I’ve been captivated by this movement of voices, but to me the message has been the same in all that you write. A nurse is born a nurse, they have that little sparkle in their eye that’s somehow different. A nurse sees the world of caring for someone as something that just comes naturally, no bother, I’ll be there for you no matter what. Well it’s the ‘no matter what’  that concerns me the most as I watch the sparkle getting dimmer in what were bright beautiful eyes of a nurse.

As a teenager full of hopes and dreams – seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses and believing in the careers’ office brochure – off she went. Studied hard, worked hard and played hard, until the hard reality came right up and slapped her in the face.

Now working in the unrelenting acute inpatients ward within mental health, she does her job ‘no matter what’.

Worked her shift, exhausted from the work load of seriously unwell patients, been spat on, punched, verbally abused, then asked to do a double shift because of staff shortages, she agrees ‘no matter what’.  She’s needed to help her colleague restrain a patient who’s become violent and dangerous, with diminished rights to be protected by her management, DHB and pathetic Government policy, she agrees ‘no matter what’.

Feeling unwell, overworked and stressed from the mental abuse and physical fatigue, she gets out of bed to go to her shift ‘no matter what’. She feels sad, second guesses her career choice but still finds herself drawn to helping her patients and standing beside her colleagues ‘no matter what’ the day will bring today or tomorrow!

What is happening to protecting the rights and lives of our nurses, their physical and mental wellbeing?

They put their lives on the line each day to saves lives of others ‘no matter what’.  Shouldn’t the New Zealand Government and DHBs protect our nurses, with more staffing, safer working conditions and give consideration to the rights of these nurses to be respected, happy in the job they love, and most importantly safe in their workplace ‘no matter what’.

DHB management stand together with your nurses, stop hiding it, brushing it under the carpet or pretending it doesn’t exist, make your voices heard too ‘no matter what’. It does exist and its real, our nurses are suffering, being hurt and subjected to appalling unhealthy and unsafe working conditions, with such high unrealistic expectations 24/7, but our nurses will still do it ‘no matter what’.

My challenge to you all is to do whatever it takes to make a stand, make change and make a difference in your nursing life, like you make a difference in our lives nursing ‘no matter what’. I will walk beside you, raise my voice and be heard with you all to bring back the sparkle in your eyes ‘no matter what’.

And please, all the decision and policy makers out there who are reading these extraordinary cries to be heard, make a difference and keep them safe ‘no matter what’.

This opinion from the Mother and Father of Nurse South was originally posted on the New Zealand, please hear our voice Facebook page that their daughter – an enrolled nurse working in an acute mental health ward – was one of the founders.  The group page – which now has 45,000 members –publishes stories from anonymous and named nurses with the aim of informing the public and building support during the current pay claim campaign.

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