Tuesday 1st October 2013
“It’s right to make ratios the #1 issue.”
“I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend today’s rally. A lot of nurses are so busy doing shift work and long hours that they can’t get to a rally like this. Nursing is not the kind of occupation you can easily step away from, but I think it’s important that we stand up and make our voices heard.
I think it’s right for the union to be making ratios the number one issue at the moment. If we don’t get improved staffing and reasonable workloads everyone will suffer. Patients and their families won’t get the care they need and the government will lose public support. Nurses will leave the workforce in droves.
Nurses are dedicated people and it’s not a job you can half do. Everyone puts in their utmost, but it’s hard to see how people can go home exhausted at the end of each day, year after year, without getting burnt out. It’s well documented that nursing burnout can happen at quite an early stage in someone’s career.
“Without action things won’t change.”
“The energy at today’s rally is fantastic – it shows we can all pull together and fight for ratios and safe patient care.
We have pretty good ratios in ICU yet I still struggle to get my work done and there are times we are under stress. However our ratios are not mandated so they could easily be taken away.
It’s harder to demand something that’s not mandated and patients will be the ones to suffer if we lose them. We need a guarantee that won’t happen.
Talking to nurses in other departments and hospitals without ratios, I just can’t believe the conditions they have to work under every day.
I went on strike to attend the rally in July. We were a very busy unit that day and it was very hard to step away from the bedside knowing that there weren’t a lot of people to cover. I was just very lucky I could represent our hospital – if we don’t take action things will never change.”
“Ratios are essential to patient safety.”
“I came to the rally because I want the community to know that nurse-to-patient ratios are essential for patient safety. We are nurses because we care and we really want to care for our patients in the right way. We need safe care for everybody, not just in the metro hospitals but also in regional New South Wales.
Privatisation is another big issue for me. Management have told us that when the new northern beaches hospital opens under a private operator, Mona Vale will be just a rehab centre – all acute patients will go to the new hospital.
Privatised health care will be more profit driven and more expensive. People who are chronically ill – like the aged at Mona Vale and Manly – will miss out because many can’t afford expensive health care. Most of my patients are not well off.
I feel our rally today is connected to a global movement because nurses around the world face similar problems. Everything is becoming money driven and care for people and the environment is disappearing. I used to work as an RN in the Philippines at a private hospital, mostly for wealthy people, so I know about the problems of privatised health care.”
“Inadequate staffing is a global issue.”
“As a former South African nurse I wanted to take part in this day of international action because I know that nurses in Australia and South Africa face similar battles. Inadequate staffing is an issue common to both countries.
In acute surgical we are fortunate to have got the 5.5 hours per patient day, so we are better off than other areas of Mona Vale Hospital that don’t have the ratios. I’m here at the rally for all nurses who are still fighting for ratios, and their patients.
We see a lot of patients from the country where ratios don’t apply. Our orthopaedic VMOs do clinics at Dubbo and Orange so if they can’t get surgical time there they bring patients to Mona Vale.
I feel very strongly that the Australian public is being hard done by privatising the public health system. Our new northern beaches hospital will be handed over to a private operator who will run it in the interests of their shareholders and the bottom line, not people’s welfare. They haven’t outlined how it’s going to work but it doesn’t look good for public patients.”