‘Welcome to a nurse’s world’

 

A chara, – Reading the article “Welcome to a nurse’s world: 14 hours a day. ¤14 an hour. Panic” (February 18th) was like reading an extract from my daily working life.

I wish I could assure the public that the article was exaggerated for maximum impact; however, it reflected the stark reality that faces nurses in this country everyday.

Nurses work themselves to the bone, day in and day out, only to go home and feel a wave of guilt and shame at not having looked after their patients fully that day. Nurses have an added anxiety of knowing they could be struck off and lose their entire careers for making a mistake or not completing paperwork, despite the pressure and appalling conditions in which they work.

Having an overloaded patient workload is never an excuse for mistakes in the eyes of HSE management. For these reasons, nurses suffer physically and mentally for years until it becomes unbearable and they leave for another country, another job, or just leave the career altogether. The HSE is charged with the health of the nation, but how can we trust it with that when it puts its own staff at such risk? – Yours, etc,

SARAH CURRAN,

Donaghmede,

Dublin 13.

Sir, – I think it is shameful how nurses are exploited by their employer. Shifts of 14 hours are wrong, but nurses are not the only health professionals being exploited by the HSE.

Non-consultant hospital doctors are treated even more unfairly, having to work 24-hour shifts, and hospital interns’ gross pay is just €600 per week for working approximately 45 hours, which amounts to just €13 per hour. They are in some cases required to work 100 hours per week. The Organisation of Working Time Act, stipulating at least 11 hours of rest in every 24 hours, for some very strange reason does not apply to them, and neither does the maximum working week of 48 hours, which applies to all other employees. They receive little or no media coverage compared to nurses. – Yours, etc,

M DERMODY,

Newbridge,

Co Kildare.