I don't want to be hung nor quartered by any nurse or ex nurse readers, so you won't be hearing about lazy, incompetent or overpaid nurses from me. In fact every nurse I have come across has been the opposite. Some just do their job competently, and we should not expect more, but some just go the extra miles and they are not rare.
Of course not being a nurse leaves me a little uninformed about their present industrial situation, but I have never found ignorance a reason to keep my gob shut.
In industrial relations matters it usually boils down to two basic matters, and they are the two that are problematic for almost all employees, pay and conditions. Leaving out that most of us we like to see better pay and conditions for nurses, there is one further dimension.
The nurses fought for and won quite some time a patient to nurse ration of four to one. This is now under threat. Management are using what has become a very evil word, flexibility. Sound it out with me, flex-i-bil-it-y. When management use this word, especially if they start adding detail about employees who want more flexible hours to care for their sick children, then start running for the hills. It's all bad.
Now, I expect there could well be a valid argument that some patients might need less care than others and the ratio could be flexible. In an ideal world, perhaps that could be allowed. But I would never trust the government, the health department and least of all hospital management to use the power to adjust the ratio on an as needs basis and do so responsibly and without taking advantage of nurses and reducing patient care.
There were very good reasons why nurses fought for and won the nurse patient ratio, and nothing has changed. If anything over the past decade or so, management has become worse in ways to do their staff down. And god knows, there is certainly enough management. I liken it to removing ice from the bottom of an iceberg and sticking the bits on top of the 'berg. At some point, the iceberg will turn over.
You may not care too much about nurses pay and employment conditions, but one day you will, the day when you are at their mercy. The nurse/patient ratio must stay.