SIGN UP: Nurse Zoe-Guinea Anne, Therese Woodward, Pam Barrett, resident Colin Alexander and nurse Claire Bathgate.
SIGN UP: Nurse Zoe-Guinea Anne, Therese Woodward, Pam Barrett, resident Colin Alexander and nurse Claire Bathgate. Alina Rylko

Provest backs nurses’ fight to keep RNs

TWEED nurses and elderly residents are fighting to keep registered nurses (RNs) compulsory in nursing homes.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest was presented with a 5000-signature petition today to lobby on behalf of the nurses in a current inquiry into the NSW Government's plan to ease the need for RNs.

"I commit to you if it does go to vote, I would not support it," Mr Provest told the nurses at his electorate office on Monday as he received the petition which he will submit to Parliament on Tuesday.

"I think RNs should be in nursing homes and I don't think that should change," he said.

Tweed branch president of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association Zoe-Anne Guinea said RNs were crucial because they carried out skilled clinical treatments such as catheter changes and end of life pain management with narcotics.

They also assess with higher skill when elderly patients need emergency transfers, she said.

"Unnecessary admissions via emergency departments are detrimental to older people and put pressure on already-stretched ambulance and public hospital systems," Ms Guinea said.

She said changes would potentially affect about 15 aged care homes on the Tweed and hundreds of RNs on staff at the homes.

The cost difference between RNs and ENs and assistants is up to $10 per hour. Therefore, Ms Guinea said a move to remove the requirement for RNs was profit-driven.

"If you don't have to put up a registered nurse, it cuts the amount of wages," she said.



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