Victorian Nurses' Union To Help Retain Thousands Of Injured And Ill Nurses

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12th November 2009, 04:44pm - Views: 410





People Feature Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) 1 image

People Feature Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) 2 image


ANF (Vic Branch) is Victoria’s peak nursing industrial and professional body representing more than 48,000 members



Media inquiries: ANF (Vic Branch) Media Officer Robyn Asbury 03 9275 9333 or 0417 523 252



Media Release

Attention: news, health, politics



Thursday 12 November 2009

Victorian nurses’ union to launch initiatives to help retain

thousands of injured and ill nurses and midwives


The Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) will launch innovative new initiatives next Monday 16 November

2009 designed to keep more than 1000 injured and ill nurses and midwives in the nursing workforce each year. This

will save millions of dollars associated with nurse shortages, replacing nurses and training. 


The Nurses Return to Work in Hospitals initiatives will be launched by WorkSafe Victoria Chief Executive Greg

Tweedly at the ANF (Victorian Branch) Nurses Return to Work in Hospitals Conference.


The initiatives provide best practice guides, solutions and practical tools for injured and ill nurses, their employers,

their medical practitioners and other stakeholders to improve return to work outcomes. They focus on identifying what

nurses can do, rather than what they cannot do, and are aimed at supporting the nurse or midwife to return or remain

working in a clinical capacity with patients following an injury or illness. Where this is not possible, the program

focuses on rehabilitation and provides career resources to identify a range of alternative nursing role opportunities.


Victorian nurses and midwives suffered more than 8000 compensated work injuries and illness between 2000 and

2007 costing Victorian taxpayers, health employers and individual nurses and midwives millions of dollars each year.

The most experienced and skilled nurses and midwives, aged between 34 to 54 years, represented 64 per cent of

those injuries.


The Nurses Return to Work in Hospitals Project is the first comprehensive investigation into the process of what

happens to injured and ill nurses who try to return to work in hospitals and has already received interest from nursing

organisations and employers across Australia and internationally. 


The initiatives are the result of the three-year project, funded by the WorkSafe Victoria’s RTW Fund, to identify

barriers to and factors for the successful return to work of nurses and midwives who are injured or ill through work in

hospitals. ANF conducted the project in partnership with the employer representative, the Victorian Hospitals’

Industrial Association, and with the support of the Injured Nurses Support Group and occupational physician Dr Helen

Sutcliffe.


ANF (Victorian Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said: “The union’s done a lot of work to reduce and prevent nurses’

injuries through the introduction of the no manual lifting policy and strategies to reduce violence and aggression

against nurses, workplace bullying and stress. This new program is just as innovative because the emphasis is on

what a nurse can do when returning to work and on retaining nurses within the profession.


“No one had any data, but anecdotally everyone knew injured and ill nurses were facing enormous challenges

returning to work and that hospitals were losing highly skilled clinicians,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.

(page 1 of 2)

People Feature Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) 3 image


ANF (Vic Branch) is Victoria’s peak nursing industrial and professional body representing more than 48,000 members

540 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne phone 03 9275 9333 fax 03 9275 9344 email rasbury@anfvic.asn.au www.anfvic.asn.au


Media inquiries: ANF (Vic Branch) Media Officer Robyn Asbury 03 9275 9333 or 0417 523 252


“Until now an injured nurse or midwife would lodge a claim for workers compensation and participate in return to work

with limited knowledge of their entitlements and without understanding their rights and responsibilities within the

system,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.


“No one has wanted to give this information to injured nurses or midwives out of fear that they will want to claim the

entitlement. This exacerbates and reinforces the financial impact of the injury on the employer. The injured nurse is

given non-nursing tasks, such as filing and answering phones, and believes she has no value in the workplace which

can have a demoralising effect.” she said.


“Relegating a skilled and experienced nurse to paperwork or letting them leave nursing all together is a waste of

skilled nurses and a waste of money and during a worldwide nurse shortage there is absolutely no excuse for it.


“These initiatives are the start of a major cultural shift within the health industry with everyone from the bottom up

looking at what an injured or ill nurse can do. This will significantly reduce the number of highly skilled and

experienced nurses who are lost to the profession each year when the reality is that with support they can still be

productive members of the clinical team,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.  


The initiatives are based on formal and informal consultation with injured nurses and their colleagues, nurse unit

managers, directors of nursing, hospital executives and insurance agencies, about what was happening and what was

needed to happen to make the process of returning to work better for the individual nurse, the workplace and the

employer.


WorkSafe’s Greg Tweedly said WorkSafe’s Return to Work Fund was created to encourage and support collaboration

between employer and worker groups, and workplace parties, to increase return to work opportunities for injured

Victorian workers.



Media opportunity

When: 

Monday 16 November 2009, 9am -10am first session

What: 

WorkSafe Victoria Chief Executive Greg Tweedly will launch the new Nurses Return to Work in Hospitals

initiatives at the ANF (Victorian Branch) Nurses Return to Work Conference 

Where: 

ANF Conference Centre, 540 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, (Level 7)



injured nurses will also be available for interview and photographs


 


Media inquiries

ANF (Victorian Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick on 0413 245 164

ANF (Victorian Branch) Media Officer Robyn Asbury on 0417 523 252










(page 2 of 2)






People Feature Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) 4 image


ANF (Vic Branch) is Victoria’s peak nursing industrial and professional body representing more than 48,000 members

540 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne phone 03 9275 9333 fax 03 9275 9344 email rasbury@anfvic.asn.au www.anfvic.asn.au


Media inquiries: ANF (Vic Branch) Media Officer Robyn Asbury 03 9275 9333 or 0417 523 252












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