Tamworth’s Benetta Woods has first-hand knowledge of the plight of nurses and their fight for better wages and more staff.
I AM writing to you about the nurses union and their fight for a fair wage and more nurses.
I have a good insight and it is not pretty.
Yes, nurses of all levels need a pay rise for the work they do.
It is hard work and I have been there when enrolled nurses (EN) and assistants in nursing (AIN) do all the heavy lifting without the help of registered nurses (RN), even when asked.
Full time RNs and ENs are put on in numbers, which is a joke.
For example, on one ward there were three RNs, one EN and one AIN.
While the RNs and the EN were using medications, the AIN was to give all the patients in that ward a wash, attend to observations and to toilet those who needed assistance and position changes.
After each medication round or wound dressing, the RNs and ENs would have regular tea/smoko breaks while the AINs were lucky to get a meal break.
To top it off, for every RN you can hire two ENs and for every two ENs you can hire three AINs.
At most, one RN and one EN would be sufficient to do medications, which would save the health system a lot.
Why have the extra staff when they are not required?
The nurses in ICU and critical care units do more work and get a break if they are lucky, depending on the patients they care for. They need more help.
The other matter is the way management at Tamworth hospital treat their casual staff.
During peak times they complain that they can’t find enough staff, and why?
Because when students are doing their work placements, casual staff are laid off with no work and because they’re casual, no pay, while the hospital uses the students as free labour.
When I did my nursing studies you were supervised to make sure you were doing the job properly.
These days it is mostly textbook learning because during work placement, they are rarely supervised enough to get the training they need.