Only two nurses are on duty at Finley Hospital at any one time, and the nurse to patient ratio must be improved.
That is the message that will be delivered at a rally in Diggers Park next to Finley Hospital this morning from 10am.
The rally has been called in support of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association campaign to improve ratios, particularly as the NSW Government election in March looms closer.
Finley branch secretary and Finley Hospital nurse Chloe Butterfield said repairing the ratios could assist with recruitment of nurses to Finley, which she said is the biggest issue for the local hospital.
‘‘We don’t have enough nurses, but that’s happening across the board and not just at Finley,’’ Mrs Butterfield said.
‘‘We are a 16 bed hospital and on a regular basis we can have 12 patients admitted.
‘‘On a shift we only have two nurses — one RN (registered nurse) and one EN (enrolled nurse).
‘‘If the RN is called to emergency you’re left with just one EN (on the ward).
‘‘We are still working through the numbers for the exact ratio we need at Finley, but we at least need one more RN on every shift.
‘‘We also want a one in three ratio for the emergency department.’’
Mrs Butterfield said the rally has been organised to not only gain support for improved nurse to patient ratios, but to educate the community on the conditions local nurses are working under.
‘‘Simply put, if we don’t have the staff we can’t get to our patients in time,’’ Mrs Butterfield said.
‘‘And we’re not just talking about the big stuff. If we have four patients needing a lift, we might not be able to get to them in time to even help them get to the toilet. ‘‘We can’t do bloods or medicines. ‘‘Most people in this community see what we do, but they don’t always see what we’re working through behind the scenes. ‘‘We all do the best we can do.’’ Deniliquin NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association branch secretary Rhonda Dixon said a challenge has been issued to all candidates for the NSW election, especially those standing in the local seat of Murray, to officially pledge support to the association’s nurse to patient ratios.
She said Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Murray candidate Helen Dalton has already made her pledge.
Mrs Dalton is expected to attend the Finley rally this morning, and then a similar rally at Deniliquin Hospital at 2.30pm today.
Ms Dixon said while the association has made many attempts to have nurse to patient ratios improved over several years, members are more hopeful of a change in this election year.