NZNO delegate Ady Piesse is an activist for fairness at work and an advocate for collective action. This blog post has previously been published as a comment on Facebook.
I’m a thinker….I think a lot. Sometimes I’m accused of over thinking, but generally my thinking usually provides me with ideas or helps me problem solve.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I got to thinking – what do I do in my job that is so different from my CEO’s that justifies our salaries?
At the start of every shift I check my equipment so if that cardiac arrest, acute SOB, trauma or the blue floppy baby arrives unannounced, I have the confidence that myself and my colleagues will be able to use that equipment to potentially save a life.
My CEO makes sure his lap top ‘on’ button works.
I monitor numerous pieces of equipment attached to my patients, checking for those spiralling trends so I can intervene early if I need to.
My CEO monitors computer screens that check to make sure my patients are meeting the six hour targets.
I do ‘end-of-bed-o-grammes’ all day every day, with new patients, existing patients, other nurses’ patients, to monitor change, deterioration or improvement.
My CEO looks at spread sheets to see how hard I’m working or how much harder I can be made to work.
I hold in my hand medication that has the potential to kill or to cure.
My CEO holds a pen, an iPhone.
I sit holding a patient’s hand while a doctor tells her and her family her condition is terminal. I hold a child’s hand. I hold the hand of a terrified patient who can’t breathe. I hug people I only met today and know won’t be here tomorrow.
I don’t know if my CEO has ever held a hand or given a stranger a hug.
Every day I take home people’s stories; for some it will be the worst day of their lives. These people have faces and I know some will never leave my memory.
My CEO takes home statistics.
Some days I leave wondering if I have it in me to keep doing what I’m doing – less is not more in my job – but my CEO seems to think so.
I know it’s all more complex than that.
I use my knowledge and observation skills to think ahead and intervene early to avoid a failure to rescue situation, my CEO uses their knowledge and observations to think strategically, for example.
What I’m thinking doesn’t take away from the important role my CEO plays in the day to day running of my organisation, but thinking simply – that’s about the bones of it.
Then some more thinking. I play a damned important role in this organisation too, so how is it I only get paid maybe a quarter of what my CEO earns?
And why should I feel guilty or scared of standing up and asking for more? So I’ve decided I owe nobody an apology for feeling the way I do.
More thought. Stand up and be counted, get as many colleagues on board as I can to speak out and say enough is enough!
I’ve become quite vocal in the past couple of weeks –I’ve decided to stand up for myself. I’ve realised that complaining to colleagues is not going anywhere. We need to be the very visual faces behind our MECA.
I’m guilty like many of having not gone to meetings in the past, been so apathetic to expect Government and the Boards to realise my worth and support me accordingly – I’ve been ridiculously naive! I know there are many colleagues feeling the same way and I’m hoping my ranting will given colleagues the confidence to stand up too and speak out for change!
MECA representatives at these current negotiations can only push the “we’re serious about this…” boat so far – we need to make ourselves visible to Government and our Boards and not just ask, but demand to be taken seriously, otherwise we have another long three years of the same and more than likely, a lot worse to come.
So, be at those MECA meetings that are coming up and come with ideas! It’s time we got tough!