Tag Archives: nursing

The Last 40-Odd Weeks

This blog post has one purpose only.

It is to explain why I have been so uncharacteristically vague, and often distracted, for the last 40-odd weeks.

During that time many dozens of people (most of them uni students, but also friends, family and colleagues) have asked this question: “Are you still teaching at the uni?” My wishy-washy responses have been along these lines:
“Hopefully!”
“I’m not sure.”
or the hilariously inaccurate “Ask me again in a couple of weeks.”

FullSizeRender copy

Let me explain/elaborate by using a timeline:

1995: Started working for the health department full-time [see LinkedIn]

1996: Started working for the uni temporarily/part-time – an arrangement that continues sporadically over the years that follow [see LinkedIn]

May 2015: I’m working at the uni. Casual chat between senior uni colleague and I. Outcome = let’s think about the possibility of a shared position between the uni and the health department. There would be some benefits to both organisations. It’d be a pretty cool gig, I reckon.

June 2015: Senior uni colleague says “let’s do it!”. A meeting is held between senior uni colleague and a senior health department colleague. Verbal agreement established. The uni sends a contract to the health department. The first draft of the role description is drawn up by the uni and sent to the health department. The contract and position description cite an October 2015 start date.

July 2015: I’m back at the health department. I make sure that people who need to know about the new position coming know, and offer to help progress things along if I can. Funding’s an issue, of course, but there should be a way…

August 2015: I make occasional enquiries. Bureaucracies need processes and time. Be patient.

September 2015: More enquiries. It’s all about the paper-trail, funding, signatures. Be patient.

October 2015: My enquiries must be getting a bit too shrill. Emails are not answered. Phone calls are not returned. The intended start-date for the position passes.

November 2015: I’m getting anxious about the delayed start not leaving enough time for 2016 subject preparation. I start pulling on the very few levers that are available to me: someone who knows someone who knows someone will look into it. I rescheduled my December flights: if I happen to get this job I won’t have time to go to Japan in December. The teaching starts in January, and there needs to be subject preparation.

December 2015: The position is advertised. Yay!
My request for consideration of transfer at level so as to expedite the position starting in a timely manner is declined. Bugger.
I send in my application and hope for the best.

8th January 2016: Interviewed for the position. I was phoned after the interview and offered a 3 month secondment into the position. That’s weird. It’s funded for 5 years. I ask to think about it over the weekend.

8th-10th January 2016:  Consult with my wife and trusted friends. Consensus is that if I’m good enough to do the job for 3 months, it’s weird that I’m not good enough to do the job for the term of the contract. I find myself thinking of the refrain from Bob Dylan’s Ballad of a Thin Man:
Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

11th January 2016: “Thank you very much for offering me a 3 month position. However, I applied for a 5 year position. I can only commit to the position if the organisation commits to me.” Nice try Paul. “We’ll let you know when we schedule another interview.”

18th January 2016: The uni teaching period starts. The subject is underway without the position being filled.

2nd February 2016: Interviewed for the position again.

2nd February – 31st March 2016: I hear nothing at all officially. Other people do. It makes its way along the health department grapevine that someone else has been successful. One of those whispers reaches me via a convoluted track. I’m disappointed, of course, but not surprised. Silence is the polar opposite of someone enthusiastically saying, “Congrats! We reckon you’ll be great! When can you start?”

1st April 2016 (no, not joking): An email from noreply@smartjobs.qld.gov.au that says “I wish to advise that on this occasion you have not been successful in obtaining the position.”

So that’s it.

I can drop the vague, unknowing responses to enquiries now. It’s a relief to know. It’s a relief to be able to be open and transparent again. I didn’t get the job that I was hoping for. Yes, of course I am disappointed. However, I am totally accepting of the obvious fact that there was another candidate for the position who is better credentialed, better prepared and/or more meritorious for the role.

Ricky Ponting wouldn’t feel bad if somebody said Don Bradman was a better cricketer than him. Same-same, but different. Not that I’m the Ricky Ponting of mental health nurse education. More like Boof Lehmann, I reckon.:-)

I am disappointed by how long the whole recruiting process took. The uni sent the contract and position description to the health department in June 2015. It’s taken the health department until April 2016 to fill the position. That’s longer than a human pregnancy.

IMG_7564

Despite being there for the courtship, conception and gestation, I now know it’s not my baby.

The other lesson I’ve taken from this is to cautiously self-monitor my behaviour at work (I’m a mental health nurse in a general hospital ). In clinical supervision we recognise that there are parallel processes: how a nurse treats a patient can be influenced by how the organisation treats the nurse. It is prudent that I be especially intentional and vigilant to treat my patients in a timely manner, and with the kindness and respect they deserve.

The last 40-odd weeks have been odd. Sorry about all my distractibility and wishy-washy responses to questions during that time. I hope this timeline/blog post explains it all.

End

That’s it. Thanks for reading.

Paul McNamara, 3rd April 2016

Short URL: http://meta4RN.com/40weeks

Nurses on the 2016 Australia Day Honours List

Extracting information from gg.gov.au/australia-day-2016-honours-lists, below are the Nurses named on the 2016 Australia Day Honours List.

Professor Mari Angela Botti AM
Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia
Melbourne, Victoria
For significant service to nursing, and to medical education, as an academic and author, and to pain management research.

Deakin University:
Alfred Deakin Professor in Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health, since 2012.
Epworth Chair of Nursing, since 2004 and Professor, School of Nursing and Midwifery, since 1998.
Coordinator, Bachelor of Nursing (Clinical Honours), since 2005.
Chair, Human Research Ethics Committee, current.
Executive Member, Quality and Patient Safety Strategic Research Centre, current.

Lecturer, School of Nursing, La Trobe University, 1988-1998 and Senior Tutor, 1986- 1988 and Sessional Clinical Teacher, 1985-1986.
Epworth Healthcare:
Chair in Nursing, Epworth/Deakin Centre for Clinical Nursing Research, Epworth HealthCare, since 2004 and Member, Human Research and Ethics Committee (HREC) and Chair, HREC Low Risk Sub-Committee.

Director, Alfred/Deakin Nursing Research Centre, Alfred Health, 1998-2010 and Deputy Chair, Human Research Ethics Committee and Board Member, Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct (AMREP) and Member, Nursing Advisory Committee.

Member, Victorian Quality Council, 2004-2008.

Member, Victorian Policy Advisory Committee on Clinical Practice and Technology, 2005- 2006.

Member, External Review of Applications for DHS Public Health Research Projects, 2002-2003.

External Assessor, Research Project Grants Proposals, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHRMC) and Australian Research Council (ARC), since 2000.

Publications include:
Has published over 83 articles in refereed journals and 5 book chapters .

Professional Organisations include:
Member, Australian College of Nursing, since 1979.
Member, Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, since 1992.
Member, Australian Pain Society, since 1992.
Member, International Association for the Study of Pain, since 2001.
Member, Health Services Research Association, Australia and New Zealand (HSRAANZ), since 2007.

Nursing roles include:
RN/Clinical Nurse Specialist, Coronary Care Unit, Royal Melbourne Hospital, 1984-1992 and Student/Clinical Nurse, Coronary Care Unit, 1981 and Clinical Nurse, Medical/Surgical/Intensive Care Unit, 1978-1980.
Student/Midwife, St Thomas’ and Guys Hospitals, London, UK, 1982-1984.

Paula Jean Penfold AM
Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia
Toowong, Queensland
For significant service to the community through support for people with Muscular Dystrophy, to child health ethical standards, and to medical research.

Service includes:

Founding and active member, Muscular Dystrophy Association of Queensland, since 1978.

Member, Human Research Ethics Committee, Queensland Children’s Health Services, Brisbane Royal Children’s Hospital, since 1980.

Senior Clinical Nurse and Research Assistant, Greenslopes Hospital, ‘for many years’.
Researched and co-authored several articles for theNeuroendocrine Research Unit, Greenslopes Hospital, 1991.

Management Consultant, Paula J Penfold and Associates, current.
Associate Fellow, Australasian College of Health Service Management, since 2013.

Kym Robina Stuart AM
Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia
Kedron, Queensland
For significant service to nursing through a range of voluntary roles throughout the developing world, particularly in Asia and the Pacific.

Service includes:

Volunteer Perioperative Nurse Surgical Assistant, Asia/Pacific Region, Open Heart International (formerly Operation Open Heart), since 1992.
Has attended 50 aid trips to a range of developing countries including: Mongolia, Vietnam, Vanuatu, Myanmar, and the Solomon Islands, Cambodia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Nepal and Rwanda.

Head, Operating Theatres, during all 20 trips to Papua New Guinea.
Fundraiser for, and collector of, various surgical instruments, equipment, clothes and books.

Professional service includes:

Clinical Nurse, Paediatric Cardiac Operating Theatre, Queensland Paediatric Cardiac Service, Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, (formerly at Mater Children’s Hospital), since 2008.

Surgeon Assistant, and Nurse Specialist, Cardiac Operating Theatres, Sydney Adventist Hospital, 1990-2005 and was involved in the establishment of the Operation Open Heart project.

Awards and recognition includes:
Recipient, Cross of Medical Service Medal, Order of Logohu, Papua New Guinea, 2008, ‘for services to public health and the community through participation in Operation Open Heart.
Recipient, Paul Harris Award, Rotary International, 2007, ‘for contribution to international aid work’.

Kathleen Ellen Bright OAM
Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division
Moss Vale, New South Wales
For service to women, and to nursing.

Service includes:

Country Women’s Association of New South Wales:
State Vice-President, 2010-2012.
Group President, Wollondilly Group, 2003-2006.
Group Representative to State Executive, 2006-2009.
President, Moss Vale Branch, 2010-2012, 2002-2006.
Member, since 2002 and Member, Kiama Branch, ‘for many years’. Other community:

Vice-President, United Hospitals Auxiliary, Moss Vale Branch, since 2001.

Nursing:
Assistant Director of Nursing and Manager of Surgery, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, 1992-1996.
Director of Nursing, Campbelltown Private Hospital, 1989-1991.
Director of Nursing and Area Advisor in Nursing, Liverpool Hospital, 1977-1989.

Fellow, Australian College of Nursing (formerly Royal College of Nursing Australia and New South Wales College of Nursing), current.
Fellow, The Institute of Nursing Administration of New South Wales and ACT.
Associate Fellow, Australian College of Health Services Administrators.

Narelle Gai Martin OAM
Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division
Kirribilli, New South Wales
For service to nursing, particularly palliative care for children.

Service includes:
Nursing Manager, ‘Bear Cottage’ Children’s Hospice, (affiliated with the Sydney Children’s

Hospital Network) since 2008; Registered Nurse, 2001 – 2008.
Registered Nurse, Children’s Hospital at Westmead, 1982 – 2001. Member, New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association, since 2003.

Mark Cameron McDonald ASM
Ambulance Service Medal (ASM)
Stones Corner, Queensland

Mr McDonald commenced his career with the former Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade, now the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS), in Gatton as an Honorary Officer in January 1977 and has diligently served the community at locations throughout Queensland for more than 37 years. His unfailing commitment and dedication to excellence in patient care, education, training and continuous professional development has earned him the respect of the community, and his peers, as a role model in the field of the practise of paramedicine. He has contributed in a distinctive way to the development of the QAS during his career, including high level contribution to the introduction of the original Associate Diploma of Ambulance Studies, service planning, clinical education and student paramedic progression. He has continually demonstrated determination, resourcefulness, consideration and passion in the roles he has undertaken. As a critical care paramedic, registered nurse, educator, mentor and coach, Mr McDonald epitomises the best qualities and characteristics of what is expected of a professional ambulance paramedic, contributing valuably to the QAS, peer development and the Queensland community.

Captain K 
Australian Army
Distinguished Service Medal DSM)
For distinguished leadership in warlike operations as the Nursing Officer and Health Planner on Operation OKRA.

Captain K displayed outstanding leadership and dedication to duty as a Nursing Officer. She accepted, planned and executed the most difficult of medical responses and support tasks in extremely austere environments professionally and without fault. She directly contributed to the operational effects of the Special Operations Task Group. Her leadership is of the highest order and in keeping with the traditions of the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.

Captain Katrina Anne Kelly
Australian Army
Commendation for Distinguished Service
New South Wales
For distinguished performance of duties in warlike operations as the Nursing Officer to the United Kingdom-led mentoring mission to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy at Qargha, Kabul Afghanistan on Operations SLIPPER and HIGHROAD from July 2014 to January 2015.

Captain Kelly displayed exceptional professionalism and dedication to duty while providing immediate health support to Australian and Coalition Forces. Her level-headed actions following an insider attack at the Marshal Fahim National Defence University had a force multiplying effect which aided the critical treatment and extraction of fourteen casualties. Captain Kelly selflessly provided mental health and welfare support at Qargha which was above and beyond the scope of her prescribed duties and greatly assisted the wellbeing of Australian personnel.

Although not on the honours list, there is certainly another nurse worthy of a mention amongst this company:

Anne Carey
National Finalist (representing Western Australian)
Australian of the Year 2016
A nurse, midwife and medical warrior, Anne Carey has spent her life helping others – even when it has been at great personal risk. Anne has provided health care for remote communities in hospitals and clinics across Papua New Guinea, Northern Territory and Western Australian. As an Australian Red Cross aid worker in some of the world’s hotspots including Sudan, Kenya and most recently Sierra Leone, Anne leaves an impact on everyone she meets. During her time in Sudan, Anne and her colleagues came under attack, but while others left, they courageously stayed put to help the local residents. In Sierra Leone, she spent three assignments battling on the frontline against the deadly Ebola virus and was amongst the first volunteers to assist. Every day, she was taped into a personal protection suit, and while she may have looked inhuman in her all-white sterilised suit, thick rubber gloves and perspex goggles, Anne extended humanity with a simple touch and professional care that helped people understand they were not alone. Despite the death, fear and despair felt during the Ebola outbreak, Anne was a beacon of hope and continues the desperate fight to save the lives of people most in need.
Source: www.australianoftheyear.org.au/honour-roll/?view=fullView&recipientID=1379

Closing Notes

Please let me know if I missed any nurses or midwives. I’m happy to correct any oversights (not fully caffeinated yet).

Similarly, if you know of an online article that elaborates on the info above and/or has a photo of any of the Nurses on the 2016 Australia Day Honours List please let me know via the comments section below – I’d be happy to add a link to the article(s).

That’ll do for now..

Paul McNamara, 26 January 2016

Crisis? What Crisis?

I’m a nurse. Every day at work somebody is in crisis.

Every. Single. Day.

People have life threatening injuries and illnesses. People experience suicidal ideation and sometimes act on those thoughts. People experience delirium, dementia and psychosis – they lose touch with reality. People behave in unexpected and challenging ways.

All of these people are in crisis. They are having the worst day(s) of their life.

When you are part of the clinical team trying to help out these people it’s always useful to acknowledge and clarify the nature of the person’s crisis. It’s surprising what the individual’s perception of the crisis is. I’ve met a person who was desperately unwell – ICU unwell – who’s subjective crisis was that the cat was home alone without anyone to feed it. That was the crisis she wanted me to respond to. I’ve met quite a few people who need urgent medical/surgical interventions, but who perceive their biggest crisis as being unable to smoke a cigarette right now. I’ve had the peculiar privilege of spending time with people who have survived suicide attempts, who have experienced a crisis related to abuse, financial problems, relationship breakdown, and loss of job/role/independence/sense-of-self. An existential crisis in mind, body and spirit.

All of these people are in crisis. It is their crisis.

It is important to ascribe ownership. The nurse/midwife/physician/other clinician is not experiencing the crisis; they are responding to the crisis. We (the clinicians) have not been immunised against crises, but we do have the responsibility to do whatever we can to not get overwhelmed by them. Also, truth of the matter is, I’m not sure how long you would last if you responded to every day at work as an adrenaline-filled, too-busy-to-wee, emotional rollercoaster. That be the road to burnout and breakdown, my friend.

So, what do we do?

We use Jedi Mind Tricks, pithy sayings and clinical supervision. That’s what we do.

Clinical Supervision
I’ve written about clinical supervision before (here and here). Despite the name, it’s not about scrutiny. Clinical supervision is about reflecting on clinical practice with a trusted colleague, and asking simple questions of yourself: what did I do?; what were the outcomes?; how did I feel?; what lessons did I learn?.

The idea of clinical supervision is to acquire and refine clinical skills.

Pithy Sayings
A lot of us use and repeat pithy sayings such as the ED adage: “In the event of a cardiac arrest [or any other patient crisis for that matter], the first pulse you should take is your own.”

If you recognise your own anxiety you’re more capable of managing it. Intentional slow breathing is an excellent intervention for this. You can do it while you’re scanning the patient/file/environment.

Breath. Slowly.

It is not a crisis. A crisis is when there’s a fire, storm-surge, tsunami, earthquake or explosion that requires evacuation of staff and patients. If the hospital is not being evacuated it’s not a crisis. It’s just another day at work.

IMG_1099

Jedi Mind Tricks
The other thing I like to do when feeling anxious is impersonate a calm person. It’s like a Jedi mind trick. “This not the anxious nurse you’re looking for. This is a calm nurse.”

When impersonating a calm person  I conjure-up a person who was a CNC when I was a student nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Part of the apprenticeship model of nursing education at the time was to give students experience in RN roles. I had been thrown into the Team Leader role on a day when the neuro ward was especially busy. There were emergency admissions, a stack of post-op patients – two of whom were really unwell, a person dying in the side room, and an inexperienced unqualified overwhelmed drongo (me) coordinating the whole thing. We were in trouble. We needed more nurses and a proper team leader.

I sought-out the CNC – a smart-as-a-whip young woman not much older than me (i was quite youngish 25 years ago). The CNC spent all of about 5 minutes with me prioritising the ward’s workflow:

  • “First things first. No need to shower/clean anyone unless they’re incontinent.” There goes about 50% of the morning’s workload in an instant.
  • “Don’t bother with routine 4-hourly obs unless the person looks unwell. Only the post-op patients and the clinically unwell patients need their obs done.” There goes another 10% of the work.
  • “Let’s get Fiona (the most experienced and skilled nurse on the shift) to look after the two dodgy post-op patients and nobody else.” The biggest concern was instantly taken care of.
  • “Bring all the nurses in here (a cramped nurses station overlooking 2 bays of 6 patients each) and tell them the plan. Make sure they all drink water and coordinate their breaks.” Got it. To look after the patients you need to look after the nurses.
  • “After you’ve told the nurses the plan, tell the patients/visitors who aren’t critically unwell the plan. They’ll understand we’re abnormally busy if we tell them.” Open, honest communication? Who’d have thought?
  • “Slow down your breathing. Use your humour. You’ll be fine. Come and grab me if you need.” My racing thoughts slowed. Panic evaporated.

We, nurses and patients alike, had a good shift. All the vital stuff was done. It wasn’t a crisis. It was a day at work.

I haven’t seen that CNC (her name is Lee Madden) since 1992, but I think of her every now and then. Whenever I see a crisis unfolding or see/feel anxiety rising, I wonder, “What would a calm person do?” and conjure an image of Lee floating serenely into the space. I channel Lee’s reassuring smile and clear understanding of priorities, and do my best to behave in the way she modelled to an impressionable overwhelmed student nurse.

Crisis? What crisis? I’m impersonating a calm person.

IMG_1098

End

As always, you’re welcome to leave comments below.

Paul McNamara, 5th September 2015
Short URL: meta4RN.com/crisis

When it’s illegal to be ethical

Australians have rated Nurses as the most ethical and honest profession each year for 21 years in a row (1994-2015) source. Whether nurses deserve that reputation or not, I’m pleased that the other stereotypes of nursing (eg: selfless angel, sexy nurse, Nurse Ratched, subservient nurse, murderous nurse, zombie nurse, etc) haven’t overwhelmed the public perception that most of us are honest and ethical.

“Ethical and honest” is a pretty good reputation for the nursing profession to have. A reputation to be proud of. A reputation worth defending.

These organisations are cosignatories to a media statement calling for amendments to Australian Border Force Act 2015 https://meta4rn.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/150620-joint-statement-australian-health-groups-call-for-australian-border-force-act-to-be-amended.pdf

These organisations are cosignatories to a media statement calling for amendments to Australian Border Force Act 2015 https://meta4rn.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/150620-joint-statement-australian-health-groups-call-for-australian-border-force-act-to-be-amended.pdf

As per media statements released over the last few days [here, here and here], it may soon become illegal to be ethical and honest for nurses, doctors and allied health staff working in Australia’s immigration detention centres.

Australian Border Force Act 2015 acts to silence honesty and to out-trump ethics with a threat of two years jail for advocating for patients. This is very dangerous territory.

Toni Hoffman Australian of the Year Awards 2006. Image source: http://www.australianoftheyear.org.au

Toni Hoffman Australian of the Year Awards 2006. Image source: http://www.australianoftheyear.org.au

Less than a decade ago a nurse in Bundaberg, Toni Hoffman, was commended in a Queensland Public Hospitals Commission of Inquiry thus:

I would also like to pay tribute to certain people whose care, passion or courage was instrumental in bringing to light the matters covered here. First and foremost of those is Ms Hoffman. She might easily have doubted herself, or succumbed to certain pressures to work within a system that was not responsive. She might have chosen to quarantine herself from Dr Patel’s influence by leaving the Base or at least the Intensive Care Unit. Instead, and under the threat of significant detriment to herself, Ms Hoffman persistently and carefully documented the transgressions of Dr Patel.

For being ethical and honest Toni Hoffman won some praise and copped a whole heap of flak. Only Toni can tell us whether her personal costs were offset by the public benefits. However, if a nurse working in any of Australia’s detention centres is faced with comparable ethical concerns, speaking honestly about it could cost them two years in prison.

That’s a high cost to pay.

What’s the sense in making it illegal to be ethical?

End

As always, your comments are welcome below. If I’ve totally misunderstood the legislation and you can explain to me how preventing health professionals from advocating for their patients is a good idea, you’re VERY welcome to leave a comment.

Paul McNamara, 20th June 2015
Short URL: meta4RN.com/ethical

 

 

 

We Bald Nurses

This might be the shortest blog post in the history of humans – it’s a list of bald nurses on Twitter. So far I know of three six seven eleven twelve thirteen:

Ian Miller aka @TheNursePath

Sean Dent aka @SeanPDent

Jesse Spurr aka @Inject_Orange

Austyn Snowden aka @AustynSnowden

Kelsey David Burnham aka @EnlightenedAss

Geoff Brennan aka @gbrennancafc

Robert Vaughan aka @MenInNursing + @RobertBSNRN

Michael Isaacs aka @NurseMike911

Matt Ahern aka @pragmaticnurse

Christopher Picard aka @CtPicard

Noah Bourk aka @NurseNoah

Daniel Stift aka @DanStift

Paul McNamara (me) aka @meta4RN

The proposed #WeBaldNurses motto is Herba non adnatus occupatus platea – the Latin version of “Grass does not grow on a busy street”.

bald-headNursing gentlemen who have heads eschewed of hair are a minority amongst a minority, and need to stick together.

I hope to find more of us – please let me know of anyone who should be added to the list via the comments section below, or via Twitter using the #WeBaldNurses hashtag. I will update the list above PRN.

That’s it for now… a big shout-out to all the nurses out there who are not frittering their money away on shampoo, conditioner, brushes and combs.

Paul McNamara
Originally posted 30th May 2015
short URL meta4RN.com/WeBaldNurses

Updated: 31/05/15, 01/06/15, 29/11/15, 30/11/15, 07/05/16

 

 

 

Fun Facts re Nursing and Midwifery

To celebrate International Nurses Day 2015 here is a list of fun facts as they pertain to Nursing and Midwifery. Each fact is of a Tweetable (is that a word?) length, and cites the website from where the fact was attained.

IMG_5639

12th May = Florence Nightingale’s birthday = International Nurses Day. 
Source: http://www.icn.ch/publications/2015-nurses-a-force-for-change-care-effective-cost-effective/

Florence Nightingale was named after the city in which she was born (Florence, Italy).
Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/timelines/z92hsbk

Amongst Florence Nightingale’s achievements was the introduction of female nurses into military hospitals. Yes, female nurses. 
Source: http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/the-collection/biography.html

Florence Nightingale was a talented statistician who invented a variation of the pie graph.
Source: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/florence-nightingale-passionate-statistician

IND_2015_Eng_posterAs at December 2014 there were 326,782 practicing Nurses + Midwives in Australia.
Source: http://www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au/News/Newsletters/March-2015.aspx#quarterlystats numbers: 262,636 registered nurses + 60,755 enrolled nurses + 3,391 midwife-only registrations =  326,782

Of Australia’s 32,956 Midwives, 29,620 of them are also Nurses. That’s 89.9%.
Source: http://www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au/News/Newsletters/March-2015.aspx#quarterlystats numbers: 3,391 midwives+ 30,199 people registered as both a midwife and either a registered nurse and/or an enrolled nurse

Only 0.9% of Australia’s Nurses and Midwives are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (2013 figures). 
Source: http://www.aihw.gov.au/workforce/nursing-and-midwifery/who-are-they/

logo-1

72% of Australia’s Nurses and Midwives earned their first qualification in Australia.
Source: http://www.aihw.gov.au/workforce/nursing-and-midwifery/who-are-they/

90% of Australia’s Nurses and Midwives are Clinicians, 3.5% are Educators.
Source: http://www.aihw.gov.au/workforce/nursing-and-midwifery/who-are-they/

56% of Australia’s Nurses are aged 50 and over. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. 
Source: http://www.aihw.gov.au/workforce/nursing-and-midwifery/who-are-they/

29% of Australia’s Mental Health Nurses are aged 55 and over. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Source: http://www.mentalhealthcommission.gov.au/media/119868/Fact%20Sheet%2012%20-%20What%20this%20means%20for%20workforce%20and%20research%20capacity.pd

An Australian company, Ausmed Education, host an online guide to Twitter for Spanish-speaking Nurses.
Sources: http://www.ausmed.com.au/es/twitter-para-enfermeras/http://www.ausmed.com.au/twitter-for-nurses/

Ausmed_Education-Logo

Nine Nurses were on included on the 2015 Australia Day Honours List. 
Source: http://meta4RN.com/honours15

The Catholic Patron Saint of Mental Health Nurses is Dymphna.
Source: https://meta4rn.com/dymphna

In Australia, 89.6% of Nurses are female, as are 69% of Mental Health Nurses and 98.2% of Midwives.
Sources: http://www.aihw.gov.au/workforce/nursing-and-midwifery/http://www.mentalhealthcommission.gov.au/media/119868/Fact%20Sheet%2012%20-%20What%20this%20means%20for%20workforce%20and%20research%20capacity.pdfhttp://www.aihw.gov.au/workforce/nursing-and-midwifery/who-are-they/ 

In Australia, 10.4% of Nurses are male, as are 31% of Mental Health Nurses and 1.8% of Midwives.
Sources: http://www.aihw.gov.au/workforce/nursing-and-midwifery/ + http://www.mentalhealthcommission.gov.au/media/119868/Fact%20Sheet%2012%20-%20What%20this%20means%20for%20workforce%20and%20research%20capacity.pdf + http://www.aihw.gov.au/workforce/nursing-and-midwifery/who-are-they/ 

57.4% of Australia’s Nurses and Midwives have a main job that is hospital-based.
Source: http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/586921 Table 10

42.6% of Australia’s Nurses and Midwives main job that is not based in a hospital.
Source: http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/586921 Table 10

Australia’s registering body does not recognise any Nursing Specialities, but recognises 23 Medical Specialities.
Sources: http://meta4RN.com/credhttp://www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au + http://www.medicalboard.gov.au

Only one state in Australia (Queensland) has a program  that aims for all Nurses working Mental Health to be Mental Health Nurses. 
Source: http://www.acmhn.org/credentialing/qld-credentialing-project

Print

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation is Australia’s largest health union.
Source: http://anmf.org.au/news/entry/review-must-strengthen-not-dismantle-medicare 

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation is the second largest trade union in Australia. 
Source: http://www.thepowerindex.com.au/contenders/australia-s-15-most-powerful-union-heavies

Australians have rated Nurses as the most ethical and honest profession each year for 21 years in a row (1994-2015). 
Source: http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/6188-roy-morgan-image-of-professions-2015-201504280343

logo

A list of Australia’s blogging Nurses is maintained by NurseUncut.
Source: http://www.nurseuncut.com.au/blog-roll/

There are over 50 separate Nursing Organisations in Australia.
Sources: http://meta4RN.com/colleges + http://www.conno.org.au/members + http://www.nurseinfo.com.au/links.html

 

End

That will do for now. I plan to Tweet each of these fun facts out on International Nurse Day using the #IND2015 hashtag. Do you know of any fun facts that I’ve missed? If so, please add them in comments section below, and I’ll include them on the list.

Paul McNamara, 12th May 2015
Short URL: meta4RN.com/FunFacts 

 

Nurses with Cred

Last week, after a fair bit of a nudge, Australia’s federal government made the National Review of Mental Health Programs and Services available. This infographic from the report caught my eye:

That nursing is the largest single component of Australia’s mental health workforce isn’t a surprise. What is a bit unsettling is that the big bubble with 19,048 in it is mislabeled as “Total mental health nurses”.

That’s not true.

Working in mental health does not make you a mental health nurse, in the same way as driving through Bathurst does not make you a racing car driver. Just because you have a basic licence and you are in the right setting, it doesn’t mean you have the skills to perform safely at a high standard. It doesn’t mean you have cred.

As per AHPRA’s Nursing and Midwifery Board there is no registration category for a specialist mental health nurse, there are only these types of registration:

  1. Registered nurse
  2. Enrolled nurse
  3. Midwife

Compare this with types of registration listed by AHPRA’s Medical Board (sub-speciality fields and full range of speciality titles not included):

  1. Addiction medicine
  2. Anaesthesia
  3. Dermatology
  4. Emergency medicine
  5. General practice
  6. Intensive care medicine
  7. Medical administration
  8. Obstetrics and gynaecology
  9. Occupational and environmental medicine
  10. Ophthalmology
  11. Paediatrics and child health
  12. Pain medicine
  13. Palliative medicine
  14. Pathology
  15. Physician
  16. Psychiatry
  17. Public health medicine
  18. Radiation oncology
  19. Radiology
  20. Rehabilitation medicine
  21. Sexual health medicine
  22. Sport and exercise medicine
  23. Surgery

Medicine and nursing do not correlate on every detail of specialisation, but still… why such a big disparity between the two in terms of registration? Australians have rated Nurses as the most ethical and honest profession each year for 21 years in a row (1994-2015) [source], but I wonder if the public is aware of a problem with nursing specialities not being given the similar recognition as medical specialities.

Midwives have made their speciality distinctly different in the eyes of the public and other health professionals. I am sure it is a comfort for many expectant parents to know that the person guiding you through pregnancy, labour, childbirth and early parenthood is a qualified specialist and is acknowledged and registered as such.

However, people receiving support/treatment for a mental health condition will not necessarily have a specialist mental health nurse providing that service. It’s quite the opposite of midwifery – the nurse providing care may have no specialised qualifications in mental health. I wonder how service users and the people who love them feel about that.

I’ve been a medical, surgical and high-dependency/ICU nurse, and have worked closely with Midwives. I can tell you with confidence that mental health nursing is as different from general nursing as midwifery is. There are some transferable skills, of course, but midwifery, general nursing and mental health nursing each have a completely different model of care, and a very different way of working with people.

It’s not all doom and gloom though: the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) have a process to credential suitably qualified and experienced mental health nurses.  In the absence of AHPRA being able to discriminate the difference between a general nurse and a mental health nurse, ACMHN are essentially saying, “Leave it to us. We will tell you who is a mental health nurse and who is not.” To be credentialed by the ACMHN, applicants must demonstrate that they:

  1. Hold a current licence to practice as a registered nurse within Australia
  2. Hold a recognised specialist / post-graduate mental health nursing qualification
  3. Have had at least 12 months experience since completing specialist / postgraduate qualification OR have three years experience as a registered nurse working in mental health
  4. Have been practicing within the last three years
  5. Have acquired minimum continuing professional development points for education and practice
  6. Are supported by two professional referees
  7. Have completed a professional declaration agreeing to uphold the standards of the profession. [source]

QHcredential_Page_27There’s more good news: Queensland Health has set targets to work towards a fully qualified, fully credentialed mental health nursing workforce. I wonder if other state health departments are thinking about implementing a similar strategy. It might be important: a program staffed entirely by Credentialed Mental Health Nurses was described as “one of the most innovative services ever funded” [source].

Credentialing + Ability = Credibility.

Credentialed Mental Health Nurses have Cred.

One last thing. It is encouraging that mental health is not the only nursing speciality in Australia that is setting the standard, for saying, “We the specialist nurses will tell you who is a specialist nurse and who is not”.  Under the Credentialing for Nurses initiative, currently there are six specialty nursing organisations working collaboratively to develop consistent, evidence based, recognition for specialist nurses:

  1. Australian College of Operating Room Nurses
  2. Australian College of Children and Young People’s Nurses
  3. Australian College of Mental Health Nurses
  4. College of Emergency Nursing Australasia
  5. Gastroenterological Nurses College of Australia
  6. Palliative Care Nurses Australia

Every speciality area of nursing,  every healthcare organisation, and every patient needs the same thing: Nurses with Cred.

End

That’s it, as always your comments are welcome.

Paul McNamara, 28th April 2015

Short URL: http://meta4RN.com/cred

References

Australian College of Mental Health Nurses, 2015: Credentialing for Practice Program

Corderoy, Amy. (2015, 25th April). Innovative mental health program falling victim to funding freeze. Sydney Morning Herald

Credentialing for Nurses

National Mental Health Commission, 2014: The National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services. Sydney: NMHC

Roy Morgan Research. (2015, 28th April). Roy Morgan Image of Professions Survey 2015: Nurses still easily most highly regarded. Finding No. 6188