|Issue No 85||23 February 2001|
Hanson's Nursing Plan Bad for Health
Pauline Hanson's One Nation policy of restoring hospital-based training for registered nurses would lead to the dumbing down of the profession, nurses say.
The NSW Nurses Association says the move would undermine quality healthcare and seriously undermine the image of nursing as a worthwhile career for young people.
Secretary, Sandra Moait, says that for better or worse it is clear Pauline Hanson and her One Nation party are going to be a high profile feature of Australian political debate for some time yet and her simplistic notions about nursing and healthcare can no longer go unchallenged.
In the Hospitals section of its current policy document, Pauline Hanson's One Nation states it wants the: "Re-establishment of the training of registered nurses in teaching hospitals." Further Ms Hanson recently received widespread coverage (for example, see Australian of 14 February 2001) for this policy and the following reported comments:
- "One Nation wants to lower the education standard for police and nurses to produce more 'street-wise' police and 'bed-wise' nurses. ...
- 'Why should we have police with solicitors' degrees? We need more street-wise police out there who know what's going on,' Ms Hanson told her supporters in Woodridge.
'- I've heard complaints about nurses with university degrees who don't even know what bedpans are for, let alone where to put them.'"
Moait says One Nation's policy and these comments indicate an appalling understanding of the needs of modern nursing and modern healthcare delivery.
"We don't need so-called 'bed-wise' nurses. We need well-educated professionals who can respond to and handle a diverse range of healthcare settings and the ever changing technology, drugs and processes that now characterise healthcare," she says.
"It is a dangerous and absurd proposition that, as healthcare becomes more complex and the community's expectations continue to rise, nurse training and education should be downgraded.
"Nursing is not about bed-pans, it is about the management of health and living with illness in a variety of settings. It is not just about hospitals. It is about aged care, it is about community healthcare, home-based palliative care and a whole range of other care situations. Hospital-based training cannot prepare a flexible workforce, which can respond to and be effective in all these settings.
"At a time when there is a concerted and much-needed push to recruit more young people into a nursing career, calls for a return to hospital-based training also send the wrong messages. As I have said nursing is a professional career that offers a range of interesting and exciting options. Portraying nursing as being simply about hospitals, hospital beds and bedpans is not only misleading, it potentially undermines this recruitment effort".
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005