THE staffing at Kyogle Memorial Hospital does not make sense, according to protesters.
Nursing assistants, knowns as AINs, have been replaced by security staff for the 4-8pm shift in the aged care ward of the hospital.
The security staff have been given three hours' training to care for the elderly patients while nursing assistants have trained for 360 hours.
It is why the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association held a protest in Kyogle.
Union secretary Mark Boyd said he had no idea why the hospital would replace nursing staff with security.
"Nurses do nursing and security do security," Mr Boyd said.
While AINs are the lowest paid in the industry, he said they knew how to care for the elderly and what to look for if something was wrong.
"AINs do the heavy lifting and the personal care of patients," he said.
This included toileting, washing and dressing patients as well as helping them exercise and move out of bed to chairs.
"AINs have an understanding of dementia, disabilities, Parkinson's and know what to look for such as skin tears, bruising and pressure areas," Mr Boyd said.
Page MP Kevin Hogan announced the $146,000 funding for three extra beds at the Kyogle hospital last year.
"I will be talking to the Minister about the staffing issue at Kyogle to ensure the funding is allocated as agreed," Mr Hogan said.
Northern NSW Local Health District executive director Lynne Weir said the actual hours of care for elderly patients had increased with the new model of staffing.
She said it gave the hospital "more versatility if staff can do security and care for patients".
With 27 full-time elderly patients at the hospital, Ms Weir said a wardsman had been doing morning shifts for some time and it had always been the plan to increase the use of hospital support staff to take on extra duties.
She did not say how much training they received but that it was ongoing.