Nurses and midwives had one goal as they went on a 24 hour strike across NSW: to save lives. The strike began Wednesday and ended 7am Thursday morning.
Wollongong nurse Bianca Vergouw shared her experience of working in the ICU at one of the many rallies across the state.
“I am sick and tired of leaving every shift feeling like I’ve missed things, I’m sick of deciding who gets the care first and it’s crushing my soul,” she said.
Perrottet Government ignores crisis in NSW hospitals
It was the fourth time this year nurses and midwives took to the streets in protest. The NSW government has continued to ignore their calls for safe staffing, better working conditions and fair pay.
Understaffing is rife across public hospitals in NSW. Workloads have stacked up to astronomical levels and yet there is less support for workers.
There are simply not enough nurses or midwives being rostered on each shift, resulting in workplace fatigue and dangerous workplace conditions.
One nurse described how they made themself a promise at the beginning of their career: they “wouldn’t let anyone die alone.”
“Unfortunately, I was called away before [the patient] died. I ask my patients and their families to trust me, when they are at their most vulnerable so I can care for them effectively. My promise to them was broken and it still haunts me,” the nurse said.
“What if this was my family? We need safe staffing so that this doesn’t happen.”
The path to positive change
We know ratios work. Since Queensland implemented minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in selected hospitals in 2016, 185 lives have been saved.
Victoria, Queensland and the ACT have made ratios law. For the sake of patients and workers, NSW must too.
Those states don’t have those laws by accident. The came about because of union members’ persistence and strength.
If you want to see change in your workplace, being in a union is the best way to make it happen.
That means better wages than non-union members, the workplace conditions you deserve and support standing by if anything goes wrong.