To the editor,
I have just completed a 12-hour shift at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. The hospital is critically short of nurses, health-care aides, and unit clerks.
Today I was responsible for eight patients, twice the patient load considered safe and efficient. I also had a stream of abusive relatives who were criticizing, complaining, and threatening.
I am close to retirement. I have nursed for 35 years at four different hospitals. I have never seen the wards so chaotic. This health-care crisis has been predicted for decades. Some blame politicians, government, or health-care executives. The truth is probably more complex. Vancouver Island is a retirement community, and Canada has an aging population.
Nanaimo is an out-of-date hospital built in the early 1960s. The facility runs daily at over-capacity. In addition to all the regular beds, patients are in lounges, alcoves, and hallways.
Hospital staff face problems daily dealing with challenging patients with dementia and drug-addiction issues. Almost all nursing staff have been cursed at, slapped, and punched by patients. Exhausted staff do not need the added burden of abusive relatives.
Perhaps visiting relatives could help by bathing, shaving, and walking with their loved ones. A word of thanks to the staff would go a long way.
Like most health-care staff, I am very happy to work hard to care for my patients. But a bit of kindness and appreciation from patients’ families and friends would be greatly appreciated.
Eileen Miller, Nanaimo
The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin.
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Mail: Letters, Nanaimo News Bulletin, 777 Poplar St., Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 2H7