Cardiac Technologists at Barwon Health have been successful in protecting their jobs from a sustained attack.
For some time the Cardiac Technologists had been asked to train nursing staff to perform aspects of their work. The Cardiac Techs, working with their nursing colleagues in good faith, provided the training that was asked of them. Unfortunately, although perhaps predictably, in 2015 the Technologists came under attack as management decided to replace the highly specialised Cardiac Techs with the very nurses that they had trained.
The changes meant that the Cardiac Technologists would no longer be involved in the scrubbing or scouting roles in the Lab, relinquishing these roles that they had shared for the last 20 years, to the nurses. In response, the Techs requested that the nurses relinquish their recording role, returning this job 100% to the Cardiac Techs, including out of hours.
Faced with losing this important part of their professional role, the Cardiac Technologists turned to VAHPA. With the support of the union, the Cardiac Techs dug in and ran a successful campaign to preserve their traditional role of monitoring and recording in the Cath Labs.
This means that both parties, who work closely together and rely heavily on each other, have given something up, but also have gained something in return. Importantly, both the Cardiac Technologists and the nurses are returning to their more recognised and established roles and hopefully relations will improve with the more clearly defined roles.
Realising that this threat was not simply an acute issue but an assault on their entire profession with far reaching implications the Techs rallied around to support one another and presented and argued a solution to management that was eventually accepted.
While the changes are to be reviewed in six months, the Cardiac Techs are working hard to justify their stance. Faced with being phased out of a core part of their professional role, the result is very significant and testimony to what can be achieved with a unified, passionate group of union members.