The pres­sure on nurses must be ad­dressed

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - OPINION - with Deb­o­rah Cole­man

I’M sure I wasn’t alone this week in my shock to learn that so far this year, 82,000 peo­ple were on trol­leys in emer­gency de­part­ments. We all hear the sto­ries of peo­ple ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tals which sim­ply don’t have a bed for them, and so they end up in a cor­ri­dor, of­ten with no idea when they will be prop­erly ac­com­mo­dated.

How­ever, I never dreamed that the fig­ures were this high.

Health­care ex­perts have claimed that we should be out on the streets protest­ing about the sit­u­a­tion which shows no sign of im­prove­ment.

Mean­while, med­i­cal staff and the nurses on the front­line in par­tic­u­lar are be­ing pushed to the brink ev­ery day of their work­ing lives.

Peo­ple talk about a ‘call­ing’ in life and truly be­ing a nurse is a vo­ca­tion. These peo­ple who are car­ing for peo­ple dur­ing the most vul­ner­a­ble and of­ten ter­ri­fy­ing time of their lives are un­der such pres­sure it is dif­fi­cult to see how they can sus­tain such a way of life with­out burn­ing out.

The over­crowd­ing is end­less, the de­mands of the job never ease and year af­ter year there are prom­ises that it will be bet­ter, but with a fig­ure of 82,000 peo­ple on trol­leys, long be­fore the year is even over - it is clear that change and im­prove­ment will take a gen­er­a­tion.

It is so frus­trat­ing that the en­tire sys­tem is creak­ing un­der the pres­sure. We have some of the best health­care pro­fes­sion­als in the world work­ing in our hos­pi­tals and yet they are al­most be­ing turned off the job they trained so hard to do, be­cause it is im­pact­ing on them in such a neg­a­tive way.

One nurse told his story this week of how he had to trans­fer to a dif­fer­ent role be­cause his fam­ily life was suf­fer­ing so much as a re­sult of his ca­reer.

He said that deep down he knew that there would not be any mean­ing­ful change.

Ev­ery job has its pres­sures and stresses but where many oth­ers can take a step back or share the work­load, nurses can­not tell a sick pa­tient that they can’t do some­thing for them, or de­cide that the de­mands be­ing made of them are un­fair -as it is the pa­tients they have pledged to care for who will ul­ti­mately suf­fer. Ap­par­ently we have fewer beds in the Irish hos­pi­tal sys­tem than we did in 1980, so when that it cou­pled with a pop­u­la­tion rise of over 30 per cent, there is no way that things can con­tinue the way they are and have pa­tients prop­erly treated.

Med­i­cal staff and nurses on the front­line are be­ing pushed to the brink ev­ery day of their work­ing lives.

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