The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) today welcomes the announcement from the NSW Labor Party to enforce minimum staffing commitments and boost nursing numbers in the state.
The proposals include staffing levels determined on a shift-by-shift basis and funding for an additional 1,200 nurses to those announced in the State Budget.
ACN CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said the announcement was practical and pragmatic, enabling nursing leaders to determine the safe staffing and skills mix required and address shortages, but more detail on plans to retain nurses are needed.
“I welcome NSW Labor’s focus on the nursing workforce ahead of next year’s election,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.
“Today’s announcement reflects the importance of the nursing profession for the health of all in New South Wales.
“However, ACN would like more detail on the plan to recruit and distribute the additional 1,200 nurses and see a greater focus on retaining and supporting our existing nursing workforce.
“I continue to hear stories from my nursing colleagues of the sacrifices and conditions they are enduring, including double shifts, cancelled leave, burnout and exhaustion.
“ACN has long advocated for a range of workforce factors to be considered, including the skills-mix of nurses working on a shift.
“There must be an adequate balance of experienced and skilled nurses to mentor early career nurses and ensure the complex health needs of consumers are addressed.
“Investing in leadership development, prioritising the health and wellbeing of staff, and educational opportunities are urgently needed.
“I welcome NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns and Shadow Health Minister Ryan Park to meet to discuss solutions to nursing shortages because when we invest in nurses, we invest in the health of all Australians,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.