Regions nursing falls into crisis
OUR NURSES are doing it so tough they are dropping out of training and even out of their jobs, plunging the profession into a crisis that is endangering patients’ lives.
That’s the grim message from the region’s Qld Nurses Union organiser, Vicki Smyth, and Associate Professor Trudy Yuginovich who trains our nursing students at the University of Southern Qld’s Fraser Coast campus.
“We need better respect from the bosses. We need more money in line with the increase in population and more spending accountability across the health system, but particularly in privately-run aged care,” Ms Smyth said. “And we need to know what the government is doing to stem the flow of nurses leaving before they graduate and even when they’re working in the system.
“By 2014 Queensland will be 1400 nurses short of what the population will need. There are nowhere near enough trainees in Queensland and of those that start nowhere near as many actually finish.”
“We could train many more nurses on our campus here,” Ms Yuginovich said. “But we have to limit the numbers because government funding restricts clinical placements during training and job placements when our nurses graduate.
“We have to send our students everywhere in Queensland so they can do their practical training. We spend our life in here begging for institutions to take them.
“Queensland Health is very supportive but you can only put so many pegs into a box. Only money will fix it, giving hospitals more staff so they can take in more students.
“This year I’ll be graduating 56 students. Twelve of those will get jobs within Fraser Coast Health. The majority will have to leave town and often those are mature age graduates who are also single parents.
“Imagine then how even more difficult it is for them to juggle their children while they have to go to places like Mt Isa, Mornington Island, Toowoomba and Cherbourg to do their clinical placements covering 840 hours in their three years training.”
Nurses say the government’s budget does not increase even though health prevention rather than cure strategies are introduced like bowel screen and women’s health programs.
“General services are then utilised, including nursing, but there’s not enough money to accommodate those services,” Ms Smyth said.
“A large amount of money is spent outsourcing public patients to private facilities when public sessions are left vacant and staff and consumables are available.
“With more money we could increase those sessions and our hours to accommodate patients.”
‘We need better respect from the bosses’