“Hear our voice” - We need safer staffing and working conditions for New Zealand Nurses.

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Nurses are working in unsafe environments and with inadequate staffing levels.
In mental health, medical/surgical, community and aged care settings, there are not enough nurses to staff wards safely. Staff are continuously doing overtime and coming in on days off. New graduates being put in charge of acute wards. Low ratios of RNs to ENs make it difficult to oversee their work safely. This both masks the extent of the staffing crisis and places the nursing work force at serious risk of burnout. Many staff have left and more are considering going overseas. 

A lack of nurses means that patients may not receive the care they need, putting nurses at risk of making an error due to the workload pressure and puts nurses at higher risk of assault from unwell patients when there are not enough of them on the wards or to visit patients in pairs in the community.
Nurses have already been injured or assaulted in some fields: some have even received career-ending brain damage, broken bones, damaged backs and PTSD. Some nurses have shared accounts of assault in their stories, injury,  expressing the fear and anxiety they feel going into work each day, telling us that managers minimise these incidents, and the staffing crisis.
Nurses are afraid that someone will be seriously injured before meaningful change happens.

Solutions:

A pay increase that adequately reflects Enrolled nurses and Registered Nurses level of education, knowledge, skills, competence, and experience. A much needed pay increase, with more steps for progression will attract and retains staff, so we do not lose any more of our experienced nurses and have an unsafe staff mix on the floor. 


Ongoing professional training for staff to actually enable them to deal with crisis situations in a way that promotes and manages both patient and staff safety. 
More access to security guards who can  intervene when a situation arises without needing direction from the senior RN.

Acknowledgment of nurses’ rights to a safe working environment. An outline of what nurses on the floor should be expected to tolerate and manage in a shift. An environment where nurses feel able to seek that charges be pressed against those who assault them or threaten there safety. 

This petition has been created by Nurse Florence, administrators of the ‘New Zealand Hear our Voices’ page on Facebook - stories and experiences from Registered and Enrolled nurses working in New Zealand.
Check out the page and hear our voices.



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