Day 17 of the Yes We Care roadshow saw us passing through Thames and Hamilton as we continue our tour north. We’re in the last week of the roadshow and the workload isn’t easing up, we’re still getting requests from individuals and groups to come and make a stop in their town. It’s great to see and hear that people are connecting with what we’re doing. But at the same time, it’s heart-wrenching knowing that it’s because of unmet need that people are reaching out to us.
In Hamilton I spoke to an extremely brave nurse Jan, who was at the end of her tether. She has worked in the same unit for 20 years, and has never seen it so bad. Chronic understaffing and lack of funding has meant that nurses missing out on breaks, unable to go to the bathroom, no time to stop for a drink, and breaking down into tears has become the new normal. This is a shocking and damning reflection of what people who work in health have to undergo on a day today basis, in order to provide for those in their care.
Another staff member I spoke to who didn’t want to be named, had just finished a shift where there were 6 nurses on, but only 1 was permanently employed on that ward. The rest were made up of bureau and agency nurses. To make matters worse, there was also a full contingent of students who were being preceptored by nurses who don’t normally work on that ward. What kind of example is being set for our future workforce, when what they are seeing is a workforce that is barely coping with their workload.
It’s so important that people speak out about these issues, otherwise they will just continue in the shadows. No change has ever happened without noise being made, and we need to make a cacophony. We deserve to do this for ourselves as people who work in health, but especially, we need to do it for our patients. If you have a story, share it with us at YesWeCare.nz/share-your-story