“We are heroes, but we are treated as zeros,” a New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association nurse said at their fourth strike this year on November 23.
The strike drew support from across NSW.
“It’s obvious that nothing is happening,” Taliyah, from Shellharbour Hospital, said.
“We have had no commitment from the government to do anything about our staffing whatsoever. There is evidence from Victoria and Queensland that safe staffing really, really works. Why can’t we do it here?”
”Every day I walk out of the emergency department and I know that I have not been able to do my best … and I am almost in tears at the end of every shift because I know that I just cannot provide the best to our patients,” another said.
“When it is understaffed, like everywhere else, you just question why you are doing nursing,” Tash from Hornby Ku-ring-gai Hospital said.
“We don’t have enough midwives to look after the amount of babies and mothers that we have that need higher care these days,” another said. “Some midwives can look after up to 10 mums and 10 babies per shift — which is way too many for safe care.”
“The fact that we do not have ratios leaves us vulnerable,” another said.
“It is not safe at all,” another said. “We are really putting peoples’ lives at risk, and it’s on us at the end of the day. It’s our registration at the end of the day and we are just sick to death of it.”
“The government wants to run the hospital system on as little money as it can by exhausting and burning out our nurses and midwives,” another said.
“You look at history and wins for better conditions, it takes a solid campaign and a solid commitment. We need to keep going and we will win,” another said.
Many of the placards carried included the demand: “Ratios save lives."
Others spelt it out: “1:2 in HDU [high dependency unit], 1:3 in ED [emergency departments], 1:4 on the floor”.