15,000 messages of support on One2Four

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At the time of printing, more than 15,000 nurses, midwives, doctors, patients and members of the public had left messages on the One2Four website in support of the NSWNA’s nurse-to-patient ratios campaign.

What the public say about patient safety

Warren Anderson (Vanessa’s father):

‘I admire the nurses for fighting for an issue that clearly was a factor that contributed to the death of our daughter Vanessa. The shame of your fight is the fact that it is now five years since Vanessa died at RNS and in between we have had a Garling Report with 139 recommendations. It’s a disgrace that you have to even raise this as an issue. If there is any way that I can help you in this please let me know. As I have always said our issue is not with the nurses in relation to Vanessa’s tragic death, it was the very thing that you are fighting for now, sufficient levels of staffing to maintain the welfare of your patients. Maybe then we will have more nurses come back to the industry. Good luck – I’m sorry you have been left to fight this battle.’

Zahra Dewji:

‘I was recently in hospital with Ulcerative Colitis. I buzzed my nurse many times to help me to go to the toilet as urgency is one of the main symptoms, but she was too busy with 10 patients that night. I had to disconnect my own drip from the wall and take myself to the loo for fear of having an accident, knowing that she would have been too busy to help clean me up if I did!’

Catherine Mason:

‘During my father’s last admission to hospital (age 78) we hired our own nurse special for him as we could see the staffing was totally inadequate. Result – no bed sores, regained swallow reflex quickly, no agitation leading to excess sedation and my mother went home at a reasonable hour so did not herself get ill and need admission. We’d be happy to pay more in tax instead, if we could be sure it would go to more nurses at the bedside.’

What nurses and midwives say about patient safety

Jen Smith:

‘Nurses want to be able to do their whole job. When I have 8-10 patients on a shift I don’t get to do everything that I need. In small rural hospitals the issues are more acute with even less staff. When a really sick person comes in overnight they may need three nurses to stabilise them, leaving one nurse for 22 to 28 patients on one ward and 1 to 14 on the other.’

Amanda Chapman:

‘I work in the busiest ED in NSW and we are constantly expected to cope with increasing workloads with no increase in nurses. We average 220-230 patients a day. On a daily basis we are three to four nurses per shift short, senior staff are leaving as they have had enough, the number of patients we see is rising per month and we are only asking to be given the resources to do our jobs properly.’

Anne Bruce:

‘I have recently worked in a public hospital on a Rehab Ward. Eight patients in two rooms, as a casual RN. One room had four patients with MRSA, and the other room had four patients who were not mobile. Out of the eight patients under my care, only seven were able to walk within the Rehab Ward! I had to work between both ‘four-bed’ rooms, with very high co-morbidity patients, including patients with MRSA. Need I say any more!’

What nurses who have left have to say

Jacqueline Bell:

‘It is vital nurse-patient ratios are set 1:4. It will retain more nurses in hospital-based nursing as it will be less stressful. I have left this field of nursing due to the frustration at being unable to care adequately for my patients on a busy ward.’

Jennifer Fancett:

‘I am a burnt-out RN, no longer work in my chosen profession due to the constant demand of unpaid overtime, double shifts, being short-staffed and often going without breaks. Ratios will relieve this burden and nurses will not need to leave the profession they love.’

What a student nurse says about patient safety

Alyssa McRae:

‘I’ve worked as a student nurse in hospital wards and watched an RN struggle with having a patient load of 12 patients. The RN who had the other side of the ward was caring for 14. Things need to change.’

Comparing NSW and Victoria

Jeannette Kegreiss:

‘The ratio system is working well in Victoria. Nurses there are happy and staff are coming back to the public hospitals. I believe it would be in the best interest to the NSW Health System to introduce ratios of 1 nurse to 4 patients here in NSW and maybe consider doing this throughout the whole country. This way all hospitals and services would be uniform throughout the land just like our registration/enrolment is now uniform throughout the land. This way more staff would come back to the service or not leave in the first place.’

Susan Quinn:

‘I have worked as an RN/RM in Victoria with the one to four ratios. We were able to give high quality care to our patients. The staff morale was high and we went home knowing we had done a good job. NSW on the other hand, we’re being flogged to death, everyone is leaving and huge errors are being made, morale is appalling, and I for one, will be retraining to leave the profession for good.’

What doctors have to say

Dr William Turnbull:

‘The relationship between inadequate qualified nursing staff numbers and adverse outcomes for patients is well recognised. This situation must be addressed as a matter of urgency in all acute care wards (including psychiatric wards) in all metropolitan and rural hospitals in NSW.’

Dr Graham Hill :

‘I believe the one to four ratio is critical, and should be supported by the NSW government.’

Facebook fan page comments

Sue:

‘I think it’s only fair on nurses that the ratio be 1:4. They all do such a great job. We need to support them.’

Lee:

‘If all the nurses in NSW called in sick on the same day they would realise how important they are and pay them a wage equal to the responsibility of the job and give them the conditions to match the same.’

Billy:

‘I’m sending this to everyone I know …

please do the same.’

Kerry:

‘About time. Gotta take a stand. Unfortunate for the patients but if Vic can do it why not NSW and all states, then we won’t have burnt-out creaky nurses that have been in the frontline for past plus 30 years … Hey, I’m with ya all the way.’

John:

‘Over 10 years ago I had a stay in hospital, I was in a great deal of pain and was in the end given something for it. I reacted badly and had a nurse checking on me every 10 mins, taking my blood presure etc, and talking to me reassuringly the whole night. I found it very comforting and was very grateful for the care I was given. I hope the support all nurses are deserving of is given to them also.’

Kimberley:

‘Get on board and support the overworked and under-staffed nurses in NSW!’