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Posted about 5 years ago
Am I stating the obvious?
I go to work, fourteen surgical patients. The nurse assistant called in sick and they couldn't find a replacement for the first four hours of my shift, and when they did, it was a first year student nurse.
I ask the cleaner to clean up some fresh vomit. "We don't clean up body fluids" was the reply. I tried to borrow her mop to clean it up myself. "You're not allowed to use my equipment, you're not trained. It's company rules" I then went to the cleaning cupboard to get some equipment, it was locked and the cleaner wouldn't open it for me. The equipment is owned by the company she works for. I ended up using a towel to clean to vomit up.
A patient slipped from his chair and I found him sitting on the floor, asleep. I tried to find a nurse to help me sit him up, but couldn't find one in the immediate area. I asked the cleaner to help me sit him up. "We're not trained to do that. It's against company policy." I became angry "I don't give a damn what your company policy is. Show some bloody compassion and get over here and help me." My appeal worked and we helped the patient up off the floor.
I walk into the emergency room and four nurses are permanent staff, while the other five are like me, agency plebs filling in. The thing is every night I work here the agency nurses outnumber the regular staff. I'm getting 30pound and hour while they're only getting ten. My agency gets another fifty pound an hour on top of my wages. Why don't they just double their own nurses wages, they'd be able to get more staff and still save money.
I watched Mr Smith die a little every day. His breakfast tray was always left out of reach. I'd come over from my side of the ward (I didn't have the time, but I did when I could) just to feed him. Every day he got weaker, more dehydrated. The infection spread throughout his lungs. He just stopped breathing one day. If he wasn't left in bed, or in a chair all the time. If there enough physical bodies to just get him going, I'm sure he would have made it.
Managers and government people are always trying to find ways to improve hospitals. They set goals, devise plans, install new systems, but they never work. We just need more bodies to do the basic work of a nurse, which is bloody well care.
Is anyone out there listening to what I say? I'm not the brightest or the most knowledgable, I just want a chance to be heard. I think I can make a difference.