Monday, 19th February 2018
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With Breda Gardner Homeopath, lcph, mcos, rgn

Health Therapies Clinic

13 Gladstone Street, Waterford.

Tel: 087 2025753.

Insight Natural Health Clinic

15 Upper Patrick St, Kilkenny

Tel: 056 7724429

Respect our nurses

Regular readers will know that in the past I worked as a nurse. I trained at Jervis Street in Dublin, and worked in hospitals in Ireland, the UK, America and the Middle East. I still work in health, as a complementary practitioner and a representative on the South East Health Forum.

Last weekend, I met up with three of my old nursing buddies from way back for a break in Dublin, to chat and catch up on the news. My friends had come from Galway, Kildare and Kilkenny. We laughed, we cried, and we talked seriously and lightheartedly about all the issues in our lives and in Ireland. One of the things we talked about was the working conditions in hospitals. One of my friends, who is still a nurse, said that things were so bad in her hospital on New Year’s Day that the nurses there were on the verge of walking out. But due to their loyalty and sense of duty to the patients, they decided to carry on. Management, naturally and unsurprisingly, were conspicuous by their absence.

My friend started work at 8am, finally managed to grab a 15 minute break at 3pm, and that was it till she finished her shift at 9pm. The pressure on her and her fellow nurses that day was almost unbearable: overcrowding on trolleys, too few staff, lack of

management, no breaks and so on. Some of the overseas nurses struggle with English, and my friend had to cover and translate for their patients. She was working on the medicines trolley and is not supposed to leave it, but on occasion due to the severe staff shortages, she had no option but to help out with patients who were in desperate need of care.

Much of the management, especially at the higher levels, is completely inept: poor or no planning, zero accountability, deficient staff policies (like using expensive agency nurses whilst in-house skills are ignored), and bad communication - these factors are just the start of it!

All things considered, our nurses do a fantastic job in the most challenging of circumstances, and my friend said that most patients and the general public really appreciate what they do. But unbelievably, she also said that there a few people for whom nothing was good enough, no matter what the nurses did. As professionals, of course, the nurses bite their lips, say nothing and remain kind and courteous. But it beggars belief that anyone would think that the problems in the health service lies with the nurses in the front line!

So next time you meet a nurse in the hospital, there is one word that you should have for them. That word is RESPECT. We at least as members of the public can give the nurses the admiration, esteem and respect they so richly deserve. And our fat cat TD’s, instead of awarding themselves pay rises and double pensions, need to start recruiting more nurses and pay them a decent wage.

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