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AnnaD

unions at work and union colleagues to scared to unite on issues we agree on.

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I don't know where else to post this. I am wanting some practical perspectives on a work situation proposed for my nursing team.

Management in it's money saving focus, has proposed to replace our fifth registered nurse, with a untrained "clinical assistant", who will 

impact negatively on nursing services as they are not an equivalent registered nurse, and this proposal is advocated for at a time when 

the businesses demand for nursing services has increased. So why can't management hire a necessary fifth nurse? Lack of money.

 

We are four registered nurses within a majority radiographer/radiology team, providing xrays, cts, mri, and ultrasound to the taxpayer public. We are part of a public hospital, a hospital which has a commitment (as a taxpayer paid health service), to involve and include, NZ Nurses Union when relevant. Such as this example, where management failed to involve NZ Nurses Union, The Director of Nursing, Emergency Dept and ICU Nurse Managers, and the resource pool nursing managers, whom are all key consulting stakeholders when their fellow nursing colleagues (my team and I) job role is up for discussion and consultation. Major oversight by my radiology services management. Funnily enough, management deemed it relevant to inform, and include for consultation, non nursing stakeholders, non of whom are nurses, non of whom can provide professional clinical feedback on actual nursing concerns regarding care capacity demand management ie safe staffing ratios, junior to senior staff rostering ratios. The non nursing staff who have been invited to submit their opinion, on the nursing change proposal, are fucking doctors and radiographers, which is fine, they are the team us nurses work closely with everyday, but not fine, in the conspicuous absence of nurses who weren't consulted on a nursing role. I see this tactic as another disenfranchising ploy to further fracture (ha ha not) and weaken the solidarity of the nurses within our department. My hospital, as a government taxpayer funded hospital service, has an explicit agreement to work with the majority health professional providing group, nurses, and the nurses unions. The nursing union's involvement on this significant role change is conspicuous in its absence, because management didn't want to involve it. 

 

So the proposal has involved some, but not key nursing, stakeholders, for consultation. I am a union member, 3 of 4 of our nursing team are union members, and we have (the audacity of it), been asked by management not to submit our feedback on managements proposed changes to the nursing role as a united team,but instead, to submit our own feedback individually. In other words, don't unite as a galvanised front in our feedback on the proposed changes to the nursing role, but submit individual feedback, as that way, our feedback is less united and organised. United we stand, divided we fall. 

 

I have involved the union and I have submitted to my union a list of concerns, the main ones being, key nursing stakeholders have not been consulted with, which has an impact of controlling whose opinions and professional advice gets "heard" by management. My union delegate is aware that my colleagues have followed management's wishes and have not acted as a galvanised group, that they have instead acted as individuals providing feedback on the proposed changes, presumably, because they are scared to lose their jobs, and they do not want to "upset" management. The relations between some of my colleagues and management is so torturous that management reminds one colleague in particular that whatever feedback this particular colleague offers, is ALL negative, and therefore, is roundly ignored, by management. Tone arguments, from management. 

 

My union delegate when I return to work after the annual leave I have had, will approach my nursing colleagues to invite them to galvanise on proposed changes of concern that we agree on. I am doubting that my colleagues will want to approach management as a galvanised organised group. I have felt alternatively invigorated at hoping my nursing colleagues will unite, and sickened to my stomach, with anxiety that I am wasting my time, and that I will be bullied and scapegoated for inviting the union in. I am kind of trying to be uninvested in the outcome, as counting on my colleagues for solidarity and unity against the proposed changes seems to be silly, when they seem to be not interested in uniting. The wheels are in motion now, and I cannot avoid the reality that I could be humiliated (best scenario) and scapegoated (worst scenario). Any feedback is welcomed. I am trying to not hope too hard, and trying to be equanimous (is that the word) about it. I see that if this proposal goes ahead, and the safety of patients and our nurses professional registration is risked with this ill thought out strategy, I will look for work elsewhere.

Edited by AnnaD
needed more detail.
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Anna, I just want you to know that I read this and I don't really know what to say to you except to offer support. Finding another job and having it in your back pocket likely will give you the courage to do what you think needs to be done. I do suggest that you take time to step back from the situation emotionally so that whatever feedback you give to your management is based on logic and possibly with supporting data. Not that logic and facts are in vogue these days, but at least you'll have made the effort. For some reason I just thought of what Michael Obama said: "When they go low, we go high." I don't know why that came up for me but maybe it will help. Possibly the union will be helpful to you, but I suggest you do not count on them to manage the situation in a way that satisfies you. 

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41 minutes ago, Janet said:

For some reason I just thought of what Michael Obama said: "When they go low, we go high." I don't know why that came up for me but maybe it will help. 

 

Oh Janet, you didn't!   LOL

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I don't know if this helps AnnaD but you need to look at your collective agreement to see if they are allowed to do this.

If not file a grievance with the union and they will look into it.

It all depends on the language of your CA.

I hope this helps and good luck!!

Full disclosure I work for Canada Post so I deal with the same type of issues now and then.

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