Short staffing takes its toll

Janette Meakin RN Figtree Private Hospital ICU and NSWNMA branch secretary

“In this enterprise agreement the big issue for me is improving staffing. The number of staff you have affects the emotional wellbeing and safety of both staff and patients.

Figtree staff all work really hard but when you’re time poor, mistakes can be made. If nurses do not have enough time to take their breaks they can’t look after themselves and their patients as well as they would like. That eventually takes its toll on staff health and morale.

Improved staffing levels would have flow on benefits across the board – including for the hospital’s budget.

Inadequate staffing might look like a cost saver in the short term but in the long term it hurts the business.

When nurses get so busy and stressed that they get sick it costs the company more, because it has to pay overtime and find relief staff.

We have to work together with the company to find some happy medium and come to an agreement for everyone’s benefit.

In the current enterprise negotiations I think the union is making as powerful a case as it can.

It would make it easier if more people joined the union and we had a stronger collective voice.”