Are the nurses justified in their industrial action?
I despair when I read the length and irrelevance of the postings re Nurse and Junior Doctor industrial action over pay. Can contributors not keep each post to under 200 words and we might actually read them. If the issue is about pay then why gripe over work conditions. If the work conditions are not right then getting paid more wont fix it so strike over them instead. For the record all health staff salaries are listed on www.dohc.ie. A nurse working a standard 24/7 roster will add approx 24% to basic salary for an avergae 37.5 hour week - overtime at t+1/2 or t+t will further boost this salary and allowances such as location or qualification also. Junior doctors will average another salary and half in overtime on top of the basic salaries quoted. Whether you believe the figures are poor or exorbitant is entirely an objective opinion. By international standards they are high but so also are all other public/civil service salaries.
Banaltra. all the tasks you have listed sound like your JOB - no more and no less than your job. As for saying "NURSES do not go to college and study for 4 years to clean and scrub beds, tables and lockers. Thats what hygiene teams are for! let me highlight one thing for you. In the 80's when I had reason to spend quite a bit of time in hospital environs with family, no nurse ever considered it beneath her to clean and scrub and patients bed - that was simply part of the duty of keeping a patient infecton free and let me tell you there was no such theng as MRSA or C-diff then. If you want a dose of reality, read Badger's post.
I am a doctor. I am qulified for 4 years. Do you get a week off after the week of night shift?
NCHDs routinely do 60-100 hours per week, week in and week out.
Most nurses that I know seem to have the facility to refuse to do certain shifts if it doesn't suit them. This may not be possible for a newly qualified nurse but it certanly seems to be the norm for most nurses. I have never seen a non-consultant doctor who was able to get out of doing a night on call unless by swapping it for another date or having some personal medical emergency such as a stroke.
You have alluded to the high rates of absenteeism amongst nurses. I agree that this is a major problem. Nurses take all of their sick leave. Doctors don't take sick leave unless they are quite ill and many are forced to work on through illness. No nurse that I ever heard about stays in work while fighting flu-like symptoms and a spiking temperature of 39.5 C as one of my colleagues recently did.
While I understand that nurses do a lot of hard work and they often have to multi-task I must say that most of the things which you are listing off such as answering calls from patients relatives and cleaning the wards not to mention basic nursing duties such as administering transfusions and observing patients when the doctors are not there sound like the kinds of jobs nurses should be doing. We can't be paying secretaries to sit by the phone all day and all night. Costs have to be taken into account. The nurse can provide some information to the relatives if the doctor is not available...that sounds reasonable to me.
Another point...if a doctor is not available can you consider why that might be. Shall I list off the myriad stupid things that non-consultant hospital doctors are forced to do instead of treating patients such as running after radiologists to request scans (many radiologists insist that they can only be spoken to between set times such as 10-12 and 4-5 so if the window is missed then the scan might have to wait for the next day.) Also have you considered how many patients you are responsible for on your horrible night shift compared to how many patients the medica intern/surgical intern is responsible for? If you are responsible for 20 patients on night shift, which I doubt, then that pesky intern who won't answer the bleep despite being bleeped three times in one minute may be anywhere throughout the hospial fire-fighting problems such as cardiac and respiratory arrests and acute surgical emergencies in theatre and he may be responsible for...how many patients?? Well, if you are in a large Dublin hospital you probably have 4 interns on-call overnight so take the number of patients in the hospital and divide it by 4...or more accurately, take the number of medical patients in the hospital and divide it by 2. That was the case 4 years ago. It may be the SHO who is expected to pick up the slack now that the HSE are making a mandatory 48 hour week for interns without hiring any extra doctors. Anyway, 34-36 hour shifts are the norm for medical SHOs on-call and surgical doctors often are on-call for the whole weekend including working the Friday before and the Monday after with the chance that he will get only 2-4 hours sleep. But, perhaps you think that we get paid appropriately. Perhaps you should ahve a look at the basic pay of an intern/SHO versus that of a nurse. Only the huge hours that NCHD doctors work drive up their earnings. Now the government proposes to efectively extend our working week by 9 hours by paing us the basic rate for the first nine hours of overtime and 125% for the remainder of overtime( which will still need to be done since no new doctors are to be hired, of course.)
Would nurses accept that? Eh, no.
Question...if the majority of a nurse's work can be done by a healthcare assisstant, why do we bother to have as many nurses as we do with their expensive 4 years of training. Surely, the logical thing would be to reduce the number of nurses and hire more healthcare assistants? Perhaps, you would argue that nurses are there to care for patients. What do you think is the point of a 4 year degree for a nurse if she spends her (or his) time changing bed linen and wiping a*ses and answering phones?
Doctors who do emergency medicine have received a shift premium of 1/6th extra per hour. I presume that it is similar for nurses.
I skimmed thorugh you message and being honest you basically described what I thougt a nurse did. True it is a hard job and a very important job, and I would never take that away from you and fully admire your work. However the point that consistently eludes the nurses is that by accepting that does not in itself justify a pay demand. Maybe you are being paid enough already. What would you consider a fair salary for a newly qualified college recruit like yourself and what would you consider a fair salary for the average nurse. And secondly why? Remember this pay strike was for a 20% pay increase above all other public servants. Do nurses think that they are 20% more important than everyone else?
Incidently you comment re bank hols is irrelevant. A hospital is a 24/7 operation requiring nurses at all times. As I understand it you do get double pay for a bank hol. Seems fair enough to me and goes with the territory of being a nurse.
Still no! I dont know why these people ever pursue nursing as a career as the push and pull of their daily routine seems far beyond them. I know many nurses when they complete a week of night duty they are then off for a full week after and usually their pay balances out. What about the information that they are higher paid than many other EU nations - eg 30% more than their UK counterparts? Are we getting 30% more quality nursing or just moaning about making beds and dispensing medicines and looking after patients? Hello! Isnt that on the the job description? Maybe its time to pursue a new career direction. There will be thousands of young people looking for work and happy to fill the the places in the coming years!
Doesnt shiftwork pay per shift, separate to an annual wage?
I am a newly qualified Irish RN graduate from Trinity college. I am 24yrs old and working in an extremely busy hospital in Dublin. I have just finished a week of nightshifts, a total of 84 hrs in one week to be exact. But I'm not here to talk about the cruelty of making a nurse work 7 nights in a row without getting to sleep even an hour on break during 12hr shifts like other health workers. That is a story for another day.
I don't think the HSE or general public seem to know what exactly we do everyday on duty OR what we have to put up with on a day to day basis. Let me shed some light. The workload is endless. You start work at 7.30am, a morning report is read by the nightshift staff about 28 patients on the ward. The first thing you will notice is a vacany or sub on the staff board, meaning yet again the ward is going to be short-staffed and you are going to be stretched to unsafe limits. Who is going to care for the patients in ward 4 if there is no nurse on duty? Of course it is going to be you and your collegue who already have 6-8 of their own fully dependent patients.
The morning begins with daily checks of oxegen, suctioning equipment and overall ward safety. Following that the patients ADL's are attended to e.g. hoisting, back-breaking lifting, turing, washing, feeding, oral hygiene, changing etc. In the middle of patient care medications are also dispenced, medications ordered (meaning you chase the pharmacist around the ward) that are short in stock or simply not in stock due to cut-backs. IV anti-biotics have to be made up (reconstituted) and IV fluids have to be set up for patients. Blood sugars are checked for those that need them. Blood tranfusions administered if HB's are low. Aprox 6-8 beds are made mostly entirely by oneself as there is never enough health care assistants around to help. (Try stooping and raising up metal beds that squeek and sound like they have been there since 1916.) Raising pillow rests that have to be tugged with great force again damaging ones back. Electric beds are used abroad. I don't want a permanent back injury at the age of 24.
Then vital signs have to be recorded, abnormalities reported. Medical teams, OT, social workers, physio, SALT chased for their expertise or simply to ask if or when a patient will be reviewed. If you are not the patients avocate nobody else will be. There will be dressings to be done later in the day, pain relief or anti-emetics to be administered. Infection control to be contacted re- various HAI for e.g. C.diff , MRSA, Norovirus bugs that patients have contracted. Wards have to be cleaned out if patients have to be moved to isolation rooms. Let me highlight this, NURSES do not go to college and study for 4 years to clean and scrub beds, tables and lockers. Thats what hygiene teams are for! Don't we have enough to do? The cleaners only clean the walls and floors, that is ALL. So who is left to clean the rest? Patients are abandoned because we are ordered by administration to clean bed, tables, lockers etc ?! How does this make any sense?
Throughout the day we chase medical teams (though we have our own work to do) to remind them of what they have to do for their patients. We check bloods and report abnormalites to medical teams who are sometimes not aware of the current results. Some nurses take bloods and cannulate patients because their doctor is too busy to carry out his/her job. When do we get to use the excuse that we are too busy? The answer is, never. There is also heaps of documentation work for legal reasons, not only do we physically carry out all these tasks but we have to record each and every little thing. Bowel charts, fluid balance charts, pressure area charts, calorie assessments, weights, tpr charts and many, many more.
Add to all of this the constant interuptions from phone-calls and talking to relatives, much of the time they want to talk to the patient's doctor regarding a concern or complaint about why a procedure has not been done, but they are not available. We are only people left on the frontline to deal with this. Then there is the end of day reports that has to be written in meticulous detail about what happened with each patient that day, reams of information down to what their mood has been like or if they have a small superficial tear on their skin that has to be monitored. Often NURSES notice abnomalities on the patients body and wounds because many doctors to not examine their patients from head to toe, we report them and as a result they get treated. We would be lucky to actually leave the ward on time when or shift ends at 20.30pm, 13 hours later, alot of time we are working late, unpaid.
We don't get public holidays or much annual leave as others in the public sector. At the end of the day we are human and all have our own lives outside the hospital with bills to pay. We do all of this work and so much more, I love my job but the ignorance of the HSE and general lack of respect for nurses has made me consider leaving the job more than once AND I have just started. The patients that I have cared for are the most gracious, funny, witty people, they deserve more than an overtired nurse. They deserve attention and high quality nursing care. I love interacting with patients and caring for them but if we are not given respect in form of either shorter hours or increased pay like our neighbours abroad how are we supposed to feel valued by our country? The majority of my wonderful graduate class of 2009 are leaving to use thier skills in Austraila/America or just simply leaving the profession for an easier job due to the hardships we suffer. I hope nobody is offended by this message and hope it will give people an insight into a average nurses day on on the wards. Thank you all for reading.
From just another overworked, underpaid, beaten down nurse.
And also, just on the nappy changing issue, though I realise it is just one example, you cannot say that because someone changes a nappy they should get a payrise. Look at the amount of carers we have in this country. They get paid just over 200 a week to give up their jobs and care for an elderly relative fulltime, and often this is one of their duties, as well as washing them and round the clock supervision. These people save the government millions every year because instead of placing their elderly in a public nursing home they choose to look after them themselves. Should these people be entitled to a higher carers allowance ? Also, i think it is rich (pardon the pun) that nurses constantly try to put themselves on the same payscale due as doctors. One only has to look at the difference in academinc qualifications, length of college course, further training, unsociable hours, higher skill and general sacrifice between doctors and nurses to see that equal pay for the two is anything but justified. Yes if I was ever unfortunate enough to be incapacitated I would really appreciate having someone to help me out with general fucntions such as med administration, washing etc but I would be more grateful to whoever saves my life using the knowledge that they no doubt spent YEARS accumulating.
"You don't see Doctors changing people's nappies or theirs beds or taking them to the bathroom."" - this is true, and they do a VERY admirable job, but at the same time one can also say that you dont see nurses performing life saving surgeries on people. Of course nursing is an admirable profession, and I am full of praise for anyone who does such a hard job, but it is not justifiable to say that just because someone does their job WELL means that they should get MORE money. I have seen firefighters cut my parents out of their car after a serious crash. THAT is an admirable task, yet they get paid a pittance. I have seen vets elbow deep in a cow in the dark of the night trying to save the life of mother and baby. THAT too is admirable but vets have to mortgage their ar*es off to be able to work on their own and actually make a decent living. There are PLENTY of people who carry out important jobs, and there are people who do their jobs very well - it does not automatically entitle them to a payrise.
Originally posted by We don't all have A N:
"The nurses are entitled to everything they are looking for. I have seen nurses looking after people that they know are going to die no matter what they do, and I have seen those same nurses going through their own family health problems, worried about their own familys. You don't see Doctors changing people's nappies or theirs beds or taking them to the bathroom."
Sure. Everybody is entitled to everything they are looking for. Don't you wonder where the money is supposed to come from? Perhaps you don't contribute your share of taxes so you consider that the government has free money to give out to the nurses regardless of performance.
When you talk about seeing nurses looking after dying people and helping patients even when their own families are unwell, it seems like you are forgetting that doctors do the same thing. Don't you remember that doctors have families too? I heard of a female surgeon who had a baby on a Friday and was back at work on the Monday because there was inadequate cover. Wat about the doctors who have had fatal car crashes when driving home after a 36 hour shift? What about the doctors who have committed suicide over the last number of years. You don't hear about nurses committing suicide. They are usually more concerned with planning their next baby/holiday. My own father was recently admitted to hospital for possible minor stroke but I was not allowed time off to visit him in hospital. Do you think that this would ever happen to a nurse? Do you understand that doctors are forced to do obligatory overtime to maintain patient care, while nurses pick and choose their hours to suit their social lives and their financial situation...with many nurses turning up in agency uniforms to soak up exorbitant agency rates.
I am a doctor and I have often taken a patient to the toilet or helped a patient when a nurse was not to be found on the entire ward. As a doctor, I am not being paid to change nappies. I am being paid to diagnose and treat patients. Doctors are not nurses. If want to give somebody everything they are looking for merely because they change some nappies and moan to you about their personal problems when they should be doing their job then do it out of your own pocket.
Dear "We don't have an",
Of course we all agree that nurses are lovely and do a great job. That has never been in dispute. This was a pay dispute. So just beacuse a nurse is lovely does not in itself mean that she/he is due a pay rise. Maybe they are getting enough pay already.
Yes, I have met some lovely nurses over the last couple of years while my mother was sick and they have all tried to do the best for her but they are really overworked with too many patients for each nurse. If they take sick days due to stress who can blame them. I have only had to look after my Mam, but these nurses have to look after so many people, not just the patients but family who are asking questions and can't find any doctors to talk too. While my mother was in the hospice there was a lovely nurse there who was so good to my mother, but I didn't realise she was going through the same thing with her own mother, who lived in the country and this nurse was worried sick about her own family, but never let it intefere with her patients.
No. Our country is at the point of going bust and there is too much negativity on behalf of the nursing staff to inspire the taxpayers of Ireland to support more pay for a health System that is not delivering on quality of care to families friends and fellow citizens. Fair enough it is not just the nurses - but we all seem to have lost the run of ourselves after the last 15 years. More co-operation and a positive attitude without unbelievable rates of absenteeism amonst the various faculties within the health care system, with an emphasis on care and respect might start to inspire those of us in dread of turning up at the coalface of Irish hospitalsm having to face the Florence 'Fightingales' of this country. Just look at the complaints about staff in many hospitals - mainly nurses - 50% of patients dont want to face A&E staff and ward staff because of the appalling attitude they have to tolerate when at their lowest and most vulnerable. And they want to be rewarded for this?
Eight months on and Bernie still refuses to post the pay details to anon. The debate here is all very fine to discuss nurses in terms of Florence Nightingale. Anything but what the dispute is about - pay. And Annamae would prefer to discuss every other payscale except the one this topic is about. 500 posts and some contributors still havent informed themselves properly on nurse pay despite the facts being available from multitudes of quarters.
I really don't want any nurse to take any kind of strike or industrial action, but what I have seen over the last year when my mother was diagonseds with cancer and she spent most of her last year in either the hospital or the hospise, if it was not for the nurses my mother would have a horrible death. I found that the nurses in the hospital were so busy with different people having lots of problems they really had no time to spend with a single patient. If my mother wanted to go to the toilet she could be waiting 30 minutes and when they did bring her to the bathroom she would be left there. I have nothing but praise for the nurses in the hospice, my mother loved them, they couldn't do enough for her in the last few months of her life. The nurses are entitled to everything they are looking for. I have seen nurses looking after people that they know are going to die no matter what they do, and I have seen those same nurses going through their own family health promblems, worried about their own familys. You don't see Doctors changing people's nappies or theirs beds or taking them to the bathroom.
Nurses should not have to engage in Industrial Action to to secure a fair deal. However, regretfully when they do take action they should take the hit like all other sectors who have to go this road, those in the private sector do not get paid by their employer when they go on strike. A small number of trade unions may pay a paltry amount to members for a very short period of time.
Perhaps if the INO were paying out strike pay they might get their act together and look after the membership instead of using them as political footballs. Bench marking was of no benefit whatsoever in securing fair and equitable terms and conditions for nursing staff. I wish you well in your future endeavours to secure a decent rate of pay for the service you provide
The figure of €22,176 is after tax, pension, union and other deductions. (well at least based on what you told us).
What is it before tax ??
I have to ask is it some sort of ploy to get people into a career in nursing?
I have not been working long as a nurse, but according to the INO I'm recieving the wrong wage packet every month. This month I can tell you, I'm looking at my wage docket and I recieved €1848 after tax. My hours for the past month were: BASIC 168 hours WEEKENDS 48 and NIGHTDUTY 9 hours. I get no overtime (I never have). I'm full time (obviously) and I work in the public sector. Given that this is my average wage packet I recieve €22,176 a year on average. So thats my wage packet everyone. Oh, by the way I'm renting a room for €400 a month 40 minutes away from the hosptial where I work. After rent, bills and food costs, I dont have much left I can tell you! And I know I chose this career, Whoop-dee-doo. I love the work because I love people. But I challenge anyone ESPECIALLY Mary Harney to work as a nurse for one week and say that the work is 'easy'. So yes, I'd like a pay rise. Guilty as charged.
the bulk of the hard work is now being left to nurses aides, it is only new nurse's who have a degree. In one Dublin hospital, in casualty some of the nurses are a disgrace to the medical profession. No I am not a nurse basher,just someone who has spent time in other hospitals.
That is what angers everyone. You sit at your office desk posting on here at the taxpayers expense whilst in receipt of a salary scale that is higher than a Registrar.
That is precisely why there is so much uproar about the HSE because those that are running this shambles of a health service are the very cause of all the problems.
I don't see why you would bring in other grades into this. (all of them are well paid and do no overtime). I am not directing my post at lower grades in the HSE, I am directing it at you with your earnings of 78,000+ per annum.
You miss my point entirely. I don't believe for one second that you warrant that salary or a salary that is higher than a Nurse or Doctor (at any level).
Still a hell of a lot less that you earn after 10 years Auditor?
Isn't that the point? The pen pushers earn far more than the direct, front line staff. THAT is madness.
To answer the one part of your message that I understand, according to the INO the basic staff nurse hits the top of the scale after 13 years with a basic of €45406. So a nurse with 25-30 years experience without any promotion or extra posts of responsibilty will be on €45406.
I understand perfectly the concept of average. What makes you think I don't?
You appear to refuse to believe that a nurse with 10 years experience has a senior position. The fact is that many nurses with less years experience are considered senior. they may not have the typical of manager but they are in fact,hospital operate 24/7 and each ward requires at least a team leader for every shift. Also, you appear to have a difficulty in understanding the meaning of average, and appear to confused with max. After 25-30 years experience how much is a nurse earning?
If you are not prepared to post the payslip details requested then would you mind letting us all know what you feel a 31 year old staff nurse with a qualification allowance who has worked for 9 years and covers a standard 24/7 roster averaging 39 hours per week with total overtime hours of say just 5 per week or 230 in the year would gross?
Reading between the lines, as best I can, and in the absence of any factual counter-argument, I take it that you now agree with my rationale using the INO figures that the Gov quoted figure of 56k as the average nurses salary is now reasonably realistic, although does not obviously reflect each individual case.
There is merit in quoting an average salary in a pay dispute that centres on 40,000 nurses. Clearly it would not be realistic to quote 40,000 scenarios. Don’t forget that this is a pay dispute, and the nurses vehemently denied that 56k was the average, because obviously most people in the real world would say that 56k is a reasonable salary and comparable to their peers in the guards and fire service.
You still have not explained why your sister is earning 6k less than the amount her INO website says she is entitled to. I suggest that she should get onto her salary department and her union.
I have many times accepted that the public at large have supported the nurse’s dispute. The reason for this is obviously that the emotional argument grabs people’s attention and they believed the mis-information put out by the INO (eg the INO deny that 56k is a realistic average for the nurses). However for anyone who has looked at the facts, which includes all the political parties except for Sinn Fein, and the ICTU; the nurses case did not stand up. If their case did stand up ICTU would of course support them and also surely the opposition parties during an election campaign, and knowing the public support would have come out in support of the nurses. Yet they didn’t. Anniemae, you have never addressed why the nurses didn’t get the support of the opposition political parties.
Can I state again that I do respect the nurses and have personally benefited from their great work. That is not in dispute at all. What is in dispute is whether the nurses were justified in looking for a 10% pay rise above everyone else in the public service, and at the same time a 10% reduction in hours.
Incidentally, I am paid in the region of the average nurse. Not sure the relevance to this debate. I am still entitled to an opinion on how 2 billion euros of tax payers money is spent, regardless of my own earnings.
Why don't you pick on Auditor who even earns more than the 'average' Doctor?
Why do you, knipex and Auditor try to accuse anyone who agrees with the plight of the nurses, of being nurses? I have told you, I am not a nurse but I still agree with and support them.
I am not on my own in this either and you only need to look at the poll results on this thread to see that 69% of people visiting this site also agree with the nurses.
You keep talking about averages. I am not talking about averages. I am talking about individuals and real people.
When I posted my sisters earnings you call me a liar. What purpose do I have to lie about anybody's salary? To think I would have any reason to do so is actually nonsensical.
There is not even such a thing as an 'average' work load in any given day for any nurse. But then again, you would all know that if you were ever in a hospital as a patient, wouldn't you?
I have demeaned myself totally by even bothering to engage with you but like John, its difficult to read the rubbish you 3 post that is so disrespectful to nurses, who work so hard in our sick health system.
I, like others who have posted on here, find it a bit 'oirish' to see someone who is earning what Auditor is earning, posting demeaning posts about nurses on a public forum during working hours and even more ironic to think that we are all paying his salary for doing so.
Obviously, none of us know what you and Knipex earn but whatever it is, its too much, when you have so much time on yours hands to post demeaning posts.
On that point, I will join John and rest my case.
Auditor should join you both on your park bench and let you 3 discuss the health service and nurses to your hearts content.
Karma! Yes, John, Karma will sort them all out, in time.
I know that you seem to have difficulty in discussing facts, and that is why you do not want to engage in debate with me. I ask you courteously to leave aside your emotional feelings towards me and look at some facts.
It is a fact according to the INO website (not me) that an ordinary staff nurse with 10 years experience is on €40861. (not the €35k that you quote for your sister)
It is a fact according to the INO website that there is a very wide range of educational qualifications that warrant the €2661 educational allowance. These would cover most younger nurses who have come through college.
It is a fact that hopitals are open 24/7 and are staffed by nurses at all times.
It is therefore a fact that the typical average nurse does overnight and week end work. It is part and parcel of the territory. (Of course loads of nurses like your sister chose not to do this work, but the work must still be done and is done by the typical nurse, the staffing at night is approx 2/3 of that during the day).
Therefore the typical staff nurse with 10 years experience, and covering the overnight and weekend work would earn 40861, plus 2661, plus 22% for the unsocial hours would give a €53k. Add to this another 3% payrise due since Dec 06, brings the typical nurse to €54689.
Now Anniemae, tell me what part of these facts are wrong. In very simple terms, I have shown that 56k is a very realistic figure for the average typical staff nurse of 10 years experience (not a “very senior nurse” as you say), quoting figures from the INO website. These figures are from before the strike was settled.
I dont know JamesH but to date he has only posted facts, not lies, not rumours, he has never had any point he made proven wrong. People have shoted, screamed and ranted at him but when pushed they have never been able to prove him wrong and in a number of ocasion had to admot that figures they had given were wrong.
In this entire thread I have only seem him make one post that could be regarded as anything but proffesional.
It is a pity the nurses and their supports could not say the same.
They have failed to give one reasonable justification for their claims.
Anytime they were questioned the response was to shout and scream, rant and rave with not a single logical point to dispute the comment made.
They have personally attacked a number of posters.