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"This Is Why I'm Striking" - An Honest Letter From An Overworked Nurse

By Darragh Berry

January 28, 2019 at 5:31pm

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We were sent this by an anonymous reader who is a nurse at one of the country's biggest hospitals.

This person will be striking on Wednesday, January 30 and here's why:

"I feel it's necessary to strike due to the poor conditions that are occurring every day across all the hospitals in Ireland.

"Due to staff shortages, we have to take on more work. Often, they're won't be anyone to cover if there's sick leave and that.

"I work on an acute surgical ward in one of the biggest hospitals in Ireland and there could be two of us looking after 11 patients - some post surgery and some often acutely unwell and it's not enough.

"It's very hard walking in every day and having to apologise for the problems that exist in our health system.

"And it's harder to know that even though you're trying, you're not giving the best patient care because there simply isn't enough staff and enough time.

"This also results in staff not being able to take their annual leave because the ward would be left short. So you're also making sacrifices in your personal life.

"Varadkar insinuated before Christmas that we shouldn't be granted or ask for holidays during the Christmas period.

"Which - if he actually knew how the wards were run - we can't apply for anyway, it's luck of the draw.

"We either work Christmas or New Year's or in between. This year I came straight off nights and worked Christmas Eve and Stephen's Day just so I could have time with my family on Christmas Day, even if it was short-lived.

"Many nights, it could be an hour later than it should be before I actually walk off the ward.

"And even still, I could be up half the night worrying that I haven't done everything.

"I knew when I applied to be a nurse that it wouldn't be a walk in the park but everyday is like fighting a battle.

"For example, like trying to get an extra nurse for just an hour is nearly impossible.

"So often, we just have to try and get on with it."

"I'm just over a year qualified and out of my class of about 60, over 20 of those have gone abroad or left the profession entirely.

"I see younger nurses on the ward still in training who just want to get their final year in college over with so that they can leave.

"They're finished with the working conditions here before they've even started.

"I would rather if we didn't have to strike. No nurse wants the strike to go ahead because it will affect the patients and at the end of the day, their care is our priority.

"But, we've been left with no choice. Time and time again we've just been left down. And even with the strike we still don't know if we'll be heard."

"The best outcome we can hope for from this strike is that the pay restoration is granted in order to retain the nurses we already have in this country and hopefully entice those working abroad to come back home.

"I don't care about extra pay in my payslip. I care about patients getting proper quality care, I want to be able to work in conditions that are safe where every day I don't worry that my registration is on the line.

"And that is why I'm striking."

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