The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) has been overwhelmed with feedback from nurses nationally expressing their fears and sharing their levels of exhaustion and stress in response to current pandemic.
“ACN is asking the Australian Government, State and Territory Governments, and all who employ nurses, our biggest healthcare workforce, to think about what they can do to protect and support nurses,” said Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN, Chief Executive Officer of ACN.
“I’m hearing directly from nurses that they are working double-shifts without a break because there aren’t enough nurses. I’ve heard today from one nurse who has worked 12 days straight without a break. Another ED nurse told me that even though they are used to verbal and physical abuse on a daily basis, it is escalating into a perfect storm. There are nurses working alone trying to care for and protect their aged care residents. Other nurses are going to work while supporting family members at home with COVID or who are immunosuppressed or vulnerable. I’ve even heard from nurses who have COVID and are still being asked to go to work.
Nurses are at breaking point. They feel unheard and unsupported. What are Government’s doing to help our biggest national healthcare profession? What happens in the coming weeks when we know the pandemic is going to get worse, not better? What’s the plan to support nurses because they need to hear about it now” continued Adjunct Professor Ward.
The Australian College of Nursing is calling on the Australian Government and the States and Territories to address the escalating verbal and physical abuse being experienced by nurses and to prioritise the mental health of nurses in all sectors – primary care, hospitals and EDs, aged care and mental health – to ensure there is a healthy and supported nursing workforce to care for all Australians in the months ahead.