Editorial | Why we need to support local nurses

NURSES are among the unsung heroes of our community. 

Like many frontline workers, they work when many of us don’t – through the nights while their families sleep, on Christmas and other public holidays when they’d rather share it with loved ones, and around the clock on shift work. 

Nurses help us through some of our darkest days. 

From administering urgent medical treatment at the hospital to doubling as a pillar of emotional support while others watch on, nurses are so vital to our healthcare system that it’s only fair we treat them with the respect that they deserve. 

This morning, Gunnedah nurses pounded the pavement in protest against the nurse-to-patient ratios, citing patient safety under current staffing levels.

The mounting campaign is calling on the state government to deliver vital nurse-to-patient ratios to the Gunnedah hospital. 

In 2011, the Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) secured ratios within the state award for medical, surgical and other specialty wards within metropolitan hospitals and only some regional sites. 

Gunnedah, like many other small communities, missed out. 

It has been six long years for NSWMNA, who has been lobbying to classify Gunnedah District Hospital in order to qualify for minimum, mandated nurse-to-patient ratios.

Gunnedah nurses deserve the same ratios as their metropolitan counterparts.

If nurses are run off their feet with more than their fair share of patients at one time, something will inevitably give. 

Gunnedah NSWMNA branch secretary Heather Franke says that is patient safety – and that is not good enough. 

“It’s not an unreasonable request in our view, we’re simply asking for a minimum which guarantees patient safety,” she said.

When we go to hospital, we expect the best care possible. 

And when nurses go to work, they give the best care possible. 

But often the two don’t marry up if there are not enough nursing hours per patients through the doors. 

Mrs Franke believes it’s about educating the community and getting their support to help lobby for ratios to be implemented in the future.​

Nurses deserve every bit of praise, recognition and support they can get.

The group is now calling on the community to throw its support behind the campaign.