Monday, June 11, 2012

Poor Treatment

I write this comment here - as it gives some idea of the way nurses are treated in distant regions.  I'm talking about Western Australia here, but I suspect that nurses in many remote places are not always treated with the care they should be.

Imagine this.  A contract for 10 days of night duty at a remote town.  Five nights on, two nights off, and five more nights on.  The nurse who went to help - the country hospital was desperate - lives 350 kms away from this town, and I might add is in her late 60's.  She's highly qualified and has been doing this sort of relief work for several years.  Hardly inexperienced.  In fact extremely highly qualified.

After completing five grueling nights of work, she came off duty expecting to get some rest and sleep! Only to be met by officialdom requesting she move out of the accommodation, as someone else was due to arrive.  What?  So where was her alternate accommodation?  Drive home for 350 kms?  After working all night?  It seems that it was somewhat a secret - certainly no one when she arrived at this outstation, that she was required to vacate for her two nights off.  And have a round trip of some 700 kms between her working nights.    After much argy-bargy, said nurse moved into the local caravan park.

The argument is still going on - the person responsible for the contract is unavailable - it is a weekend of course, so a bit more difficult.

The nurse is a good friend of mine - in fact we did our nursing training together in South Australia many years ago.  She often tells me of the treatment of staff and indeed patients in small country hospitals.  I find it astounding!

We will see where this ends - but instead of breaking the contract and heading home and leaving them in the lurch for the lat 5 nights she was contracted to do, she is staying, reluctantly of course as she is so hurt by this, she'd rather head home.

Normally she is provided with accommodation (and some of it rather challenging) for the time of the contract - from the start to the end.  No other hospital has required her to drive home hundreds of kilometers on off-duty periods.

Sad, but true.

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