Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Crazy times indeed.

Well, I've just survived another night shift, one which leaves a lot to be desired.

Staff off sick and not replaced yet again. Multiple admissions of women in various degrees of labour. Unwell women requiring higher acuity care than we can provide.

It's a sad case indeed when you leave work for home in the bright morning sunshine feeling guilty because you know women have been left feeling unsupported, when you know that what you do with said women is not enough. Yes, we have excuses..(ie. not enough staff to go round etc.), but it still doesn't detract from the fundamental issue that our staffing is left to the Gods sometimes.

Our staffing at the commencement of each shift should include the what-ifs, not left to the "well, you only have so many women here...you won't get busy".

How many times have we heard that...how many times have we worked without a break because of that statement, how many times have staff been reduced to tears because of those excessive workloads and demands. It is very difficult to not become emotional in retrospect.

At the time, I just put my head down and work, work, work. I cringe at night when the phone ring indicates an incoming call from outside, cos you can bet your bottom dollar that at 2am. in the morning, the phone call will always be someone in labour, or with ruptured membranes, or more serious issues that need to be addressed immediately.

The shining lights in this miasma are the people I work with. I am fortunate that the vast majority of my colleagues are very supportive during such times and are very flexible with their ever changing work roles as the pace moves quicker and quicker. Regardless of age, experience and years of being a midwife, they intrinsically understand and appreciate the pressure to perform and are always obliging.

Is there an answer? Is there a solution to the problem? There are ways of addressing the issues before the shift commences which I have already stated.

Perhaps our management need to listen to those at the coal face more and respect our need for support, so that these times do not happen.

I know my job is an unpredictable one, and we will always have blow-outs as well as times when we are left to ponder our navels!

.All I am asking for is enough staff to prepare for and deal with those crazy times when they happen, so that those feelings of incompleteness and regret don't get the opportunity to emerge as we leave.


  1. Hmm, another night at the coal face, and it seems it never gets better for you all..?? We all know the solution, more money, nurses, beds, support and more money... That's nirvana though isn't it, not gonna happen....

  2. I hear the same things from a nursing friend of mine. And...I hear it from my son who is a correctional officer. These persist because of budgets being cut, and God forbid that someone higher up have to sacrifice anything to help.


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