Nurses are under so much pressure at work at the moment due to increasing workloads and continual understaffing that it is not uncommon for them to need to undergo an ECG during a shift to ensure that the stress symptoms they are experiencing are not as a result of a heart attack.
Mary Leahy of the Galway Branch made this claim while speaking on a motion at the annual delegate conference in Kilkenny that called on the HSE to honour the provisions of its own health and safety statements in addition to seeking an “immediate plan of action which prioritises the welfare, health and safety of all nurses and midwives at work”.
Ms Leahy said: “It is not unusual nowadays to see colleagues have an ECG done at work. The amount of nurses suf fer ing palpi tat ions is shocking.”
In the case of community nurses, many of whom cover a wide geographical location and therefore spend a significant amount of time on the road, Ms Leahy said that due to overwork it was not unusual for colleagues “to arrive at a patient’s house with no recollection of the journey because of the constant pressure, thinking about the patient you’ve just seen and the patient you are about to see.” The implication being that this level of distraction makes them a danger to themselves and other road users.
|Executive Council and Galway Branch member Mary Leahy called for immediate action by the HSE to prioritise the health and safety of nurses in the workforce|
Also addressing a motion that called for the HSE to honour the health and safety provisions it imposes on other employers, INMO vice president Geraldine Talty reminded the State body that it had a duty of care to nurses and midwives as employees.
“The HSE must provide safe working environments for us. The Health and Safety Act imposes a primary duty on any employer to ensure that workers are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from their work. This extends to ensuring the emotional and mental health of all of us.”
Ms Talty asked how nurses and midwives could have endured the increase in workload, increase in expected productivity and stress of the past few years without facing health implications as a result, and warned that an unsafe work environment for health service staff imposed a risk to patients.
|ADC - ‘Stressed out’ nurses have ECGs at work|