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After 23 Years of Nursing, I've Had Enough. I Quit! - News - Nurses Arena Forum

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After 23 Years of Nursing, I've Had Enough. I Quit! by katty : July 13, 2018, 03:04:32 PM
"Nursing has been my life-long passion but this is not what I signed up for. I quit."


I have been a registered nurse for 23 years and have now made the decision to change careers. I graduated in the mid-90s, when there were resources available to provide good nursing care. Up until recently I have been actively involved in the union movement for nurses, so was privy to a lot of information.



Today, our health system is broken. Our hospitals are literally rotting away. Care rationing is common, and when nurses voice concerns, we are told there is no more money, and to make do with what is available. When things go wrong, it is never management that accepts responsibility, instead individual nurses get thrown under the bus and face disciplinary action from the Nursing Council.

Aged care is mostly in the hands of large companies whose main goal is to pander to their shareholders, and looking after the people in their care is only the second priority. A good indicator of this is how many aged care providers are listed on the stock exchange.

Perhaps you are familiar with the Ministry of Health guidelines on safe staffing in aged care, published in 2005. Bear in mind these are guidelines only, and there is no legislation mandating a minimum safe staffing level. No aged care provider has voluntarily increased staffing levels to help the elderly maintain a good quality of life, because of the cost involved.

Aged care residents back in 2005 were very different from those today. As medicine has advanced, people are living longer and presenting with greater needs. It would be logical to move with the time and make resources available to deal with this. It hasn't happened.

A review of the guidelines is part of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation's (NZNO) priorities for the current government, but has not been actioned yet. Even if this process were to commence today, it would take years before any changes could be made.

The Nursing Council's stance is not helpful either. Many nurses are afraid. We are required to maintain a portfolio, demonstrating on-going development, and this portfolio can be audited at any time.

Part of this professional development is undertaking a certain amount of hours of education. This is difficult if you are working full-time, have a family and your employer is unable to release you or pay for your time due to lack of staff and funding.

That, however, is never the concern of the Nursing Council or the employer - that is all the nurse's responsibility.

Nursing and taking care of people has been my life-long passion, and is all I have ever done, but this is not what I signed up for.

I quit.

Perhaps when (if) the focus of health care is on people instead of money, I may consider returning to nursing.

By Anonymous
This article first appeared on Stuff.co.nz on 13/07/2018

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