Safety at work remains a serious issue for nurses and midwives
The results from a recent survey conducted by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) have highlighted significant concerns from nurses and midwives around workplace safety and understaffing.
Over 1,850 NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) members filled out the Work Shouldn’t Hurt work health and safety survey. In the past 12 months:
- 97% have experienced stress at work
- 90% skip rest breaks they are entitled to
- 75% work unsafe hours
- 60% perform work in an unsafe work environment
- 88% have experienced traumatic events, distressing situations or distressed or aggressive clients/customers
When asked what affected their ability to perform their work safely:
- 89% did not have enough staff
- 78% did not have enough time
- 67% cited a lack of realistic demands or targets
- 66% cited a lack of sufficient support
- 69% did not receive appropriate recognition and reward
NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, concedes ongoing incidences of violence, excessive workloads and fatigue continue to impact nursing staff.
“Nurses and midwives are highly regarded community members, they deserve better and serious improvements must be introduced – no one should feel unsafe in the workplace,” said Mr Holmes.
Mr Holmes also points to ongoing widespread staff shortages being compounded by COVID-19 pandemic fatigue.
“Our members have done the hard yards in extremely tough circumstances and there’s still a way to go, but the best way forward is to deliver statewide nurse-to-patient ratios.”
The NSWNMA has repeatedly called on the NSW Government to prioritise the health and wellbeing of all nurses and midwives by introducing nurse-to-patient ratios on every shift, in every ward across the state.
“The NSW Government must listen to nurses and midwives on the frontline and not ignore the fact Queensland, Victoria and Canberra all have ratios. We need a better health system in NSW and to achieve that, you need more staff.”