NURSE Tanya Rogers’ eyes fill with tears as she talks about the incredible stress her and her team are put under on the wards of Manilla District Hospital.
As a Multi-Purpose Service, the hospital is not bound by patient to staff ratios, leaving nurses buried under the weight of impossible expectations.
“We try and prioritise all the jobs we have at hand, time management is a massive thing when you’re short-staffed and the amount of apologies we give out that we shouldn’t have to is massive,” Ms Rogers said.
“It feels like you’re not doing your job properly, you feel inadequate.”
The nurses will rally to demand mandated patient-to-staff ratios to deal with the high demand at the rural health service – one nurse was made to work a triple shift with a short break, that’s 20 hours out of 24.
And it’s not just the nurses who suffer, Ms Rogers said patients are taking medications and being put to bed late.
Hunter New England Health is continuing recruitment efforts for additional nursing staff, a spokeswoman said.
“We are disappointed at the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association claims given our efforts to engage staff locally in an agreed process,” she said.
“Unfortunately, attempts by HNEH to meet with the NSWNMA to discuss their concerns have been unsuccessful.
“The NSWNMA rejected our proposal to provide additional nursing resources whilst their concerns are investigated, we will continue to make all efforts to engage with representatives.”
The Award the hospital is staffed under allows nurse unit managers to allocate nursing hours depending on need and was agreed to by the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association in 2011.
The rally is at Manilla Post Office, Saturday 10am.