|Issue No 122||07 December 2001|
Overtime Deal Helps Rural Hospitals
In a significant breakthrough for many rural hospitals, the NSW Health Minister, Craig Knowles, has agreed to a New South Wales Nurses Association request that overtime be paid to nurse managers in short-staffed small hospitals.
Senior nurse managers, including directors of nursing, are normally excluded from overtime payments because their salaries are set with a view to the overall responsibilities of their job.
NSWNA General Secretary, Sandra Moait, said this traditional arrangement has caused problems in many rural hospitals where nurse managers are often called on to provide clinical care outside their normal working hours.
"Staffing levels in smaller hospitals and the demands of such things as ambulance escorts means clinical nurses are often in short supply, especially on evening and night shifts. Nurse managers often have to fill the gaps and they have not been paid for doing it. This has put a lot of pressure on these nurses and made it hard to recruit and retain senior nurses in rural areas.
"The fact senior nurses can now be paid overtime in certain circumstances is a major morale boost for these nurses and greatly assists rural hospitals. The NSWNA and its rural members are grateful to Craig Knowles and the Health Department for their ready agreement on this matter," Ms Moait said.
Under the NSWNA-State Government agreement, which has now been ratified by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission and will take effect from 1 January 2002, nurse managers can receive overtime payment if they:
· work in a small hospital that does not employ nurse managers to supervise nursing services on evenings, nights and/or weekends;
· are required to work overtime because the hospital has insufficient nursing staff; and
· are required to work overtime to personally provide hands-on clinical care of patients.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005