Burned-out nurses calling for extra staff

21-Jan-2021 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

After a year of battling COVID-19 in Korea, nurses and other medical workers are feeling the strain of the extra workload, calling on the central and local governments to increase the number of hospital staff.

The Korean Health and Medical Workers’ Union (KHMWU) has been staging protests to call for proper action.

“The government was praised for its disease control work, but nurses are suffering from a shortage of staff, despite their continuous calls for adequate measures,” the union head Na Sun-ja said in a press conference in front of Seoul City Hall, Tuesday.

Na said nurses are struggling to look after the surging number of patients, as the health authorities hastily increase the number of hospital beds at facilities without increasing the number of medical workers.

“The head of the Boramae Hospital still regards the medical personnel issue as a labour-management relations struggle,” Na said.

Ahn Se-young, a nurse who worked at a ward for coronavirus patients in Seoul Metropolitan Boramae Hospital run by Seoul City, also recently wrote an open letter to prime minister Chung Sye-kyun, to ask for more nursing staff for such wards.

“‘K-quarantine,’ has been failing us every day,” Ahn wrote in the letter. “Each of my colleagues is taking care of nine critically ill patients without any assistance. They have already been stretched to their limits,” she said.

The union demanded an increase in nursing staff at Borame Hospital first.

“As of December 30, the minimum number of nurses needed was 436 at Boramae Hospital considering that there are 169 hospital beds for coronavirus patients. This is the minimum number of nurses needed assuming that they don’t take a single day off,” Na said, adding there were only 160.

“The government, local governments, and heads of public hospitals should now tell us what they will do to prevent burnout among nursing staff.”

In response, prime minister Chung wrote on social media that the government would actively support nurses and try to increase the workforce.

The SMG also said that it has recently hired 270 nurses for Boramae Hospital and they would be dispatched soon.

Meanwhile, the country added 404 more COVID-19 cases including 373 local infections for Tuesday, raising the total caseload to 73,518, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2021/01/119_302782.html

 

Category: Korea

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