Nursing council's plans cause confusion.
|Article Type:||Letter to the editor|
|Publication:||Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032|
|Issue:||Date: Feb, 2009 Source Volume: 15 Source Issue: 1|
I am a hospital-trained registered nurse (RN) with 25 years'
experience in operating theatres. I am employed in a private hospital,
along with seven other RNs, two enrolled nurses (ENs) and four visiting
Among us we have 347 years' experience in operating theatres, with an average of 24.8 years' experience each. Our average age is 54.5 years. We are very experienced and very valuable members of the nursing workforce.
I was the first person at our place of work to undergo the Nursing Council's competence assessment process. At the time, I felt it was a sham and did not adequately measure or reflect my competence to practise as an RN in operating theatre, although, with a bit of lateral thinking, the competencies could be met.
I now see the Nursing Council is considering the role of registered nurses working as first surgical assistants (RNFA). (See Extended roles outside RN practice scope, Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand, December/January 2008/2009, p10.) There are instances where all theatre nurses could be considered first surgical assistants. Does the Council wish us all to apply for authorisation to practise as surgical assistants in order to maintain our practising certificates?
The vast majority of RNs in operating theatres work as members of a surgical team by the operating surgeon. At times, any of us may be required to work as a first surgical assistant in order to facilitate safe and timely surgery.
The Nursing Council must clarify for us exactly where the RN in operating theatre stands in all this. It would appear the Council has no real understanding of the role of the majority of nurses in operating theatres.
The competence assessment on the Nursing Council website may reflect the practice of a handful of nurses in New Zealand. While many of us, from time to time, may work as a first surgical assistant, it never involves the incision of tissue, dissection, applying diathermy, suturing etc.
Should the Council instead be Looking only at any nurse working as an independent nurse practitioner in an autonomous role?
It is hard enough now to recruit, then train and retain good operating theatre nurses. If the Nursing Council continues with this confusion over roles and scope of practice, it may well become damned near impossible.
Who wilt be there to Look after you when you need your hip replacement, cataract surgery or bypass? If the paperwork required to prove ourselves competent becomes so difficult, many of us will just take the retirement option!
Juanita Curry, RN, Kimbolton, Manawatu
|Gale Copyright:||Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.|