QUEENSLAND nurses and midwives are experiencing increased violence in public, private and aged care facilities, a new study has found.
Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union (QNMU) Secretary Beth Mohle said almost half the nurses and midwives surveyed as part of the Your Work, Your Time, Your Life report had experienced workplace violence in recent months.
The research was conducted by the University of Queensland, Central Queensland University, Curtin University, QUT and the QNMU. Lead Researcher Professor Desley Hegney will present the findings at day two of the QNMU’s annual conference tomorrow.
“Any level of violence is unacceptable, so to hear more than half of those surveyed state they have experienced violence indicates we have a serious problem,’’ Ms Mohle said.
“We’re working hard to identify and implement solutions to prevent violence in our workplaces but we need the community to support us.
“We take care of our patients, clients and residents – but we need the community to take care of us too.”
The study found violence against nurses and midwives was worst in aged care facilities and in hospitals in regional and rural areas. The QNMU called for and is working closely with the State Government as part of the Palaszczuk Government’s Occupational Violence Taskforce.
Ms Mohle said the report also found many nurses and midwives did not have time to meet patient or resident needs due to chronic understaffing – predominantly in the aged care sector. A quarter of respondents said they were unable to complete their jobs satisfactorily. This figure rose to 40 per cent in aged care.
The QNMU continues to campaign for safe staffing levels in aged care facilities state-wide and nationally. Currently there are no laws that dictate even a single Registered Nurse (RN) be on site at all times and no requirement that taxpayer funding be spent on direct clinical care for residents.
Some facilities rely on virtual nurses, or nurses located at sister facilities up to 400km away, to deliver potentially life-saving medical advice over the phone.
“Forty per cent of aged care nurses surveyed in the Your Work, Your Time, Your Life study said they were unable to properly meet residents’ needs due to chronic understaffing,’’ Ms Mohle said.
Ms Mohle said the QNMU conference, which began today, would celebrate the important roles of nurses and midwives in the workplace and the union movement. The QNMU will continue to use its strength to address issues outlined in the research report including workplace violence and massive failings in the aged care sector.
“More than 400 Queensland nurses, midwives and nursing students representing 58,000 QNMU members will gather in Brisbane this week to celebrate the importance of their roles both at work and in the union movement,’’ Ms Mohle said.
“Nurses and midwives make a real difference to the quality of Queensland lives.’’
The QNMU conference will be held at the Brisbane Convention Centre.