A group of NSW Nurses and Midwives Association Maitland Branch members rallied outside Maitland Hospital on Monday morning in a bid to force hospital management to fix its current working conditions.
Inexperienced nurses are being left in charge amid a chronic staff swap at Maitland Hospital that's putting patients at risk, the union says.
At 8am on Monday, the members marched out of the front doors of Maitland Hospital, chanting, "what do we want, safe staffing mix and when do we want it, now."
Branch secretary Monique Murray said she is very proud of the branch at the moment.
"We've had a lot of staff turn up, and a lot who have just come off night shift, who have each turned up to fight for their rights," she said.
The rally striving to send a message to management that the nurses have had enough, Ms Murray said.
"We're very passionate about our patients and we love our jobs but we also want to be safe in our jobs," she said.
Ms Murray said their calls had fallen on deaf ears for the past 18 months.
She said Registered Nurses (RN) were being redeployed to pop-up pods to care for patients and replaced with nurses who were less experienced and unable to legally provide a wide range of care.
These nurses are an Assistant in Nursing (AIN) and an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse (EEN) and they work under the supervision of a Registered Nurse, she said.
"What we class as our babies of the workforce are being left in charge and have pressure put on them and they haven't got the experience," she said.
A Hunter New England Health spokeswoman said registered nurses "may be relocated to another area in the hospital" to fill staffing gaps but the AINs and EENs were "not asked or expected to perform duties outside their scope of practice."
"Hospital management ensures there is always an appropriate skill mix of registered nurses, enrolled nurses, and assistants-in-nursing to provide safe and effective care," the spokeswoman said.
In other news: