Fight for nurses who give so much

Deeply impressed: John Everitt, lost in admiration for the dedication of Coffs Harbour’s hospital nurses.
Deeply impressed: John Everitt, lost in admiration for the dedication of Coffs Harbour’s hospital nurses. Trevor Veale

JOHN Everitt says hospital nurses need their patients to fight alongside them for more staff.

Mr Everitt spent most of April in Coffs Harbour Base Hospital’s high dependency unit and surgical wards recovering from a hip replacement and a series of complications which followed.

As he battled blood clots in his lungs and in his hip; being revived twice after his vital signs “flat-lined” and being connected to a range of medical machines, Mr Everitt had plenty of time to watch his nurses at work.

He remains deeply impressed by what he saw.

“The nurses were working so many, many hours and none of them complained once,” he said.

“I would ask ‘shouldn’t you be going home?’ and they would say ‘I should have been off two hours ago but there is no one to take my place’. They give up their home life to keep the place going for the sake of the community – none of them worked under 10 or 12 hours a day; 99 per cent of them were married with kids and it’s not fair they are so short-staffed.

“The administration people sitting outside my door were talking about where they were going to put the flower pots on the counter.

“A nurse wanted to use a drug because it would be better for the patient and an administration person said ‘you can’t use it – it’s too dear’.

“My wife came in and helped make my bed and shower me to give the girls a break.

“They are not allowed to talk to the media or they might lose their job so the patients have to speak up for them.”

Sixty-year-old Mr Everitt says his nurses joined forces to make sure he pulled through.

Mr Everitt, who was in the same hospital for a knee replacement seven years ago and a second knee replacement two years ago, said he was alarmed by the deterioration in nursing numbers and in the time allowed to look after patients.

“The care is still there, but it is stretched to the limit.”

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