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Student focus - Procedural review

Student and new graduate officer Dean Flanagan updates readers on dispute developments and explains some legal procedures

The INMO continues to argue matters relating to student nurse pay and conditions. As there was no agreement during direct discussions with the HSE, three issues were referred to the Labour Relations Commission (LRC). These issues are:

  • Application of incremental credit for the 36-week clinical placement in the final year
  • E ffects of the introduction of a 39-hour week on the rate of pay
  • Payment for a period post-qualification pre-registration (circa six weeks).

A conciliation conference on these matters was held on April 2 at the LRC. A resolution was not reached and a fiveweek adjournment was agreed after which the parties will reconvene. The INMO would like to thank the student nurses and midwives who took time to attend and speak at the hearing. If you would also like to be involved when we reconvene, please email me: deanflanagan@inmo.ie

For an explanation of what happens at conciliation conferences please see the top box above.

Student seat on Executive Council
Congratulations to Darren O’Cearuill who was elected as the student representative on Executive Council for 2014-2016. Darren is in his first year of nursing studies and will be a great benefit to the Executive, voicing the concerns of students on placements and in college.

Also commiserations to the other two candidates, Evelyn Farrelly and Kate Finnamore, and congratulations on terrific campaigns run by all three nominees. Kate and Evelyn will represent their branches at the ADC.

Question of the month
I am a student nurse on Placement 2 and I feel my preceptor won’t let me do anything clinical?

Remember that your mentor is responsible for you, your safety and the safety of patients. The preceptor’s registration is at risk if you are unsafe. Perhaps in your reflective diary explore your feelings of eagerness to pursue practice early in your placement. Speak with your preceptor and in the meantime learn all the aspects of the theory and the evidence about the skill or practice that you wish to undertake. Show your preceptor by discussion and your knowledge, that you are safe to carry out this task. Your eagerness to practise and to fulfil your outcomes in this practice placement is great, but remember it is over a number of weeks and you are still in the learning phase working towards being a skilled, qualified practitioner.

What happens at a conciliation conference?
Conciliation is a voluntary process in which the parties of a dispute agree to avail of a neutral and impartial third party to assist them in resolving their differences. The Labour Relations Commission provides a conciliation service by making available industrial relations officers of the Commission to chair ‘conciliation conferences’.These officers are referred to as ‘conciliation officers’. Conciliation conferences are basically an extension of the process of direct negotiations, with an independent chairperson present to steer the discussions and explore possible avenues of settlement in a non-prejudicial fashion. Participation in the conciliation process is voluntary, and so too are the outcomes. Solutions are reached only by consensus, whether by negotiation and agreements facilitated between the parties themselves, or by the parties agreeing to settlement terms proposed by the conciliation officer.


Protected disclosures of information
An employee may seek redress if they feel that they have been subjected to detrimental treatment in relation to any aspect of their employment as a result of reporting a concern via protected disclosure. In addition, employees are not liable for damages as a consequence of making a protected disclosure. The exception is where an employee has made a report that they could reasonably have known to be false.


Patient safety first
Lately we have heard many media reports regarding whistleblowing, but as a student are you aware of how it affects you?

Section 103 of the Health Act 2007, came into operation on March 1, 2009, and provides for the making of protected disclosures by health service employees. If an employee reports a workplace concern in good faith and on reasonable grounds in accordance with the procedures outlined in the legislation it will be treated as a ‘protected disclosure’ – see box above for details.

Its purpose is to facilitate employees to make protected disclosures in good faith to an authorised person, where they have reasonable grounds for believing that the health or welfare of patients/clients or the public may be put at risk, or where there is waste of public funds or legal obligations are not being met, so that the matter can be investigated.

Employees who do not wish to make a protected disclosure can make a ‘good faith report’. Good faith reports made to the information officer will be referred to the relevant HSE officer for investigation. The information officer will not disclose the identity of the employee making the good faith report where the employee so instructs.

More information can be found on www.patientsafetyfirst.ie Always feel free to email me (deanflanagan@inmo.ie) or contact your regional INMO office if you have any concerns.

Student focus - Procedural review
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Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (Cumann Altrai agus Ban Cabhrach na hEireann). The Whitworth Building, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. T:+353 1 664 0600 E:inmo@inmo.ie