EN conference celebrates new future

1 July 2010

Enrolled nurses celebrated the rebirth of their role on National Enrolled Nurses’ Day on the opening day of a conference attended by nearly 230 ENs.

Robyn Hewlett, chair of the NZNO’s Enrolled Section said midway through the three-day Dunedin conference the mood was “pretty positive” about transition to the new scope and qualification.

Around 3000 enrolled nurses have been given until July 1 next year to transition to the new broader scope, introduced on May 31. Nursing Council chief executive Carolyn Reed said changes to the scope should not have any immediate impact on people’s jobs.

But Hewlett said Health Minister Tony Ryall, who opened the conference, was questioned about recent reports of enrolled nurses working in a Marlborough maternity unit being told they were to lose their jobs. Hewlett said the scope should not have impacted on their positions and the minister said he would seek further information on the reports. Reed said if enrolled nurses or employers had questions about the scope and the transition process, there were designated staff available at council to answer queries.

Hewlett said feedback from ENs at the conference was while some district health boards were well organised for the transition process, others were not and appeared to be waiting to see what others did. She said it was unfortunate the DHBNZ transition guidelines were not available in time for a conference workshop.

Hewlett said the minister in his speech encouraged enrolled nurses to contact their district health boards and change the mindset so DHBs would take on more enrolled nurses.

Ryall in his speech notes said enrolled nurses had been “unjustifiably marginalised” in the public health service, but with demand for health services predicted to double in 10 years there was no doubt ENs were not only needed but were also needed to “step up and do more”. He congratulated the enrolled nurses on their 10-year campaign to restore the place of enrolled nursing.

“It is my hope that the expanded scope of practice for enrolled nurses will make your careers more rewarding as you work in a broader range of situations, with greater responsibilities, and with a greater range of health professionals.”