Nursing

Australia’s Nursing Crisis Snapshot

“Nursing, already under pressure, is reaching breaking point due to the pressures of COVID-19 and a disjointed healthcare system, including the acute, primary and aged care sectors”, says Kylie Ward, Australian College of Nursing CEO adding, “We must act now to protect our nurses and healthcare; the time has come for a national reckoning on nursing in Australia.”

Australian nurses cannot continue to work under the extreme pressure they are currently operating under – the impacts are mounting.

The almost 400,000 Australian nurses are a constant presence in every one of our major life milestones, national emergencies and global crises. The nurse of today holds a science degree, possesses highly technical training, valuable medical opinions, front-row expertise, is an effective trainer, and is skilled in population and systemic thinking. But the pandemic is inflicting a major emotional and physical toll on nurses.

In this “Perspectives” special, Australian Health Journal spoke with 4 nurses on the challenges they or nurses in their circle have experienced, the key issues as well some of the opportunities. These nurses come from national leadership & policy, large scale workforce management, a final year student completing over a year on placement across 6 Melbourne Hospitals and a NSW based ICU nurse stranded in Mexico, unable to return to a critical role in nursing to an already strained team due to incoming quotas.

While the issues are challenging, there are strategies that can be put into place to ease the pressure, to support nurses, and nursing care in Australia. These are discussed by the the 4 nurses.

– Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN CEO, Australian College of Nursing

– Adjunct Professor Alanna Geary FACN ACN Chair of Workforce Sustainability Policy Chapter & Chief Nursing & Midwifery Officer, Metro North Health

– Natalie Reyes, NSW based ICU Nurse Currently stranded in Mexico

– Hayley Pollock, Final Year Bachelor of Nursing Student & ACN Emerging Nurse Leader

Caring for community

With a passion for helping people, Carina Fernandes in her final year at Western Sydney University received accolades as a nursing student. Now a recent graduate, having completed her Bachelor of Nursing (Advanced) degree, and recognised as an Emerging Nurse Leader 2021 by the Australian College of Nursing, Carina has her sights set on her new role in healthcare, at the same time keeping sustainability top of mind.

Shared experiences in written blogs help early career nurses.

When Emerging Nurse Leader, Lucy Osborn MACN started her career in nursing, she knew the importance of continuing development and learning.

In 2017 she started to write “The Scrubs That Fit” blog series for the Australian College of Nursing blog NurseClick. Lucy first started to write to keep a journal of her experiences, and an opportunity to improve her writing skills. To date, over 50 articles have been written in all areas of interest for new nurses.

As students and early career nurses Carina Fernandes and Hayley Pollock both found the writing invaluable for their transition. Hayley comments, “I don’t feel alone in what I’m experiencing and there are helpful tips in being a student as well as transitioning to being a graduate. It answers the questions I don’t always feel I can ask face to face”.

4 Years On

Launched 4 years ago, the Queensland Health’s Nurse Navigator program was created for patients with complex care needs. The Nurse Navigators are Advanced Practice Nurses and Midwives that help patients with care coordination and care planning.

A Nurse Navigator has the system knowledge and access, clinical skills and time to understand each person’s needs and to partner with them to develop a plan of care that addresses their health needs and respects and values their time and circumstances.

People in Health Care – Luke Yokota MACN Registered Intensive Care Nurse

Luke Yokota MACN is a Registered Intensive Care Nurse at Queensland’s Princess Alexandra Hospital and also the Chair of the Australian College of Nursing Men In Nursing Working Party. Luke has become a passionate advocate for diversity in nursing – a profession where men currently make up just 10%.

“Nurses can do more, should do more and now they will do more”, The Hon Minister Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health.

Advanced Practice Nurses comprise 9% of the total nursing workforce, with 26,000 clinicians Australia wide. However although highly skilled, they are under-utilised and constrained to the full scope of practice. The Australian College of Nursing believes this needs to change. Nurse led models of care in which Advanced Practice Nurses play a significant role in service provision, must feature in the future. ACN President Professor Christine Duffield FACN states, “It’s now widely acknowledged internationally that nurses can provide a clinical and very valuable service that’s better suited to the healthcare needs of some consumer groups.”

Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program

How does a nurse navigate senior management to affect change within their organisation? It’s a gap that Australian College of Nursing is helping to fill with it’s Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program that gives established nursing professional access to prominent leaders in nursing.

ACN National Nursing Forum 2019

The Australian College of Nursing National Nursing Forum was held in Hobart Tasmania in August 2019.

International Nurses Day 2019

Ahead of International Nurses Day on Sunday 12th May 2019, Australian College of Nursing (ACN) hosted the Health Minister’s Award for Nursing Trailblazers. Australian Health Journal met with the finalists and the winner for 2019, Nikki Johnston.

Nursing Now Australia Launches

The evening of Tuesday 9th April saw the launch of Nursing Now Australia in Sydney, with Lord Nigel Crisp, Co-Chair of Nursing Now.

Professor Christine Duffield FACN, President of Australian College of Nursing welcomed the start of the campaign and explained the relevance to Australian Nurses.

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