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International Nurses Day - May 12

11 May 2006

International Nurses Day - May 12

Saving the Lives of Patients and Nurses

“Safe staffing saves lives. Nurses all over the world believe this and that is one of the reasons why the International Council of Nurses has chosen this as the theme for tomorrow’s International Nurses Day,” said New Zealand Nurses Organisation professional services manager, Joy Bickley-Asher, today.

Joy Bickley-Asher said nurses around New Zealand would celebrate their connections with nurses around the world and focus on the safe staffing theme on Friday.

Serena Stace, a paediatric nurse at Capital Coast, and NZNO Wellington regional convenor, was planning to be at the celebrations.

“Alas, short staffing means that, ironically, she is unable to come,” said Bickley-Asher.

Bickley-Asher said there was the simple answer to saving the lives of patients was having the right number of nurses, in the right place, at the right time, with the right kind of experience.

“When this formula is in place patients have the best chance of getting well and going home or dying in a dignified way,” she said.

“What is not so well known is that this does not just save patients’ lives. It also saves the lives of nurses, because the pressure of unmanageable workloads makes nurses sick.”

Joy Bickley-Asher said having enough properly qualified nurses to provide efficient and professional care was a global problem.

“Nurses are leaving nursing for a number of reasons, not least of all because they are unwilling to put up with unmanageable workloads on a daily basis,” she said.

Staffing shortages were a major issue in NZNO DHB MECA negotiations in 2004. Part of the MECA agreement involved the setting up of a committee of inquiry into safe staffing and healthy workplaces. The working party report will soon be released.


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