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My NZNO journey

536955_10153136416250072_1618011563_nDanielle Davies is a new NZNO organiser in Wellington. She writes about her journey from NZNO member to delegate to organiser. 

I knew from a young age that healthcare was a precious taonga. My parents impressed on me that each check up with the doctor, each visit to the dentist- was a significant benefit that I was able to access because of the union which my Dad was a member.  My Dad was one of the thousands of construction workers who migrated from New York to California during the construction booms of the 1970s. As construction work is a physically demanding job which regularly places workers in vulnerable situations, my Dad’s union bargained for comprehensive benefit packages for employees and their families; benefits which, outrageously, Americans do not have as basic entitlements. The battles the union fought for ensured that his overtime was paid, that his hours of rest were protected and that his family’s medical and dental costs were covered. Growing up with this exposure, I became aware of the link between collective action and collective good.

My own union journey began shortly after commencing work as a Staff Nurse at Wellington Hospital. The previous ward delegate was planning an OE and had taken notice in my interest in all things union!  A handover and election quickly followed and, before I knew it, I was a ward delegate.

I believe that becoming a NZNO delegate made me a better nurse. Not only was I responsible for my own nursing practice with my patients, but also responsible to my fellow members to resolve workplace issues, to educate on rights and responsibilities under the MECA and to promote collective participation with NZNO campaigns. It was not long after I took up the role of delegate that I noticed an increase in my colleagues approaching me about employment matters, from sick leave conditions to roster patterns, from payroll matters to NZNO campaigns. Being able to resolve matters at the delegate level, and increase members’ knowledge of their rights and collective power was hugely rewarding.

This week I commenced my new role as NZNO Organiser for the Wellington region. My role has shifted my professional duties from caring for patients at the bedside to caring for nurses. I have a great passion for nursing and believe that together we can achieve great outcomes. As ever, I feel proud to be a part of NZNO: Freed to care, proud to nurse!


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Our health, our taonga

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Inspired attendees at the Indigenous Nurses Aotearoa conference 2014

Kerri Nuku is NZNO’s kaiwhakahaere and is of Ngāti Kahungunu descent. As a leader for Māori within NZNO she sees it as her responsibility to ensure that equity is achieved for all Te Rūnanga members.

The other day someone asked me what the highlight of my year has been so far. Usually that kind of question causes me to ponder for a while, but not this year. The absolute highlight of my year is the very first Indigenous Nurses Aotearoa conference, held in Tāmaki Makaurau in August.

The theme for the conference was “Our health, our taonga”, which really resonated with me – as I sense it did with every other attendee. We were stimulated and challenged in our collective responsibility to protect our fundamental right to good health and wellbeing.

It was so energising to be with over 250 indigenous nursing leaders, including nurses, midwives, nursing students, kaimahi hauora and health care assistants. Our combined enthusiasm and commitment to make sure health is a taonga was infectious. It is a privilege of our te ao Māori (Māori worldview) that we see health/hauora as a part of our whakapapa, our whanau, our environment and our culture.

As indigenous nursing professionals, we are committed to reaffirming our rights under the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous people’s article 3, to self determine, and this must underpin any future Māori nursing strategy. We must have faith in ourselves and be courageous in our aspirations for the health of our whānau, hapū and iwi. We must look towards the imagination place to see what could be.

We honour our early Māori nursing pioneers, like Te Akenehi Hei, who halted the death of Māori from introduced diseases. We have nothing to fear as we move into the future – our tipuna made sacrifices and we will too, so that our mokopuna, whānau, hapū and iwi receive the best health care available in Aotearoa.

As indigenous health professionals, we must have the freedom to determine what is best for us.

We will continue to advocate for Māori nursing and workforce issues. We will lobby for change and challenge the barriers that are placed in the way of Māori nursing and workforce success.

Kaimahi hauora:  be brave, take action when you can! Ko te kai ā te rangatira he kōrero!

No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

 

Click here for more information about Te Rūnanga o Aotearoa, NZNO.

 


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Building confident nurses

bigstock-D-Knob-Confidence-Level-46141444-583x437Teniah Howell is a newly graduated nurse, NZNO member and advocate for young nurses. She currently works as a mental health nurse on the West Coast having spent the previous 18 months in the medical surgical unit at Grey Hospital. This blog is cross-posted from the Nurses Station blog “The Tea Room”

I have had many recent conversations with young nurses from my graduating class, as well as the new graduates who joined our nursing team in January, about the process of building confidence in nursing practice.

It would seem that for many, confidence is something that progressively builds over time. As our skills, knowledge, and experiences increase, we become more certain that the decisions we make are indeed the right ones. We learn to adapt more quickly, and to trust our instincts. For me personally as a new grad, I found that it took several months to really feel that I could trust my instincts and my decisions and stand strong in advocating for my patient’s care and for the decisions that I believed were the right interventions for my patient. I would say that there was probably a significant jump in my confidence at about five months into my nursing career. I felt at that point that I had learned to trust myself a bit more, and had gained valuable skills and experiences along the way.

At our DHB, the new graduates do a department switch at six months. This meant getting “knocked back” a bit with my confidence as I was then in a completely new environment and relying on skills and judgment that I had not yet developed. I found, however, that this time around my confidence grew faster and within a few months I felt much more capable. In talking to others it would seem this is a common theme.

I have found that confidence is something that grows (almost in a step-ladder type of fashion). It builds on the experiences and skills that you gain as you continue your nursing career. I say this to really encourage those young nurses out there who are starting out and are only just beginning to realise your potential within the nursing team. Remember that it is a process. It will come with time. Offer yourself the grace to recognise that it will take time to build the trust in yourself, and for the team in which you work to trust your judgment as well.

It has also been my experience that the team you work with can either build or break down your confidence depending on how they respond to your nursing practice and your suggestions for patient interventions and care. Working with a nurse who is demoralising and cuts you down every moment of the day can really make you feel small and insignificant. It can be extremely hard to build your confidence in this circumstance. On the contrary, when someone encourages you and says that you have made the right decision, it can do wonders for building your confidence and your trust in your own decision making. I would like to challenge you to be type of nurse that lifts others up. Be the one who helps to build other’s confidence by offering words of encouragement to your colleagues. (Especially the young nurses and student nurses whom you might be working alongside).

I am moving into a new role next week, and will once again be starting off in an area where my experience is limited. As I embark on this new journey, I am aware that at first my confidence may “take a hit”, but through my past experience I know that it will quickly build back up again. I am encouraged by this, and do hope that I will be lucky enough to be supported along the way by my colleagues. We can only hope that if we give good out, we will have good returned to us.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”


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8,000 signatures! Petition goes to Parliament.

Today we took our 8,000 strong petition calling for a nurse entry to practice position for every new graduate nurse to Parliament. Ryan Boswell from TV1 and his cameraman were waiting to find out what was going on.

You can see the ONE news piece here: Desperate nurses call for jobs action

NZNO president Marion Guy talked about the nursing shortage New Zealand is facing – we will be short more than 15,000 nurses by 2035!

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Kaiwakahaere Kerri Nuku explained how important it is to have a homegrown nursing workforce. We need nurses who are representative of our population; that means we need to train and retain way more Maori and Pacific nurses and rely less on internationally qualified nurses.

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We had a quick photo with the petition before Marion, Kerri and our CE Memo Musa went into the Beehive to meet with Minister of Health Tony Ryall. An entire class of school kids spontaneously joined us!

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Marion, Kerri and Memo head into the meeting.

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The rest of us, enrolled nurses, registered nurses, student nurses, new grads, delegates and NZNO staff, unfurl the petition. It’s massive! 8,000 signatures takes a lot of paper to print.

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While a few members roll the petition back up, the reporter talks to new grad, Kim Lane. Kim talks about what it’s like to spend years getting a nursing degree and have no job to go to at the end of it. Madness! We’re going to need every nurse we can get in a year or two…

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Here’s hoping the Minister sees the sense in what we’re asking for. The nursing workforce must be a priority.


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Why we’re voters

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NZNO members from the DHB, primary health and aged care sectors took time out from their leadership training yesterday to talk about why they are voters this election.

Here’s what they had to say.

I’m a voter because…

“My voice counts”

“I feel it is important, you can’t moan if you don’t, my vote counts”

“We need a representative parliament and my great grandmother fought for New Zealand women to vote.”

“We have a voice that counts. If I don’t vote for what I value and policies that make sense I won’t get the government I want.”

“I would like the new Government to stop the changes to the employment relations laws.”

“Social justice and workers rights are important.”

“I want to carry on the passion of the suffragettes.”

“We want to be heard we want our values recognised, we want our needs listened to, it’s our right to choose, others in this world aren’t able to elect our rulers but we can, make all generations of kiwis votes / values heard.”

“I want to see change to stop the employment laws progressing, I want to see change, I want my vote to count.”

“We care about what happens in our community.”

“I want my vote to count and because I care.”

“My vote can make all the difference – your vote can too – let’s make change.”

“Workers rights are important.”

“We care about New Zealand.”

Click the image below for more information about the Get out and vote campaign

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A message to nurse managers

A message to nurse managers from NZNO acting professional services manager, Hilary Graham-Smith. Hilary has had a long career as a registered nurse working in primary health care and as a Director of Nursing in primary health care.take a chance on a new grad

“A sustainable, fully utilised nursing workforce is NZNO’s number one priority.

We also want a sufficiently funded nurse entry to practice (NEtP) programme so that 100 percent of our new graduate RN and ENs are employed and appropriately mentored and supported during their first year of practice.

The current nursing workforce has a vital role to play in that. Sadly, we still have a significant number of new graduates who do not get into NEtP programmes who are looking for work – they need our help.

We know that many of your work environments are stretched by less than adequate staffing and we hear many of you say, “We haven’t got time to preceptor new graduates”. However we all have a role to play as experienced nurses to make sure that our new grads are welcomed into the workforce; our collective experience and expertise will help to grow the nursing workforce of the future.

I encourage those of you who are in decision-making roles and involved in recruitment to stop and think for a moment before deciding NOT to offer a job to a new grad; so many of the responses to Keren MacSween’s story were from new grads who had been turned down because of a lack of experience.

I ask, isn’t that our role? – to make sure they get experience in an environment where they can not only learn from others but share their new knowledge. New grads don’t come without skills they just need time to grow their self-assurance and confidence in clinical practice.

Remember how that felt – being the newbie RN or EN? This is about nurses doing it for nurses and the wellbeing of the whole profession.

So think about it next time a new grad applies for a job in your ward/unit/ department – give them a go. Go on you know you want to!”