Making our voices heard is how we win
There were tears in my eyes as I stood against the tree outside Wyong Hospital during the recent strike, joining in the chants about ratios: “Four on the floor! Three in ED!” while listening to the honks of the horns from the community as they drive by.
The issue of safe staffing ratios is so important.
The emotional stress is a killer for nurses, as well as the impact on our patients. We are simply too busy with the current ratios.
Looking around me I notice I am the only old nurse here. So many older nurses have gone.
I reminisce about standing outside Bankstown Hospital with a placard shouting “Pay nurses a living wage!” during the strikes in the ’80s. I remember how poorly paid we were then. I had been paid more as a teenager taking phone orders at a liquor company in the ’70s.
The camaraderie and support from the community was amazing.
I think of all the improvements nurses have brought about by being proactive and making our voices heard. Wins like maternity leave, patient-centred care, and the no-lift policy especially.
We need to get the community behind us now! Get out there! Let them know that because of these ratios the nurses are overwhelmed. Take the fight to the people and they will support us as they have before.
Politicians react to voter pressure and this creates results. Nurses unite and fight for our ratio right!
Gail Rollinson, RN