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2 min read

Case Win: Strategies for Overcoming Contract Disputes in Nursing

From Casualty to Permanence: A Nurse's Journey Through Contract Turbulence 

This is the story of a Registered Nurse and member of the Nurses Professional Association of Australia (NPAA) in South Australia (NPASA), whose dedication was met with bureaucratic challenges and the threat of termination.

It began with a notification—an abrupt and startling message from their Nurse Unit Manager (NUM). Their contract was on the line due to alleged failure in meeting the requirements of central staffing pools and minimum shifts per week. Which came as a total surprise to the RN, as they were certain they had fulfilled the necessary shifts at another healthcare facility. But bureaucracy doesn't always align with the truth.

Upon receiving notice from their Nurse Unit Manager (NUM) about contract termination due to alleged non-compliance with central staffing pool requirements and minimum weekly shifts, the nurse swiftly sought assistance from the NPAA. A case manager promptly intervened, recognizing the urgency of the matter and initiated contact to gather comprehensive details.

The nurse had diligently met the necessary shift quotas at another facility, yet their efforts weren't acknowledged within the central staffing unit. Despite previously raising this issue with the Central Staffing Unit Manager (CSUM) and receiving no response, attempts by the NUMs from both facilities to find a resolution failed, leading to the decision of contract termination.

The NPAA's case manager initiated communication with the relevant NUMs to seek clarification on the matter. Meanwhile, unexpectedly, the CSUM reached out to the nurse, expressing a desire to discuss the situation and retracting the termination notice.

Upon confirming this development, the case manager engaged in dialogue with the CSUM, which led to arrangements for a meeting involving the nurse and NUMs to rectify the situation. The result was the formulation of a new contract offering permanent employment, effectively resolving the dispute.

This case illustrates the vital role that advocacy, communication, and collaboration play in resolving contractual disputes within the nursing profession:

Timely Intervention: The swift response from the NPAA and allocation of a dedicated case manager ensured immediate support for the distressed nurse.

Effective Communication: Open lines of communication between the NPAA, CSUM, NUMs, and the nurse facilitated a clear understanding of the issue and enabled constructive discussions towards resolution.

Advocacy and Collaboration: The NPAA acted as an advocate for the nurse, working collaboratively with relevant stakeholders to address discrepancies and negotiate a favourable outcome.

Problem-Solving Approach: Instead of resorting to immediate contract termination, all parties involved engaged in dialogue, leading to a mutually beneficial resolution.

How is the NPAA so effective in defending members during workplace issues and disputes? Our experienced and professional case managers use our unique RED™ case resolution system.

Why is the NPAA different? We believe that real change in healthcare STARTS with empowering frontline nurses, not bureaucrats. 

If you are a member of NPAA and need assistance with a workplace issue, please submit a member support ticket on your dashboard, or contact us at 1300 263 374 - hotline@npaa.asn.au

To find out more about NPAA and become protected today visit: npaa.redunion.com.au/join