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Why is there a need for NUMs to meet outside of their own environment? If a NUM is involved with professional organizations related to their specialty, why do they need an organization for NUMs as well? How did the NUM Society come about?

Nursing Unit Managers in many organizations have held meetings amongst themselves for many years. These meetings ranged from informal gatherings of peers over lunch to more formal arrangements.

The New South Wales Nursing Unit Manager’s Society had its very first stirrings at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick. The NUMs at Prince of Wales thought that communications could be better within the hospital. They realised that NUMs, regardless of their specialty had a lot of common problems to share and with their combined expertise could address these problems. They spread the word and began meeting regularly.

The Director of Nursing wholeheartedly supported and encouraged this idea when it was put to her. The NUMs kept her informed of the sort of problems that they were working on and she leant her assistance to their resolutions wherever she could. The body became a useful management tool. It was able to make major contributions to matters such as nursing management structure and give input to union award claims and career structure on behalf of NUMs.

So effective was the group that word began to spread outside the hospital and the executive of the NUM’s group began to receive phone calls from NUMs from all over the state asking if they could come to our meetings and participate in NUM networking. The Prince of Wales group did not invite other people to attend as most often the issues discussed at the meetings were local issues, but they began to recognise that there was a wish and a need for wider interaction between NUMs. They decided to hold a conference to address exactly that: the need for combined networking and voice for all NUMs.

The conference, in October 1990, was attended by 500 NUMs from all over the state. The demand was greater than catering facilities could allow and although many more people wanted to attend, the number of attendees had to be limited to the amount the venue could handle. Speakers at the conference were inspirational and reinforced NUM’s capabilities as a body. The atmosphere was charged and emanated incredible enthusiasm. Most people wanted to form a society and join right then and there.

nursing and medical teams

This was not practicable so a steering committee was set up.

The steering committee met weekly for most of the time and worked hard on forming objectives and a constitution. It planned further conferences and set meetings for the developing Society. In mid 1991, our first members began to join.

The Society was given instant recognition by major nursing bodies such as N.S.W. Nurses’ Association, the Nursing Division of the Health Department, and the College of Nursing.

Over the years these bodies have maintained communication with us, inviting representatives to important events and often seeking our input on matters that concern NUMs.

Having an organization for nursing unit managers made communication with a large number of NUMs much easier and gave us the opportunity to have a say in the big picture.

Do not hesitate to contact the Committee.

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