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Qualified care needed

Thursday, 12th March, 2015

Assistant in nursing Lynette Mitchell with fellow nursing home workers in front of the Coles supermarket, where they are collecting signatures for a petition opposing the removal of a requirement that ensures RNs are on duty in nursing homes at all times. PICTURE: Andrew Robertson Assistant in nursing Lynette Mitchell with fellow nursing home workers in front of the Coles supermarket, where they are collecting signatures for a petition opposing the removal of a requirement that ensures RNs are on duty in nursing homes at all times. PICTURE: Andrew Robertson

Registered nurse Irene Davey believes assistants in nursing do a “brilliant” job looking after local nursing home residents.

But as someone who works as a casual RN at a local nursing home, Ms Davey said she was fearful about what could happened without an RN being on duty at all times.

“The thing with aged care (assistants in nursing) is they are under enough stress already, and to put added responsibility on them is, I think, unfair,” said Ms Davey, who is also a nurse educator. 

She said the possible removal of the current requirement that at least one RN is on duty at a nursing homes for 24 hours a day would also put more pressure on hospitals. 

Assistant in nursing (AIN) Lynette Mitchell agrees, saying nursing homes would have little option but to call on hospitals to ensure residents are receiving the correct or right amount of medication.   

Ms Mitchell, who is also the branch president of the Nurses Association for Aged Care, said it made more sense to keep RN. 

“They are highly trained...we’re there to care for the residents but we’re not as well-trained as RNs.

“It would be too dangerous not to have an RN and they are more trained to know what’s going on with residents.

“And if they’re not there we are not trained to pick things up.”

Southern Cross Care head Allan Carter said yesterday that NSW was the only state in the country where nursing homes were required to have RNs on duty at all times. 

He said if the coalition government was considering removing the requirement it was to bring the state into line with other states.

But Mr Carter said even if the relevant legislation was repealed, SCC was committed to retaining an RN at its highest care nursing home, St Anne’s, at all times.  

“I can’t see a scenario anytime where we would not have an RN in St Anne’s nursing home twenty four seven,” he said.

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