Heralding the new law around nurse and midwife to patient ratios will be high on the agenda for Beth Mohle as part of her graduation speech to Griffith University Health students next week (Monday 18 July).

Secretary for the Queensland Nurses Union, the peak industrial and professional representative body for nurses and midwives in Queensland, Ms Mohle campaigned strongly for the Hospital and Health Boards Amendment Bill which now makes it mandatory for public hospitals to provide safe nurse and midwife to patient ratios. Ratios are being phased in throughout the state since July 1 this year.

“This world-leading Queensland legislation will save lives that need not be lost. International evidence concludes patient mortality rates and outcomes are directly linked to nurse numbers and the level of care each patient receives.

“We welcome a new era of transparency under which hospitals will be required by law to install safe nurse to patient ratios and should be required to publicly report patient outcomes and adverse events.

Significant cost savings

“Ratios will also result in significant cost savings through reduced health care costs, retaining staff and reducing patient complications and adverse events,” says Ms Mohle, who is also a Griffith University Bachelor of Arts alumni.

She joined the QNU as an Organiser in 1991 and subsequently held positions as project officer and research officer before being elected QNU Assistant Secretary in January 2007 and QNU Secretary in April 2011.

Prior to commencing her career in nursing, Ms Mohle completed a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities at Griffith University in 1979. The multi-disciplinary approach adopted in the Humanities program at that time provided a firm foundation for her career in nursing , industrial relations and superannuation.

“My undergraduate Arts degree taught me to look up and out, to apply learnings from disparate disciplines. So much of the knowledge and skills gained at that time has proven to be transferable to a wide range of situations. The key is to remain curious and look for patterns,” she says.