a decision by the AIRC that had found the sacking of an employee at a Village Roadshow cinema for ‘operational reasons’ was unfair as the employee was ‘eminently redeployable’ and had offered to use his six months long service leave to wait for a possible vacancy elsewhere or had been prepared to take a lesser position. The AIRC full bench found it was legal to sack the worker, Warren Carter, after 19 years' service, despite unfair dismissal laws.



eltex workers are the latest high profile workers to fall victim to the federal government’s unfair IR laws. The company’s new owner insisted their employees accept a cut to their job conditions and entitlements in order to keep their jobs. The new owner, Geelong-based Godfrey Hirst, refused to employ the Feltex workers unless they signed

AWAs that removed or modified entitlements including annual leave payments, rostered days off, redundancy pay and other job conditions. The new owner also threatened workers that they could miss out on redundancy payments if they refuse to accept the company’s offer with many long-standing employees standing to lose more than $50,000 each. ACTU President Sharan Burrow said the Feltex case further exposed the federal government’s dishonest claims about its laws. ‘The Howard Government promised that under its new IR laws the pay and conditions of workers would be "protected by law" for 12 months after a transfer of business ownership,’ she said. ’But what the Feltex workers are seeing now is this that the Prime Minister’s promise was meaningless.’

Sharan Burrow



fter six years of campaigning and two and a half years of intensive negotiations with James Hardie, unions and asbestos victims groups have secured a final deal from the company to compensate Australian victims of its asbestos products. James Hardie and the NSW government have signed a tax-office approved agreement which will see James Hardie make its first payment to the

asbestos compensation fund as soon as February this year. The agreement will see up to $4 billion paid to victims over the next 40 to 50 years. ACTU Secretary Greg Combet thanked the NSW government, asbestos groups and all the unions and union members who, he said, worked hard to achieve the outcome. ‘The agreement is unique in the world and by far the biggest compensation payment in Australian history. I’m proud of it. It shows what the labour movement can achieve.’ n

ACTU Secretary Greg Combet (right) with CFMEU Secretary Andrew Ferguson and asbestos victim Bernie Banton. THE LAMP February 2007 19


Nurses active in protest

National Day of Action

g Nurses joined workers across Australia in a National Day of Community Protest against Howard’s unfair IR laws.


n 30 November, NSW nurses stopped work and joined workers across Australia in a National Day of Community Protest against Howard’s unfair laws. NSWNA members – with their partners, children and dogs – watched a national satellite broadcast and joined a rally in the Sydney CBD, pledging their determination to fight for workers’ rights. Other members were part of rallies in regional areas across NSW and many watched the broadcast and were part of community activities at their workplaces.

20 THE LAMP February 2007


Beverly Brady CNC, Manly Hospital

‘I am here because past generations of workers fought for the conditions that can be slashed away under an AWA.' Beverly is pictured here telling the Premier the IR laws are already affecting nurses in private hospitals. d

Eleanor Romney, CNE, RPA Hospital

‘As a nurse, I am here to support my colleagues in the private and aged care sectors who are already being affected by Howard’s laws. The future working conditions for public sector nurses are also not guaranteed. It’s up for grabs. ‘As a sister, I am here to support my brother who is on an AWA. He gets paid for 38 hours work and doesn’t get paid overtime. Sometimes he has to work 70-hour weeks for no extra pay. ‘We have to fight this for our colleagues, our families and our kids’ futures.’

e Catherine

Sheyne McPherson, Hostel Manager, Drummond Aged Care

‘These laws are outrageous and are already impacting on nurses in aged care. AWAs are being offered at new facilities that are opening. ‘I am concerned for my staff and what we are leaving our children.’

THE LAMP February 2007 21

22 THE LAMP February 2007


Nurses active in protest

Stamp of approval for fair employers


scheme has been set up by Unions NSW to promote businesses that treat their employers fairly and responsibly. The Fair Employer Scheme has been established to provide recognition of businesses that reject John Howard’s antiworker WorkChoices legislation. The scheme signs up ‘fair employers’ to a guarantee that they won’t cut wages, move their workers onto AWAs or make them independent contractors. Businesses that join the scheme will be able to display stickers to their customers, and they will be listed on the Fair Employers Network website at

Fair Employment blooms at Kingswood Florist Jo Dickens, owner of Kingswood Florist and Creative Blooms, signed up to the Fair Employers Network because she believes in ‘fair pay for a fair day’s work’. Her business services many people in the local community buying flowers and gifts for patients in the nearby Nepean Hospital. ‘It’s too easy for employers, especially large organisations, to rip off employees because of these new laws,’ she said. Jo didn’t have to make any changes to her employment practices when she signed up to the scheme and hopes that

customers will choose to shop at her business because it is part of the Fair Employers Scheme and different from many larger competitors who have taken advantage of the new laws. ‘I have two part-time staff who also work for large chains – they now have to work on Sunday for the same rate as during the week, and have had their hours and their pay cut,’ she said. Jo believes that if someone works on a weekend that they should be compensated. ‘I also believe it should be a choice and not by force – by agreement by both parties not ‘agree to my way or get out’ – it’s just not on,’ she said. Matthew De Sousa is a junior florist working for Jo. He has just completed his first year of a Certificate II in Floristry at TAFE and said he enjoys his work and likes his job because he is paid and treated fairly.

How can you support Fair Employers? It’s easy, just log on to the Fair Employers website at for a listing of businesses and services that you can support in your community. So far, Fair Employers can be found in Sydney, Central Coast/Hunter, Illawarra and regional NSW. If you have a favourite place you like to go, such as a café or bookshop, approach the business owner about becoming a fair employer.

How to become a Fair Employer To become a Fair Employer, you need to agree to, implement and sign the Fair Employer Declaration. Upon signing the declaration you will become part of the Fair Employers' Network. In return, you will receive a Fair Emplo­ yer sticker to display on your shop front and a certificate to display in your premises. Your business will also be promoted online and through local and national publications from unions and other supporters of the program. By being part of the Fair Employers Network, you can keep up-to-date on how you can still treat your workers decently under the new industrial relations laws. Contact Unions NSW on 1800 688 919 or visit n

THE LAMP February 2007 23


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All hospitals should use workload tool, says Auditor General g Tool needed to determine nurse numbers

‘It has taken hospitals longer than expected to use the GWC Tool.’ Auditor General Peter Achterstraat recommends all hospitals use the workload tool.


he NSW Auditor General has supported the union’s call for broader and faster implementation of the workload calculation tool to determine adequate nursing numbers. NSW Health should require all hospitals to use the workload tool to assess the number of nurses needed in general medical and surgical wards by December 2007, the Auditor General, Peter Achterstraat, recommended. Mr Achterstraat made the recommendation in his report to parliament on the outcome of his audit into attracting, retaining and managing nurses in hospitals. The GWC (general workload calculation) Tool provides guidance on the recommended number of nurses needed to staff general medical and surgical wards. It was introduced into the public health nurses’ award in September 2004 following negotiations between NSW Health and the NSW Nurses’ Association. 24 THE LAMP February 2007

Mr Achterstraat described the tool as ‘a positive step’ which had provided a consistent and transparent means of calculating and reviewing the number of nurses needed on a ward. He said workloads had been improved in areas where the workload tool had been implemented. ‘However, it has taken hospitals longer than expected to collect staffing data, consult with staff about local conditions and use the GWC Tool to determine nursing numbers,’ he reported. His comments are in line with the union’s submission to the audit pointing out that nurses will not enter, return to or stay in the workforce unless they can be assured of reasonable workloads. The union submission called on NSW Health and Area Health Services to provide genuine commitment to the workloads clause of the Award by ensuring full support to individual facilities. Implementation and operation

of the clause has not been consistent across the state, largely due to budgetary constraints, the union pointed out. ‘Clearly, a more cohesive response from AHSs to implementation and operation of the clause would improve management of nursing resources. This includes ensuring timely implementation of the recommendations of workloads committees as well as ensuring that the committees comprise appropriate personnel, that is those with the right skills, knowledge and authority and management support.’ The union said delays in carrying out the recommendations of workloads committees have resulted in workloads disputes across the state. ‘While the Award sufficiently provides for a disputes process, which has been used across the state and has led to resolution of the workloads issue, the lack of timely response from management serves only to increase the frustration of nurses and therefore their propensity to leave.’n

Positive steps to attract nurses


SW Health has done well to attract and retain nurses, the Auditor General, Peter Achterstraat, reported. But it is too early to judge whether the positive steps taken will be enough to ensure an adequate supply of nurses into the future, he said. Mr Achterstraat reported that between 2001–02 and 2005–06 the average number of nurses employed in public hospitals increased by 5,588 to 39, 804 – an average annual increase of 4%. He said the department improved nurses’ wages to make them the highest paid in Australia, recruited over 1000 nurses from overseas and attracted almost 1500 ex-nurses back to the public sector. ‘The department has also improved the working conditions of nurses with more flexible rosters and greater access to professional development,’ he reported. However, around 45% of nurses

work part-time and the department ‘cannot quantify the net gain in resources or judge whether we have enough nurses working in hospitals.’ A complicating factor was the increased reliance on overtime and a 21% increase in use of agency nurses. The Auditor General said this was not a cost-effective way of meeting ongoing increases in demand or predictable supply problems. Mr Achterstraat’s report was based on an audit of 10 general wards at four hospitals – Royal Prince Alfred, Bankstown, Tamworth and Scone. He said his team found instances where some of these hospitals had closed beds temporarily and deferred admissions for elective surgery because of a shortage of nurses. The Auditor General’s report can be downloaded at publications/reports/performance/2006/ nurses/nurses-contents.htm

THE LAMP February 2007 25

NSWNA 2007 Edu New Course Stress Management for Nurses (Metropolitan Areas) – 2 x H Days Target group all nurses • April 20 & May 4, NSWNA • June 15 & 29, Liverpool • September 7 & 21, NSWNA Members $85 Non Members $226 Branch Officials $74

New Course Stress Management for Nurses (Rural Areas) – 1 Day Target group all nurses • May 18, Tamworth • October 19, Bathurst Members $85 Non Members $226 Branch Officials $74

New Course Policy Writing – 1 Day Target group all nurses • September 17, NSWNA Members $85 Non Members $226 Branch Officials $74

New Course

New Course

RNs as Advanced Practitioners in Aged Care – 4 Days

Stop Smoking Successfully – 1 Day

Target Group RNs in Aged Care • Course 1 – March 2, April 13, May 18 & June 15, NSWNA • Course 2 – TBA Members $320 Non Members $480 Branch Officials $240

New Course Improve your Health, Wellbeing & Waistline – 2 x 3 hour sessions Target group all nurses • March 29 & April 12, NSWNA • May 14 & 28, NSWNA • June 13 & 27, NSWNA Members $39.50 Non Members $85 Branch Officials $28

New Course The Reality of Working Shiftwork – 2 x 2 hours sessions Target group all nurses • April 5 & 19, NSWNA • June 14 & 28, NSWNA • November 15 & 29, NSWNA Members $39.50 Non Members $85 Branch Officials $28

New Course Basic Computer Skills for Nurses Target group all nurses From August 2007 TBA

Target group all nurses • April 23, NSWNA • September 12, Liverpool Members $85 Non Members $226 Branch Officials $74

New Course Psychology of Smoking – H Day (Strategies to assist patients to stop smoking) Target group all nurses • June 22, NSWNA • August 31, Liverpool Members $39.50 Non Members $85 Branch Officials $28

New Course Uni to the Workplace – H Day Target group new graduate nurses • April 16, NSWNA • April 23, Liverpool • September 3, NSWNA • September 10, Liverpool Members – Complimentary with new RN membership Non Members $30

Basic Foot Care for AINs – 1 Day Target group AINs • May 16, Tamworth • October 19, Parramatta Members $101 Non Members $175 Branch Officials $87.50 26 THE LAMP February 2007

ucation Calendar Basic Foot Care for RNs and ENs – 2 Days

Legal and Professional Issues for Nurses – H Day

Nursing Forums: Current Issues – 1 Day

Target group RNs and ENs • March 29 & 30, Tamworth • April 16 & 17, Port Macquarie • May 14 & 15, Wagga Wagga • June 21 & 22, Liverpool • August 16 & 17, NSWNA • September 3 & 4, Newcastle • October15 & 16, Bathurst • November 8 & 9, Parramatta Members $203.50 Non Members $350 Branch Officials $175

Target group RNs and ENs • March 22, Gosford • April 30, NSWNA • May 11, Tamworth • June 15, Parramatta • August 15, Newcastle • September 14, Liverpool • October 4, Bathurst • November 9, NSWNA Members $39.50 Non Members $85 Branch Officials $28

Target group all Nurses • Aged Care Nurses Forum: TBA, NSWNA • Mental Health Nurses Forum: August 24, NSWNA • Drug and Alcohol Nurses Forum: September 28, NSWNA • Disability Nurses Forum: October 19, NSWNA Members $30 Non Members $50 Branch Officials $28

Tax Invoice & Course Registration Form 2007 Name

Membership No

Non Member

Place of Employment Position:



Address (Work

or Home






Post Code Phone (work)

Phone (home)


To register complete this form and enclose cheque, money order or credit card details and return to: NSW Nurses’ Association, PO Box 40, Camperdown NSW 1450 or fax 9550-3667. Course Name

Seminar Dates

$ (includes GST)

Total Amount


Expiry date

Amount $

Cheque/Money Order



$ Visa /

Name of card owner if not your own

For additional course information or enquiries contact NSWNA metro on (02) 8595 1234, rural on 1300 367 962 • Please see our cancellation policy on NSWNA website. THE LAMP February 2007 27

Next year there are two elections that will have a huge impact on the lives of working people – yet many NSWNA members may not be able to vote because they are not correctly enrolled. Now is the time to fix that by checking you are on the electoral roll at your correct address. You should check your enrolment if: • You are turning 18 and have never voted before; • You have moved house in the past two years; • You are not sure whether you are enrolled. THE NSW election is on 24 March 2007. The federal election will take place later in 2007. Both elections will be decided by small numbers of voters in a few key seats. That’s why your vote can make a difference. So make sure you are correctly enrolled to vote. It’s important to enrol as soon as possible because John Howard has changed the laws to make it harder to enrol. Once the Prime Minister calls the federal election, it will be too late to get on the electoral roll.

Have your say in 2007 elections Enrol to vote now

Jo Sudol, TEN, enrols to vote

28 THE LAMP February 2007

For more information on how to vote or to download an enrolment application form, visit the Australian Electoral Commission website at or call (02) 6271 4411 or 13 23 26. You can also pick up an enrolment application form at your local post office.


I n d u s t r i a l

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New plan for bargaining g Union adapts to changed IR system

Anna Claude, Manager, NSWNA Strategic and Industrial Bargaining Team

Marlene Waters, Manager, NSWNA Development Organising Team

nions will need to be fast on their feet to meet the new challenges presented by the federal government’s draconian IR laws. The NSWNA has quickly adapted its internal structures so its resources best meet members’ requirements for future bargaining. NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes says a logical consequence of the new laws is greater decentralisation of bargaining. ‘Whereas under the older system we were able to bargain within whole sectors – for example in aged care or in private hospitals – the new federal laws are designed to force us to bargain site by site or employer by employer,’ he said. ‘This will require a different approach by the Nurses' Association.’ This has prompted the NSWNA to restructure its teams to better fit the new environment: c a new team has been created – the Strategic and Industrial Bargaining Team (SIBT) – which retains some of the minor functions of the former industrial team. It still retains responsibility for strategic industrial work and in addition is responsible for organising and negotiations in bargaining. c the Development Organising Team (DOT) team, which previously had responsibility for member and branch servicing in established workplaces, will retain these roles as well as taking

on responsibility for operational and enforcement industrial work. c the Strategic Workplace Organising Team (SWOT) team, which has had responsibility for growth organising, will continue in this role. Brett says the changes will not diminish in any way the union’s capacity to deal with individual members’ problems and the best results in bargaining will depend on members’ participation in campaigns. ‘We will be looking for more


Susan Pearce, Manager, NSWNA Strategic Workplace Organising Team

We’ve still got all bases covered As part of the internal reorganisation some of our organisers have taken on responsibility for new area health services: c Marny Thomas – North Coast Area

Health Service c Ronelle Kiernan – Hunter New

England Area Health Service

‘We will be looking for more activists to take part in our campaigns.’

c Robyn Starkey – Northern Sydney

Central Coast Area Health Service c Linda Griffiths – Justice Health c Lisa Kremmer – NSW Department

of Ageing, Disability & Home Care c Fran McQuade – Greater Southern

Area Health Service c Jo-Anne McKeough – Greater

activists to take part in our campaigns. When a member rings the office for advice and assistance we’ll still give it. But in bargaining we’ll need activists to work with union officers if we are to win in the workplace. ‘The more members and activists there are in a workplace, the greater the chances of improving pay and conditions.’n

Western Area Health Service c Elizabeth Ulm – South Eastern

Sydney and Illawarra Area Health Service c Margaret Burgess – Sydney West

Area Health Service c Katherine Rynne – Mental Health c Holly Rebeiro – Private Hospitals c Christine Kirby – Sydney South

West Area Health Service THE LAMP February 2007 29


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Why nurses really get the blues


urses with low morale are more likely to have accidents and make mistakes, become ill and take sick leave, and express a desire to find employment in other organisations. These are among the findings of a study of factors affecting nurse morale conducted by an Australian team led by Dr Gary Day, a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology’s School of Public Health. Results of the study were published in the November 2006 edition of the Australian Health Review. Low morale is a major contributor to high staff turnover – a 2002 study by Best Practice Australia found that 42% of 6800 Australian nurses surveyed expressed a desire to leave their organisations. Results such as this led Dr Day and colleagues to examine Australian and international literature on factors causing poor morale among nurses.

g Low morale is harmful to nurses’ health and puts patients at risk. A university study asks what really causes nurses to feel down.

medical staff were present nurses reported that their work was more meaningful and satisfying, their professional knowledge and skills were utilised, and they thought less often of quitting.’ Also, ‘absenteeism and turnover were significantly reduced as a result of a strong sense of community and work-group relationships fostered by the nurse manager.’

‘Low morale is costly to organisations and is a key source of poor patient outcomes and care.’ Their report distinguishes between intrinsic or personal factors that nurses have some control over, and extrinsic or structural factors which are largely out of the control of the individual nurse or group they work in. Dealing with intrinsic factors, the report identifies workplace relationships between nurses as one of the most important factors influencing nursing morale. Relationships with doctors are also important. The report notes that ‘when supportive professional relationships with 30 THE LAMP February 2007

Dr Day refers to one study which found that ‘the two factors that dominated nurses’ understanding of morale within their workplace were (i) the perceived ability to deliver good patient care and (ii) good collegiate relationships with co-workers.’ Opportunities to move up a career ladder also strongly influence morale. Dr Day cites UK studies which found that nurses attributed poor morale to ‘lack of support for education and training and frustration about the limited

opportunity for promotion.’ Positive morale was linked strongly to the nurse’s position and level of education. One study highlighted Dr Gary Day that as a nurse rose higher in the organisational hierarchy, so did the level of morale. High on the list of extrinsic factors affecting morale are staffing and workloads issues. ‘One study argued that nurses who worked in units where there was a poor “work climate” and low staffing were generally twice as likely as nurses on well staffed and better organised units to report risk factors, needlestick injuries and near misses,’ Dr Day notes. A three-year study of nurses showed ‘there was an increasing tension between workload pressures and the desire to give holistic patient care. These tensions had a negative impact on morale.‘ ‘Current clinical practice fosters

low morale where cost efficiency is paramount and patients are processed through the hospital system like a production line in order for a hospital to make a surplus. A friction has developed due to the dichotomy of nurses being both caregivers and financial stewards. ‘Perceptions of minimising costs and compromising care are heightened by the drive to redesign workforce models that promote substituting cheaper workers or increasing nurses’ patient loads.’ Looking at hospital organisational structures, Dr Day points to research showing a number of hospitals that are considered ‘market leaders’ because of low turnover and high staff morale.

These so-called “magnet” hospitals build high nurse morale through fostering nurse fulfilment, self-esteem and employee stability, Dr Day reports. ‘As hospitals have little ability to

adequate staffing, flexible working schedules, professional autonomy and responsibility, emphasis on teaching and education, and career advancement opportunities.’

‘Current clinical practice fosters low morale.’ increase wages and incentives, efforts have been concentrated on improving the work environment,’ he says. Magnet hospitals are able to retain and attract well qualified nurses through the adoption of ‘participatory supportive management styles, decentralised organisational structures,

‘It is clear that low morale is costly to organisations and is a key source of poor patient outcomes and care,’ Dr Day says. ‘Organisations need to be aware that a range of practical strategies can be employed to increase staff morale and in the process improve patient care and outcomes,’ Dr Day concludes.n

Education key to happy nurses


etter internal training and higher assertiveness is the key to keeping nurses happy and helps avoid high staff turnovers, according to a recent study by the Japan Academy of Nursing Science. Researchers found 20.5% of Japanese nurses experienced burnout in the first year on the job and 8.5% go on to quit within a year as a result. The issues of burnout and high turnover of first-time nurses has largely been a taboo matter but publication of the study in the Japan Journal of Nursing Science is bringing

the issue to the forefront. The study aims to show the relationship between first year burnouts at university hospitals and levels of assertiveness, indicating the serious need for assertiveness training to prepare nurses for the stresses of their job. Dr Eiko Suzuki, who led the research, highlights the need for nurses to be equipped with skills to manage their role and duties in order to avoid this growing problem, ‘It is imperative that novice nurses have the ways to prevent the burnout by

themselves. This study reiterates the importance of assertiveness training for novice nurses at university hospitals – giving them the necessary skills to cope with the incidence of burnout and a serious burnout – especially during their first year of working life.’ An interesting finding from the research also indicates that novice nurses with an unusually high level of assertiveness are also likely to burnout, suggesting the need for very tailored and cautious training for new nurses.

THE LAMP February 2007 31


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Fertility nursing ripe for g British nurse Jane Early packed up her young family six years ago and headed to Sydney. Now she’s Director of Nursing at IVF Australia and hopes to expand the relatively new field of fertility nursing.


t was 2000 in the lead up to the Sydney Olympics when British nurse Jane Early received an intriguing fax at the Leeds fertility clinic where she worked. The fax was from Sydneybased Professor Michael Chapman, now a director of IVFAustralia, who was enticing experienced British fertility nurses to ‘come and work in the Olympic city’. ‘The opportunity to help set up IVFAustralia’s clinics, and help train and manage staff, was too good to refuse,’ Jane remembers. So she packed up her three children and husband and left the UK behind for the role of managing IVFAustralia’s Southern Sydney clinic nursing team in Kogarah. Three years later she moved to the North Shore clinic at Chatswood. Unlike many fertility nurses who initially trained as midwives, Jane’s background was as a night duty RN in gynaecology and oncology where she worked and studied for her nursing degree whilst raising her children. It was there she met somebody who worked in infertility and after talking to them, decided it was an area of nursing she wanted to explore. ‘It sounded interesting and I thought it would be nice to work with people who weren’t gravely ill,’ Jane says.

‘Patients who are going through fertility treatment are often highly emotional, as they come to terms with their infertility. You can be helping them at a potentially very exciting time in their lives. On the downside it can be just as heartbreaking when things don’t turn out as they hope.’ After five years as Manager of Nursing at IVFAustralia Northshore, Jane was promoted to Director of Nursing of IVFAustralia, increasing her responsibilities from one clinic to six with a total of 32 nursing staff. Her role means she now works closely with IVFAustralia’s Medical Director, Associate Professor Peter Illingworth, to consolidate protocols across all of the clinics and integrate nursing procedures into clinical practice. ‘This is a new position so it is still early days. However I see it as an exciting opportunity for us to provide further support for nursing staff at IVFAustralia,’ she says. ‘I also see it developing into areas of education and training, and in particular, rasing the profile of fertility nursing as a recognised field. ‘Fertility nursing has a lot of potential for growth and provides a lot of scope for career development for people with an interest in the area.’ Jane’s interest in fertility nursing education was inspired by the accredited

‘Telling patients they are pregnant is definitely the best part of the job.’ ‘While infertility is a medical condition the couples who suffer from it are generally in good health, which I thought would be a nice change to what I was used to. I have found the dynamics of working with couples very interesting. 32 THE LAMP February 2007

fertility-nursing course she undertook through the University of Leeds and which is recognised by the English National Board. It is an initiative she would like to see implemented in Australia to acknowledge the specific skills and knowledge necessary to be a fertility nurse. ‘I see fertility nursing as a specialised area, especially as the science of assisted reproduction technologies changes so rapidly. Staying on top of the latest developments in science and technology can be challenging but it is vital for us in order to provide the best patient care.

growth ‘Staying on top of the latest developments in science and technology can be challenging.’ ‘New breakthroughs are continually being introduced. These days there are many new techniques that we use. While everybody has heard of IVF where the eggs are collected and put with sperm in vitro, a more sophisticated technique called ICSI (Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection) which is particularly helpful in overcoming male infertility was introduced in 1994 and is now more common than IVF.’ Jane says the working day of the fertility nurse is busy, forever changing and comes with its highs and lows. ‘The day starts at 6.45am as we start seeing patients from around 6.50am. We are conscious of the sensitivity around what we do, so we try and work around the lives of patients as much as possible. ‘In most instances, our patients don’t tell their employers, or even their immediate family that they are undergoing treatment, so we have early appointments so that it doesn’t disrupt their working day. ‘In the early mornings between 6.50am and 9.30am some clinics see up to 60 patients. At this time the nurses conduct blood tests and ultrasounds, so all fertility nurses are trained in sonography. Mid-mornings the fertility specialists and nurses see new patients. The nurses’ role is to explain and teach them about their treatments. ‘We encourage our patients to self inject their hormone treatments and we take time to teach them how to do this. We find that partners often feel left out of the whole fertility treatment process, so we try to include them in this and show them how to give the injections.’ From midday onwards the blood tests arrive back. The nurses record the results in the patient files and call them with the results. ‘We always ensure we call those who had a pregnancy test first, as we know they

are waiting on the edge of their seat to find out.’ Jane says the best part of the job is giving patients the good news. ‘Telling patients they Jane takes a blood sample to monitor a patient’s hormone levels.

Conducting an ultrasound to monitor ovary stimulation.

Explaining the treatment orientation to a patient.

are pregnant is definitely the best part of the job, particularly when you have built a strong bond with them. Often it takes a few cycles or even more for patients to achieve a pregnancy, so over this time we get to know them very well and the relationship is more like a friendship. We love getting visits from the mum and dad with their new baby months down the track. ‘It never ceases to amaze me that miracles happen and we think of each pregnancy as a little miracle.’ n THE LAMP February 2007 33

34 THE LAMP February 2007


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The day my boiler burst Photo courtesy Yass Tribune.

g Country hospitals are no place for the faint hearted, as Karen Keith, Senior Nurse Manager at Yass District Hospital reports.


600 Wednesday: I awake to a fog bound landscape, the frost on the car impressive to a Yass expatriate. Things will have to get better I decide as I hurry to work after dropping the dog off at the vet. As I park the car at the hospital I am met by a waterfall spewing forth from the plant room. ‘Just the roof defrosting’, I tell myself. My mind focuses on the impending visit by the NSW Minister for Health, John Hatzistergos to open a palliative care suite, with members of the Ladies Auxilliary in attendance. I soon discover the roof isn’t simply defrosting. My first job is to get Tom our maintenance man. But I find out that he’s at the truck accident that has closed the highway. We know this because we have one of the drivers in ED. I call the Fire Brigade: surely they have contact with their truck? No luck. I’m back to square one. I call the casual maintenance man but he’s down the coast playing bowls! OK, I’ll go and have a look myself. I am met by about two inches of water. Looking around I see water bucketing out of one of the boilers. Although I try, I can’t get to the boiler to turn the water off, I can’t see a tap, and I’m not willing to walk through the water to investigate in case some electrical circuitry is wet. I call the local plumber who is on someone’s roof. Despite this, he arrives 15 minutes later – thank you Jim. All right, the water is turned off. I send the Admin staff to buy scones for the official morning tea. The catering staff are too busy to help with the morning tea trolley but

All’s well that ends well…pictured at the opening of the palliative care suite, from left: Kerry Hort (General Manager Southern Tablelands Health Cluster), Nigel Lyons (Acting CE Greater Southern Area Health Service) and Karen Keith (Senior Nurse Manager Yass Health Service).

we’re saved by Jacki who volunteers to leave cleaning duties to help. The VIPs are due at 11.45 am! I run down to the palliative care suite to put the doona and cover I bought last Friday on the bed. I hope the Ladies Auxiliary like it – it might be a bit bright. I check underneath the plant room. Ye Gods, a flood! There’s water coming through the lights, vents, and holes in the ceiling, making more holes than are already there.

Guests start to arrive at 11.15, settling themselves into my office. ‘Thank you ladies for coming, please relocate to the Lounge,’ I tell them. The Minister is due at 11.45. The minutes tick by with the water not boiling for tea and the scones still frozen. I receive a phone call from the helicopter at the scene of the accident asking to borrow some drugs. I then get a phone call from the vet to say my beloved dog might have

I am met by about two inches of water. Looking around I see water bucketing out of one of the boilers. ‘Need to rescue the server’ I think. Three girls paddle into the water, one slips over in a fit of giggles trying to shift the heavy desk the server is on (yes, she did an IIMS). In the meantime, the GM calls to say she’ll be late because of the truck accident. No worries, I can handle this! The inpatients are all good; they’re fed and watered even though we’ve now run out of hot water. The nursing staff are flat out, we’re fully booked. The Nurse Manager is busy with ED, the Admin staff are organizing scones and the maintenance man is delivered by police - thank you!

cancer and needs an operation. The phone rings again and it’s the GM. ‘Please tell me the Minister will be late’ I think. No, he’s early and will be there in five minutes. Shriek! I head to the Ladies – it must be nerves. I run a comb through my hair as I get a knock at the door – he’s here! The opening goes smoothly. About 20 Ladies Auxiliary members attend, and the Minister is charming. He’s accompanied by Greater Southern’s acting chief executive Nigel Lyons (thank you Nigel for your sense of humour). Kerry (our GM) arrives and rescues me. What fantastic support! n THE LAMP February 2007 35

36 THE LAMP February 2007


Q & A

when it comes to your rights and entitlements at work,

nswna assistant general secretary judith kiejda has the answers.



need to provide a medical certificate and the sick days will be credited back to your LSL.

Notice for cancellation of casual shift ADOs not transferrable I work in a public hospital and have resigned effective 31 January. I will be commencing at a new public hospital the very next day and have arranged to have my leave entitlements transferred to the new facility. I have five ADOs accumulated. Can I have them transferred to the new facility also?

When you have given notice that you intend to transfer to a new public facility, then all reasonable effort should be made to use any ADO’s that you may have accumulated prior to finishing with your current facility. The public sector mobility provisions do not allow for the transfer of any ADOs between public sector employers and so any remaining ADOs that you have accumulated on your last day of service with your current employer is to be paid out.

Sick while on LSL I work in a public hospital and am presently on Long Service Leave (LSL). I have become ill recently. Can I claim sick leave while I am on LSL?

If you become ill while on LSL you can claim sick leave. This can be done if you have sick leave due and if you are ill for periods greater than one week. You will

I recently started work on a casual basis in a public hospital. I was asked to work a particular shift with one week’s notice and I agreed to work this shift, but I was rung by the NUM three hours before I was due to start and informed that I was not needed to work. Can the shift be cancelled or should I have been paid for the shift or part of the shift?

Yes, the shift can be cancelled on short notice, and as you were given three hours’ notice there is no obligation on the employer to pay you. But if the shift had been cancelled with less than two hours’ notice, you would have been paid a minimum payment of two hours’ pay at the rate which would have applied had the cancellation not occurred.

Casual employment converted to permanent after six months I have been working as a casual registered nurse in a public hospital for the past 18 months. During this period I have asked on several occasions if I can be appointed to a permanent position either on a full-time or permanent part-time basis. My request has always been refused. I have recently read in

the award where it states if I work regular shifts then I should be offered a permanent position. Is this correct?

A casual employee who has worked with the same employer on a regular and systematic basis for a minium period of six months has the right to elect to have his/her contract of employment converted to full time or permanent part time. The process to be followed is below: c Your employer should notify you in writing within four weeks of you having completed work for the period of six months of the casual conversion clause in the award. c Once you have received the letter, you then have four weeks to respond in writing to the employer that you elect to have your contract of employment converted to full-time or part-time employment. c Your employer will then have four weeks from receiving such notice to consent or refuse your election. If your request is refused by the employer, the reasons for doing so shall be fully stated to you and discussed with you, and a genuine attempt should be made to reach an agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached than the dispute may have to be dealt through the disputes committee. c If you have not responded within the four week period of receiving the letter it will be deemed that you have elected against any such conversion.n

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Netball gives Belinda b unce g Belinda Chisholm juggles life as a busy RN in early psychosis at the Bankstown Mental Health Community Centre and as a trophy-winning netball pro on the Bankstown Hospital Olympics team.


ompeting on the Hospital Olympics netball team helps Belinda Chisholm unwind from her job as an RN for early psychosis at Bankstown Mental Health Community Centre – a job she says ‘can be stressful’. Belinda has been playing netball off and on for the past 30 years. Recently the call of the court was too strong and for the past three years she’s been back into the sport in a huge way – playing in team competitions, helping organise the Hospital Olympics and coaching her daughter’s team. ‘I really enjoy my work as a nurse in mental health. You spend most of your time communicating with people – playing netball is completely different and gives me some time out from that.’ The Hospital Olympics are held every year and 1,400 competitors, who are NSW Health and ambulance employees, participate in sports including beach volleyball, indoor cricket, darts, soccer, netball, lawn balls, snooker, tennis, ten pin bowling, athletics and golf.

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Belinda was a part of the 2006 games organising committee because she played in the 2005 competition and enjoyed it so much ‘that we thought it would be great to host the event at Bankstown’. She said the learning curve for organising the event was a steep one. ‘It’s project management really. There was

Belinda Chisholm

The ‘Hospital Olympics’ are held every year and 1,400 competitors, who are NSW Health and ambulance employees, participate in sports including beach volleyball, indoor cricket, darts, soccer, netball, lawn balls, snooker, tennis, ten pin bowling, athletics and golf. a whole lot of administrative work that we had to do – things like organising insurance – it was out of the realm of work that I normally do.’ Belinda’s team ‘The Banksie Swifts’

is made up of nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists and administration staff. They all work in mental health, with some working in the in-patient unit and some in community health.

‘We train once a week and everyone has a great time playing. We only have two games left in our night competition and everyone wanted to continue playing so we will probably enter an indoor competition,’ she said. The team finished the Hospital Olympics high on the tally board and was awarded a bronze medal in Division 1. The other Bankstown netball team was awarded a silver medal and, overall, the Bankstown netballers won the trophy for netball. Belinda thinks that people should motivate themselves to start playing a sport – or taking up something you used to enjoy – and sings the praises of netball because, even though it’s traditionally a winter sport played outside, you can play all year round in indoor games and it promotes mixed teams of all ages and skill levels. Just to prove that netball is a game for all people and all ages, Belinda is organising her own family team. The line-up includes her daughter and two sons, her partner, her brother-in-law and his partner. ‘It’s a great family game and I think we’ll make a pretty good team. Even if we don’t, it will be OK because it’s just a bit of fun.’ Belinda said most hospitals have a ‘Sport and Recreation Coordinator’ you can contact to point you in the right direction of how to join a work team. If not, start up your own sports team at work or look up your local club on the internet. n

c coommp pe et ti it ti ioonn

WIN 2-day deluxe stay at Australia’s Garden Treasure Chest The Lamp is offering NSWNA members the chance to win a fabulous two-night stay at Hunter Valley Gardens, nestled in the foothills of the rugged Brokenback Ranges at Pokolbin. Featuring twelve spectacular display gardens over 60 acres, you can bask in the Rose Garden with over 8,000 roses, see their new attraction Dancing Waters – a spectacular water, music and light show – and take in the superb views from the waterfall. Take a trip around the world as you explore the tranquil Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Italian gardens. The prize includes 2 nights’ accommodation at Tallawanta Lodge; dinner at Lazzarini’s restaurant valued at $150; breakfast and entry for 2 to Hunter Valley Gardens. The prize will be available until December 2007 – subject to availability and must be taken midweek. To enter, write your name, address and membership number on the back of an envelope and send it to. HUNTER VALLEY GARDENS COMPETITION PO Box 40, Camperdown NSW 1450. Entries must be received by 28 February 2007. For more information on Hunter Valley Gardens go to; tel: 4998 4000; fax: 4998 7835; or email Reward yourself with a visit and see why Hunter Valley Gardens were voted the BEST Tourist Attraction in NSW for the past 3 years!

Our reviewers & tipsters receive

a delightful ABC Classics CD –

for uplifting enjoyment! Gifts so good, you won’t want to give them away. There is an ABC Shop near you. For locations visit or call 1300 360 111. Ask about our Rewards program.

THE LAMP February 2007 39

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The Tale of Miss Potter g The artistic genius behind the much-loved Peter Rabbit children’s books, Beatrix Potter, is celebrated in this delightful film.


ith her legendary series of 23 books, beginning with The Tail of Peter Rabbit, she was perhaps the most distinguished children’s artist of the twentieth century. Beatrix, (played by Renee Zellweger), didn’t have an easy early life. Her mother was a Victorian social climber with strict views on etiquette. She never appreciated her daughter’s talent and kept trying to marry her off ‘suitably’. However, Beatrix was an independent-minded woman who had no time for the visits and tea parties of the era. When she was about 30 she found a publisher for her book. The Warne brothers preferred to publish popular romances, so palmed her and her ‘Bunny Book’ off to the youngest brother, Norman.

He and Beatrix had a lot in common and struck up a friendship, which led to dramatic consequences. Ewan McGregor, who plays Norman, is almost unrecognisable with a big moustache and no Scottish accent. Zellweger and McGregor perform their roles with great sensitivity – consummate actors both. Life in the early part of the 20th century was very constrained for these middle-class people – none of the personal freedoms we take for granted these days existed. How different to Bridget Jones! The period is evoked faithfully in exquisite detail. When her family goes to the Lake District for holidays, Beatrix is inspired to draw and paint; she had a vivid inner life.The scenery is absolutely breathtaking, and thanks must go to Beatrix Potter that we can

giveaway The Lamp has 25 double passes to give away to see Miss Potter, thanks to Icon Film. To enter, email with your name, membership number, address and contact number after 12 February. First entries win!

Reviewer Elizabeth Fisher, RN, Inala, Cherrybrook

Wanted Star reviewers & tipsters for our review pages

We're seeking members with a non-nursing skill or talent they'd like to share with other nurses. You could be a whiz in the kitchen. Or have some DIY plumbing and homehandy tips. Or a wild and wonderful interest or skill. Be it strange, extraordinary or useful, we'd love you to come on board as a NSWNA tipster. We are also seeking closet film buffs to share with other nurses their views on the movies they love and hate. It’s a chance to see previews of next month’s new releases. Please contact us with expressions of interest to be part of our tipster and movie review team. Be part of the action by calling Editorial Enquiries now on 02 8595 1219 or email

still enjoy it today. She was an environ­ mentalist without knowing the word. With the considerable fortune her books made for her, she brought up great tracts of farmland and forest to prevent it from being developed. When she died she left this land to The National Trust for the British people. This truly is a five-star movie that can be enjoyed by anyone, and it’s especially poignant to those of us who grew up with Peter Rabbit. Highly recommended. n Miss Potter opens nationally on 25 January 2007. THE LAMP February 2007 41



2007 NSW Nurses’ Association Council Election


ursuant to the Industrial Relations Act 1996, and the Regulation there­under, the Electoral Commissioner for New South Wales will be the Returning Officer for the 2007 election of the Council of the New South Wales Nurses’ Association.

Nominations Nominations in writing are invited on and from Wednesday 21 February 2007 for the following positions: c General Secretary (1 to be elected) c Assistant General Secretary (1 to be elected) c Councillors from the Committee of Delegates (21 to be elected) All persons who are financial members of the Association at the date of calling of nomi­nations (ie Wednesday 21 February 2007) and who have been continuously financial for the preceding two years shall be eligible to nominate for election to the offices of General Secretary or Assistant General Secretary. Candidates for the positions of Councillor are required to be Delegates to the Committee of Delegates elected in 2007 in accordance with the Rules of the Association. Note: A person may nominate for one position only. Pro-forma nomination forms may be ob­tained from the New South Wales Electoral Commission, Level 25, 201 Kent Street, Sydney telephone (02) 9290 5999 or from the New South Wales Nurses’ Association, 43 Australia Street, Camperdown telephone (02) 8595 1234 or from

Close of Nominations Nominations must be received by the Returning Officer, New South Wales Electoral Commission not later than noon, Monday 30 April 2007. They may be hand delivered to the New South Wales Electoral Commission, Level 25, 201 Kent Street Sydney; posted to PO Box 693 Grosvernor Place, NSW 1220; or fax to (02) 9290 5939.

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Any defect in a nomination must be rectified by the candidate prior to the close of nominations. A candidate may only withdraw his/her nomination in writing so as to be received by the Returning Officer prior to the close of nominations. Should more than the required number of nominations be received a draw will be conducted to determine the order of candidates’ names on the ballot paper at the New South Wales Electoral Commission at 11.00am, Tuesday 1 May 2007. Candidates or their representatives are invited to witness the draw.

Voting If the election is contested, a postal ballot will be conducted to close at noon, Tuesday 19 June 2007. All members of the New South Wales Nurses’ Association financial as at noon, Monday 30 April 2007 and entitled to vote will be sent a ballot paper on Monday 21 May 2007. The method of voting to be observed for this election will be optional preferential for the positions of General Secretary and Assistant General Secretary and multi-optional preferential for the position of Councillor. Members should ensure that the Asso­ciation is aware of their current residential address as voting material will be posted to each member’s residential address. Any enquiries concerning this elec­tion should be directed to the New South Wales Electoral Com­mis­sion, telephone (02) 9290 5999 or 1300 135 736. Note: The NSWNA has indicated that it proposes to publish details in support of candidature in respect of each candidate in the May issue of The Lamp. Candidates should ensure that these details are supplied to the Association no later than the time for close of nominations (i.e. noon, Monday 30 April 2007). No information in respect of candidates will be sent with electoral material. Colin Barry Returning Officer


o b i t u a r y

Caring and dedicated – to nursing and family Robyn Jeanette Nolan 15 June 1950 – 25 August 2006


obyn Jeanette Nolan (RN) was a caring and dedicated person with a highly commendable nursing career spanning 40 years, 20 as the After Hours Co-ordinator at North Gosford Private Hospital. Robyn’s story is one of two passions; her family life and her nursing career. Du­ring her long and eventful career she touched the hearts of numerous people and was loved and respected by those who knew her. Robyn began her nursing career in 1967 as a student nurse at Mona Vale District Hospital and graduated as an RN in 1971. From there she decided to further her studies in obstetrics and became a student midwife at Royal North Shore Hospital. She became a certified midwife in 1972, taking on the responsibilities of a senior reliever and in-charge nurse of the labour, post-natal and prenatal wards. Robyn also became involved in staff management and teaching of student midwives and medical students there. In 1974 she worked as a practice mana­ger for a private obstetrician and gynaecologist. It was there she began her management training and assisted in research projects involving laparoscopic sur­gery and insemination of partners of paraplegic males. Robyn was enthusiastic about wanting to better the ways of medicine

and was always involved in things she knew would help improve her practice. She left work in 1978 and gave birth to her son, Steven. Shortly after she moved with husband Peter and Steven to the Central Coast. Robyn returned to work in 1980 as a midwife at Gosford District Hospital and worked for the Central Coast Area Health Service, where she worked in all areas, including postnatal, delivery suite and the well baby nursery. She left work for a short while again in 1983 for the birth of her daughter, Alison. In 1984 Robyn decided to make a change in her career path, and moved to the private hospital sector, taking a position at North Gosford Private Hospital. After two years working as a registered nurse, Robyn was promoted to After Hours Co-ordinator, a position she held for 20 years. During this time Robyn spent two years as the president of the NSW Nurses’ Association NGPH branch. She also embarked on further study, completing a postgraduate degree in nursing management with distinction. With her vast experience and supreme competence, Robyn was a valuable asset to NGPH. She was depen­ ded and relied upon. One of the longestserving staff members, her colleagues would say she was part of the furniture. Robyn’s work ethic was admirable; she

worked right up until she was diagnosed in April, and even when unwell had hopes of returning to work part-time. Despite Robyn’s dedicated commitment and passion for her work, her number-one priority was her family. She was clearly proud of her children, was never short of a photograph, and the births of her two grandchildren ignited a newfound spark. Her aim was to be the best Nan in the world. Robyn sadly passed away on the 25 August 2006 after a courageous but short battle with aggressive metastatic melanoma, just 17 weeks after she was diagnosed. She died at home surrounded by her immediate family and her funeral was attended by more than 300 people. Robyn is, and will always be, sadly missed by her family, her friends and colleagues. n By the Nolan Family

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Where to get this month’s new releases

l i f e s t y l e

Book me Primary Care of Women: A Guide For Midwives and Women’s Health Providers by Barbara Hackley, Jan M. Kriebs and Mary Ellen Rousseau, Jones & Bartlett, RRP $145.00, ISBN 0-7637-1650-2 Primary Care of Women is the first textbook to specifically address primary care in midwifery practice and will be useful to midwives already in practice who desire an upto-date compilation of primary care content, providing the background they need in order to meet the health care needs of their clients. The text covers prevention, including lifestyle changes and immunisations; screening; management of common health problems appropriate to nurse-midwifery practice; and the presentation and management of common health problems in pregnancy.

Successful Qualitative Health Research: A Practical Introduction by Emily C. Hansen, Allen & Unwin, RRP $39.95, ISBN 1-74114-678-X Successful Qualitative Health Research is a practical guide for health students and professionals embarking on



research using qualitative methods. It provides the reader with advice about designing a research project utilising qualitative methods, collecting different types of qualitative data and what to do with this data once collected (analysis and presentation). Examples of ‘real-life’ case studies are included, written by experienced researchers from health-related disciplines including public health, nursing, health program evaluation and sociology.

Core Curriculum for Occupational & Environmental Health Nursing (3rd edition) by American Association of Occupational Health Nurses and edited by Mary K. Salazar, Saunders Elsevier, RRP $107.80, ISBN 14160-2374-7 This book is a com­ prehensive overview of occupational and environmental health nursing and is the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses’ statement of the scope of practice for this nursing specialty. Written in outline format, it can be used as a textbook for an occupational and environmental health nursing course, as a clinical reference in a variety of occupa­ tional settings, and as a certification review tool. New to this edition is a chapter added on disaster planning and management, revised competencies, revised code of ethics, standards of practice, and the latest government initiatives and guidelines.



Critical Care Intravenous Infusion Drug Handbook By Gary J. Algozzine, Robert Algozzine and Deborah J. Lilly, Elsevier-Mosby, RRP $38.95, ISBN 0-323-03121-8 This practical reference was developed to meet the needs of critical care and emergency nurses, physicians and pharmacists in administering complex drugs given by IV infusion. Presented in easy-to-use handbook format, it contains information on how to dose and administer complex and commonly used critical care drugs. Each drug is listed with information about what its most common uses are, how to prepare the drug infusion for patient administration, the most common dosages, the most common warnings and adverse reactions, compatibility with other drug infusions and general nursing considerations. One of its most unique features is the inclusion of calculation factors. Reference items are not available for loan but may be viewed by visiting the NSWNA Library.

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,

Transforming Practice through Clinical Education, Professional Supervision and Mentoring edited by Miranda Rose and Dawn Best, with foreword by Joy Higgs, Churchill Livingstone, RRP $83.50, ISBN 0-443-07454-2 This important resource investigates topics related to clinical education, professional supervision, and mentoring and discusses supervision of professionals in the workplace and the emerging importance of mentoring for ongoing professional development. Its broad perspective is relevant to a wide range of health professions, including audiology, dietetics, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physiotherapy, podiatry, prosthetics and orthotics, radiography, and speech-language pathology and is presented in a readily accessible style for the timeshort health practitioner or academic.

Medical Terminology in a Flash! An Interactive Flash-Card Approach By Sharon Eagle, F. A. Davis Company, RRP $80.00, ISBN 0-8036-1366-0 After explaining the Latin roots of medical terminology, this medical assistant textbook introduces the components, structure, function, and diseases of the nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, urinary, reproductive, endocrine, and musculoskeletal systems. Colourful anatomy drawings, encouraging cartoons and practice exercises are provided. The CD-ROM included summarises, clarifies and provides positive feedback through each chapter and contains learning activities and more exercises. n THE LAMP February 2007 45

46 THE LAMP February 2007

Crossword Test your knowledge with The Lamp’s nursing crossword 1










11 12





17 18







25 26


s across

s down

7. Mental degeneration that can occur with ageing (8) 9. Vomiting (6) 10. Device used to locate an object using radio waves (5) 11. The seven small bones of the ankle (6) 13. Infections (9) 14. Excess uric acid in the blood causing arthritis (4) 15. Molar or incisor (5) 17. Barrage (5) 19. Pimples (4) 20. Absorbs in the gut (7) 22. Your little finger (6) 24. An egg (4) 26. Wound or sore (6) 27. One of Australia’s fastest growing diseases, especially type II (8)

1. Myocardial infarction (5,6) 2. Malnourish, deprive of food (6) 3. Component of milk many are intolerant to (7) 4. Death of tissue (8) 5. Drugs used to decrease the workload of the heart, …. blockers (4) 6. Assistant nurse, abbrev (1.1.1) 8. Instrument used in endoscopy (9) 12. Diseases where the immune system attacks the body, like arthritis or lupus (10) 14. Painful solid formed in the gallbladder (4,5) 16. Lymphadenoma, a type of cancer (8) 18. Concurred, decided (6) 21. Relating to the bone at the base of the spine (6) 23. Coloured part of the eye (4) 25. Observe, have sight (3) Solution page 49 THE LAMP February 2007 47

Mercure Grosvenor Hotel Adelaide This historical building is located in downtown Adelaide city, a short stroll to Rundle Mall and the Central Business District. With facilities including The Federal Restaurant & Bar, car parking, Internet kiosk, Foxtel and Internet access in rooms. Mercure Grosvenor Hotel is the perfect place to base yourself when you next visit Adelaide. Special Offer Bed & Breakfast for two in the Federal Restaurant, all for only $135 subject to availability When Booking Mention NSW Nurses Association and you will receive two drink vouchers for the Federal Bar on arrival. Reservation: +618 8407 8888 email is 125 North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000.

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DIARY DATES Conferences, seminars, meetings Sydney, Hunter & Illawarra The Mental Health Services (TheMHS) Summer Forum – ‘The Mental Health Workforce of the Future’ Date: 15 & 16 February, Swiss Grand Hotel, Bondi Beach Registration available via TheMHS website,, email or call 02 9810 8700 Healthcare Redesign for the Ageing population Date: 26 February, 8:30am- 5:30pm Venue: Crown Plaza – Darling Harbour Cost: $2,699 for the conference and $520 per workshop. $500 discount for public hospitals. Contact: Sam Morrow (02) 9229 1067 Email: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health – ‘Moving forward together: delivering improved indigenous health outcomes” Date: 28 February, Carlton Crest Hotel Contact: Sam Morrow (02) 9229 1067 Email: Heartbeat 2007 Cardiovascular Conf. Date: 3 March, Australian Technology Park Contact: Caroline Jones (02) 8850 6796 Email: 9 National Rural Health Conference Date: 7 – 10 March, Albury Convention Ctr Contact: Information Desk, (02) 9285 4660, Email: th

Working Together – Australian College of Emergency Nursing Conf. 2007 Date: 9 –10 March 2007, Manly Pacific Hotel, 55 North Steyne Street, Manly Contact: Mathew Welfare – Conference Convener, (02) 9629 8688 Email:

Australian Association of Stomal Therapy Nurses Inc. – 36th Annual Conference 2007 “Licensed to Skill” Date: 14 March 2007, Novotel, Wollongong Contact: Trish Morgan, (02) 9382 3869, Dischare Planning Association Date: 8 February 2007, 2pm, Sydney Adventist Hospital Contact: Kerrie Kneen 9487-9750 Hollistic Nurses Summer Retreat Date: 31 March – 3 April 2007, 3-day summer retreat to Snowy Mountains. Bus will leave Sydney early Friday. Venue: Silver Brumby Lodge Cost: $300 for HNA of NSW members. $360 for non-members Contact: David Terelinck 409 031 191 Email: NSW Operating Theatre Assoc. Conf. 50 yrs golden reflections & new directions Date: 12 April, Darling Harbour Contact: Sue Baird, 02 60584656 Email: XVII World Congress of the WAS, 1st World Congress for Sexual Health Achieving Health, Pleasure and Respect Date: 15-19 April, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre Contact: ICE Australia, 02 9368 1200 Email: CeBIT Australia 2007 – Australia’s leading business and technology event Date: 1 May, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Ctr Contact: Blake Young, 02 92803400 Partnership in Practice Australian Association of Maternal Child and Family Health Nurses in partnership with Karitane and Tresilian Family Care centres second national conference. Date: 3 May. Workshop 1-5pm Conference 4–5 May, 8.30-5pm

Venue: Sydney Convention Centre Contact: Corporate Communique, Conference organisers, 03 5977 0244, Hunter Wound Interest Group Conf. Date: 10 May, Newcastle Town Hall Contact: Margo Asimus, 02 4924 6100,

Interstate Australasia Urological Nurses Society – Annual Conference Date: 18 February 2007, Adelaide Contact: Karina So (02) 9767 5000

Social event Illawarra International Nurses Day Glitz and Glamour Ball 2007 Date: 11 May, 6.30pm – midnight, Fraternity Club Cost: $85/$20 pp deposit (non-refundable) Contact: Glen Barrington on 0402 000 841,

Crossword solution

Reunions Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children 30 year Reunion – PTS 1977 10 February, Wi Marn Thai Rest, 12 noon Cost: $30 per person BYO Contact: Jo Lee (Rabbidge) (02) 9477 2914, RGH Concord – PTS Group Feb 1982 Date: 10 February, Concord Hospital Contact: Katrina Hobbelen, 0410 001 823 Email: Grafton Base Hospital – PTS Feb 1972 Date: 16 February, Opal Cove Resort Contact: Kathy Sullivan Email: RPA Hospital Nurses Reunion – PTS March 1972 Group Date: 9 March 2007, Rydges Hotel, Missenden Road, Camperdown, NSW Contact: Sally Boyle (02) 9624 3117 Email: Newcastle Mater Intensive Care Unit 25 Year Reunion Celebration Calling all staff past & present Date: 17 March, South Leagues Club, Newcastle Contact: Maria Dolahenty or Frances O’Connor 02 4921 1801, Western Suburbs Hosp. Reunion 2007 Date: 26 May, 12 - 4pm, Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club Contact: Lesley Potter (02) 9349 8387 Email: Concord General (Repat) Hospital – 50 year reunion Searching for nurses that did their training at Concord General from 1958-1962. Anyone who has any info please contact Jeanette Bundy on 02 6341 2818 or write to 2/33 Logan St, COWRA NSW 2794

Diary Dates Diary Dates is a free service for members. Please send the diary dates details, in the same format used here – event, date, venue, contact details, via email, fax, mail and the web before the 5th of the month prior, for example: 5th of August for September Lamp. Send information to: Editorial Enquiries Email: Fax: 9550 3667, mail: PO Box 40 Camperdown NSW 1450 Please double-check all information sent is correct. The Lamp cannot guarantee that the issue will always be mailed in time for the listed event. Due to high demands on the page, some dates too close to publication or too far in the future may be cut. The dates that are to be printed are for three months in total. For example, in the March Lamp = March, April, May dates will be printed. Only Diary Dates with an advised date and contact person will be published. Diary Dates are also on the web – Special Interest Groups Special Interest Groups is now part of Diary Dates. If you are a special in­te­rest group, you now must send information about your event as above.

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

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The Lamp February 2007