Jemma Irvine is an NZNO delegate at Wellington Hospital. She reflects on what the DHB MECA means to her.
I became an NZNO delegate last year and I attended the MECA training day in February 2015.
Can I just say, I am soooooo grateful for all the nurses who have fought hard for their rights up until now.
Some of the other nurses in the group were sharing their stories of what it has been like nursing in New Zealand over the past 20+ years. It sounds like they have had some pretty big ups and downs. Some nurses were talking about when their hospital board decided to dissolve all of their jobs and make them reapply for their positions. Some nurses weren’t rehired. Some were hired back as team leaders instead of Charge Nurse Managers and therefore on a lower wage. I couldn’t quite believe that this could happen!
Budget cuts affect everyone, but nurses often carry a higher portion of the impact. They work hard to try to do the same amount of work with less staff and fewer resources – always thinking of their patients before themselves. Over time this takes its toll. It’s not sustainable to always be working beyond your means. Something has got to give.
At one point there became the need to strike. These nurses talked about what it was like to strike. They shared the emotional impact, the feelings of guilt when standing on the picket line knowing their patients were still inside. It was not an action taken lightly. All of them said it was hard and they would not have done it if they felt that they could have kept going the way things were. I admired them so much for making a stand to improve their working conditions and fight to be able to give patient’s the care they deserve.
I know strikes are difficult for everyone, but I really appreciate being able to benefit from the hard work these brave people have put in to improve conditions for all of us; nurses, midwives, health care assistants and, most of all, patients.
Hearing some of these powerful stories made me so proud to be a nurse and I feel very privileged to start nursing in this current work environment. I am so grateful for our DHB MECA that means our conditions are able to be protected and we are treated (for the most part) fairly.
I know we are going to have to stand up to keep our working conditions in the near future as the DHB and NZNO try to come to and agreement about our MECA. I want to take this opportunity to thank the ‘oldies’ (meant in the most respectful way possible!) who have paved a lot of the way for us.
Thanks so much!
Love from a grateful, inspired young nurse.
March 19, 2015 at 7:57 pm
Well written Jemma, Thanks