Paediatric nurses plead for safe ratios

A small group of paediatric nurses from Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick gathered in their own time and called on the NSW government to introduce safe nurse-to-patient ratios into paediatric wards across the state.

With emergency department attendances and admissions to Sydney Children’s Hospital on the rise, NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) members fear nurses are struggling to care for infants or children safely, and need a ratio of one nurse to every three patients.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Shaye Candish, said infants and young children were some of the most vulnerable patients, who often cannot communicate what is wrong and do require specialised care.

“Our members at Sydney Children’s Hospital are highly skilled clinicians. They want to be able to deliver safe and effective care to paediatric patients coming through the emergency department doors and onto their wards,” said Ms Candish.

“It is not safe to have sick kids and their families waiting for extended periods to start treatment given how quickly they can deteriorate.

“Adequate and regular observations are fundamental in paediatric nursing, yet we know this is diminished every time a shift is understaffed.

“To deliver the best health outcomes for sick infants and young children, we need the NSW government to ensure working conditions inside paediatric EDs and wards are safe for nurses, and there is adequate support for early career paediatric nurses developing their clinical scope.”

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