30 September, 2011

Industrial considerations for nurses responding to disasters

Shane Lenson presented on behalf of our research team, the key findings from our project that explored all Australian Nursing Enterprise Bargaining Arrangements / Agreements for the provision of entitlements for nurses who assist in a disasters.

 Shane Lenson presenting our work - will you get paid in responding to a disaster?

By definition, disasters are events that reply on human and/or physical resources from other jurisdictions to assist in response and recovery. Within the Australian out-of-hospital environment, nurses have been deployed from various States and Territories to assist in the response to events such as the Victorian Bushfires [2009] and the Queensland floods [2011]. Similarly, nurses have been deployed overseas to assist in events such as the Christchurch earthquake [2011], Samona tsunami [2009] and Sumatra-Andaman earthquake and tsunami [2004], just to mention a few. It is reasonable to assume, nurses are likely to continue a role in the health response to a disaster. However, consideration needs to be given to the industrial agreements for nurses when released from their normal employment arrangements to assist in a disaster event.

An evaluation of the various public hospital nursing employment agreements was undertaken in 2011, to discern the requirements, conditions, allowances and entitlements of nurses responding to disasters. This presentation will outline the findings from this evaluation. In particular the findings will highlight the major differences between States and Territories agreements in terms of disaster response provisions and entitlements. Findings will highlight the diverse range of information regarding disaster response in agreements; from an absence of any information, through to clear explanation regarding eligibility requirements, salary and leave entitlements. The diversity of conditions described within the agreements possesses a number of questions about the equity, suitability and workforce planning during times of disasters.
 Shane Lenson presenting our work

Lenson S*, Ranse J, Cusack L. (2011). Industrial considerations for nurses responding to disasters; paper presented at the 9th International Conference for Emergency Nurses, Adelaide, South Australia, 30th September.


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