Response to the death of Remote Area Registered Nurse Gayle Woodford – the need for safer workplaces no matter the location

The College of Emergency Nursing Australasia is saddened by the news of Registered Nurse Gayle Woodford’s death. The College sends its condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Gayle.

The death of Gayle Woodford has highlighted the need for improved security and protection of all nurses.

Mr Shane Lenson, Executive Director for the College of Emergency Nursing Australasia says, “violence towards nurses is not isolated to any one speciality or setting. In Australian Emergency Departments, physical and verbal abuse is a daily occurrence. Nurses dedicate their professional lives to caring for people who are injured and unwell. All nurses should be able to assist those requiring health care without the fear of violence and abuse.”

“Nurses who work alone are at increased risk of violence, and must be protected. Duress alarms and working in pairs have been shown to reduce violence in healthcare.”

A petition ( has over 70,000 signatures calling for an abolishment of single nurse posts in Australia and requesting a mandate for two responders to attend all after hours call outs in rural and remote communities. The College adds its support to the petition.

One Australian nursing blog, (@TheNursePath), written by emergency nurse Ian Miller has encouraged “ALL nurses to pay tribute to Gayle Woodford and support our Remote Area Nurses by wearing a simple bandage on their upper arm.” This is to occur on the Tuesday 29th of March.

Social media has erupted (#‎GaylesLaw) from Australian nurses who are saddened by the loss of Gayle. Additionally, many nurses are sharing on social media their stories of being vulnerable to violence and abuse in their workplaces.

Health service managers in rural, remote and metropolitan areas must engage in a review of their strategies to keep nurses safe as a matter of urgency.


Further information:

Mr Jamie Ranse, Associate Executive Director, CENA

Nurse Staffing Standards for South Australia Emergency Care Settings

Nurse Staffing Standards for South Australia Emergency Care Settings

The College of Emergency Nursing Australasia has released a statement to its national membership outlining the required nursing staffing standards for South Australian Emergency Care Settings, both rural and metropolitan.

This statement is in response to the concerns from the South Australian Branch of the College relating to the proposed changes to the healthcare system through the Government of South Australia’s Transforming Health initiative.

Ms Karen Hammad, President for the South Australian College of Emergency Nursing Australasia says the changes “will have a significant impact on Emergency Departments within the state. his may subsequently lead to increased waiting times.”

Ms Hammad says “There are increased workload pressures on nurses working in SA EDs. This is complicated by the state government’s proposed changes to healthcare.”

Mr Shane Lenson, Executive Director for the College of Emergency Nursing Australasia says “Australian EDs are facing an increase in patient attendances, during 2013-2014 over 19,700 patients per day nationally. It is widely agreed that patient presentations to the ED will continue to increase”.

According to a study by Professor Christine Duffield, a Professor of Nursing and Health Services Management, EDs are experiencing a more complex patient case load, increasingly presentations of patients with multiple comorbidities, and have increasing presentations of patients with rates of chronic disease and acuity and are we now have a more culturally diverse patient population.

Ms Karen Hammad, President for the South Australian College of Emergency Nursing Australasia says “There are numerous system wide issues particularly relating to in-patient capacity which impact directly on the ability to move admitted in-patients in the ED to in-patient treatment areas. This results in access block and an inability to treat patients in a timely manner when they present to the emergency department. This in turn has a direct impact on the South Australian Ambulance Service (SAAS) who is often required to ramp patients as EDs are unable to accommodate patients in an appropriate clinical space within the ED”.

SA has 16 designated EDs, 13 in the public sector and three in the private sector. These departments vary greatly with regards to size, patient profiles, number of attendances and staffing making it difficult to develop a one size fits all approach to nurse staffing. Additionally nurses are working in a variety of emergency care settings across the state.

The College is calling on the Government of South Australia to consider a model which takes into account the unique nature of emergency nursing work while acknowledging variation across all emergency care settings in SA.

Mr Lenson states that “it is essential for EDs to have adequate nursing roles to support the timely and efficient assessment and management of emergency patients. EDs should consider roles such as clinical support roles, adequately trained team leaders, mental health nurses. These roles should be supported by other nursing roles such as: nursing directors, trauma nurse coordinators, patient flow coordinators, nurse managers, clinical service coordinators, nurse educators, research nurses, equipment nurses, discharge nurses, and disaster nurses”.

A full position statement can be located HERE

Click HERE to listen to Karen being interviewed on ABC radio

Further information:

Mr Jamie Ranse, Associate Executive Director, CENA,


Release date:

8th March 2016

Hospital Security Action Plan

Emergency departments have the highest incidence of violence in healthcare, and up to 90% of emergency department staff have experienced some form of violence in the careers.1, 2 However, surveys have demonstrated that up to 70% of incidences of violence go largely unreported.3, 4 In Australia, emergency nurses have the highest risk of being victims of violence, second only to security staff.1 All staff, patients and visitors have the right to an environment that is safe from acts of violence. The College of Emergency Nursing Australasia welcomes the commitment by the Minister for Health to improve security in all NSW emergency departments.

Roundtable Delivers Hospital Security Action Plan

Action Plan arising from Security Roundtable

Wayne Varndell | National Board Director | NSW State President


  1. Kennedy, M., Violence in emergency departments: under-reported, unconstrained, and unconscionable. The Medical Journal of Australia, 2005. 183(7): p. 362-365.
  2. Australasia College for Emergency Medicine. Policy on violence in emergency departments. 2011 [cited 2015; Available from:
  3. Hogarth, K.M., Beattie, J., and Morphet, J., Nurses’ attitudes towards the reporting of violence in the emergency department. Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal, 2015. In print. Link:
  4. Lau, J.B.C., Magarey, J., and McCutcheon, H., Violence in the emergency department: A literature review. Australian Emergency Nursing Journal, 2004. 7(2): p. 27-37. Link:

Release of the Australian and New Zealand Resuscitation Councils Resuscitation Guidelines

The College of Emergency Nursing Australasia is pleased to support the newly released guidelines from the Australian and New Zealand Resuscitation Councils, collectively known as ANZCOR. Mr Shane Lenson, Executive Director of CENA said “Emergency nurses, alongwith our colleagues in paramedicine, emergency medicine, intensive care nursing and intensive medicine, are a vital and highly skilled link in the chain of survival.”

“Emergency nurses are committed to achieving the best possible outcomes for victims of cardiac arrest and their families by ensuring timely and evidence based care both during and after cardiac arrest.”  Mr Lenson also called for the public to take a greater role in resuscitation, stating “We know every second matters in cardiac arrest and it is essential that everyone knows what to do when someone collapses. CENA strongly supports public training in CPR and Basic Life Support and any attempt at resuscitation is better than no attempt”

Further information:

Mr Shane Lenson, Executive Director, CENA, (03) 6231 2722

Release date:

13th January 2016

Download CENA ANZCOR Media Release

The care of patients with advanced cancer in the emergency department – exploring opportunities to improve care

Click on the links to read further articles

Recruiting for family presence in CPR

Giles, T.M., de Lacey, S.L. and Muir-Cochrane, E.C. (2015). Coding, constant comparisons and core categories: a worked example for novice constructivist grounded theorists. Advances in Nursing Science,


Giles, T., King, L. and De Lacey, S. (2013). The timing of the literature review in grounded theory research: An open mind versus an empty head. Advances in Nursing Science, 36(2) pp. E29-E40.
[10.1097/ANS.0b013e3182902035] [Scopus]

International Emergency Nurses Day

Wednesday 14th October is International Emergency Nurses Day.

The 13th International Conference for Emergency Nurses was held in Brisbane this month. At the conference a number of nurses and emergency departments were acknowledged for their exceptional contribution to emergency care.

  • Emergency Department of the Year: Dandenong Emergency Department, Victoria
  • Emergency Nurse of the Year: Sarah Cornish, Clinical Nurse Educator, Western Health, Victoria
  • Julie Finucane OAM Medal for Leadership in Emergency Nursing: Di Crellin, Nurse Practitioner, Royal Children’s Hospital, Victoria.

The College of Emergency Nursing Australasia (CENA) would like to acknowledge the work of all emergency nurses who dedicate their professional lives to caring for people during times of emergent injury and illness.

Mr Shane Lenson, Executive Director of CENA said that “at hospitals throughout Australasia, nurses are involved in the emergency care of people. Additionally, emergency nurses assist in the care of people in many other contexts such as rural and remote environments. Emergency nurses are an integral part of the overall health service.”

Mr Lenson states “Emergency nursing is a unique and specialised area of clinical practice. The Australian emergency care population comprises people from all age groups, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Emergency nurses provide care of patients which ranges from minimal intervention to life saving, advanced life support.”

Further information:

Mr Jamie Ranse, Associate Executive Director, CENA,