Nursing staff face poor pay, chronic understaffing and an ever-increasing workload.
Nursing staff are left feeling “demoralised and disrespected” by the ever-increasing pressure on the profession.
In a series of Tweets last night Pat Cullen, trade unionist and the recently appointed Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), outlined the stark issues facing the profession.
Poor pay, chronic understaffing and an ever-increasing pressure on healthcare services were among the issues she highlighted.
The RCN opened its consultation with members yesterday on if it should take further action following a recent “shambolic” 3% pay award.
In stark contrast, the union has been calling for a 12.5% single-year pay rise since July 2020 after a decade of real-terms pay cuts for the profession. Ms Cullen led RCN members in Northern Ireland to the picket lines in 2019 in a successful bid for pay parity.
Recent research suggests that nursing staff are completely burned out after mental health-related absences hit all-time high.
Do the decent thing.
Ms Cullen said; “Tonight I was honoured to be amongst our nursing members in NI again. The very same nurses who fought hard for patients and the health service in 2019\20.
“Tonight I heard you as your General Secretary & Chief Executive just as I did as your director in 2019/20.
“I heard how you struggle every day to care for your patients with depleted staffing levels. I heard how you struggle with your colleagues leaving the profession because of the pressures. I heard how you feel patients are let down by low staffing levels [and years] on waiting lists.
“I heard how you feel demoralised and disrespected when it’s said you work extra shifts because you want a few extra pounds, instead of the honest answer being you are doing it because you need to care for your patients & pay your bills.
Ms Cullen went on to urge those with influence and responsibility to “do the decent thing” and “Pay them a decent wage. Don’t push them out of the profession.”