‘Our families miss us’
Not only are more patients presenting at our hospitals and our wards and with more pre-existing comorbidities, but more are also acutely unwell. Yet we deal with constant reminders that we are “fully staffed” and gaslit with promises of brighter days.
Yet here we are. We are pushed to:
- discharge patients to clear our overflowing emergency departments
- discharge enough patients in time for the day’s elective surgery lists
- quickly move patients who have passed to the morgue, to bring in the next
- attend more mandatory education, but expected to squeeze it into our busy shifts, or worse, in our own personal time
- attend to follow-up phones calls, yet we struggle to give patients personal care.
And if that’s not bad enough, we are harassed daily with calls, messages, and requests for extra or overtime shifts.
Our rostered days off are no longer ours to enjoy, as our personal phones are bombarded with messages of deficits and pleas to assist.
We are called in early and asked to stay late. We are cornered in the hallways to swap shifts, only to see a message that they now need to cover the shift you swapped.
Our kids are going to bed without us. We are missing their lives. Our days off are playing catch-up on housework that was left undone as we ran out the door a few hours earlier than rostered. Or was not done as we slept because we didn’t return home until the morning, after our afternoon shift turned into an 18-hour overnighter.
We squeeze in a catch-up with loved ones here or there. Our social lives no longer fit within our work lives. The balance between life and work has tipped to the latter. Our families miss us.
We lose ourselves as we give more and more of our time.
Our bank accounts don’t show how hard we work, as after so much overtime the government reaches in and takes it back in taxes. All we have to show for our efforts are bags under our eyes, the aches of walking halls for days on end, the hunched shoulders from the weight of unfinished tasks, and the reminders of all the time we have lost.
And yet we are told we are coping.
We are told we are fully staffed and not working short.
We are treated as though we are replaceable, as no incentives are provided to keep staff.
We shoulder the mental load of an underfunded, out of touch, broken system.
Jasmine Moore, EN