‘Anxiety and fear among nursing staff must be addressed’ – Rogers
South Down SDLP MLA Seán Rogers has spoken of the mounting anxiety among frontline nursing staff who he said are feeling more and more isolated and under pressure from management; an issue which must be addressed.
Speaking ahead of a debate in the Assembly, Rogers said, “nursing staff go well beyond their contractual duties to make a patient’s stay in hospital as comfortable as possible.
“However, there is a mounting anxiety among nursing staff. Some are feeling swamped even before they start their shifts.
“They are increasingly worried about the challenge they face to provide adequate care for an increasing number of patients in beds or on trolleys in corridors. Nurses are working longer and taking fewer breaks in order to maintain the required level of care,” he insisted.
“Morale is very low; there is little job satisfaction but there comes a point when they just cannot stand the pressure.”
Rogers said to cope with the growing demand for nursing care within social care settings it is essential there is greater investment in well trained staff who have time and the expertise to give high quality, compassionate, and person centred care to the most vulnerable in our society.
The MLA said also referred to the lack of support from managers; and the pressure nurses face regarding sickness policy. “If a nurse is sick on three occasions exceeding seven days (short term sick leave) within one year, this is deemed as an unacceptable level of absence.
“Nurses are held accountable even when they are unwell. They are conscious that when unwell they are a source of infection to patients in their care. The sickness policy as implemented puts nurses under severe stress.”
“I will always remember the words of a quiet, unrepresented nurse who said, ‘we used to have a sense of support on the ward from management that has been replaced by fear and a sense of being alone’.
Rogers added, “The Health Minister must ensure these concerns are addressed. We have a superb nursing staff so let’s begin treating them as professional. The first step towards that is listening to our nursing staff.”
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