Christchurch Nurse’s Open letter to the government “We’re at breaking point”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Aug 03, 2022 |

A Christchurch nurse has penned an open letter to Health Minister Andrew Little. The nurse is at breaking point and asked Chris Lynch Media to post her letter.

Dear whoever is actually listening anymore,

This isn’t a cry for a help. This is a gasp with our last few breaths.

Severe depression has plagued the sector for years, leading to unimaginable outcomes for the families of nurses.

Day in and day out we go to work short-staffed and overworked.

We are scared to go to work.

But we are even more scared of leaving our colleagues short on the ward, so we drag ourselves out of bed, off 2 hours sleep, put on that happy nurse smile and make our way not knowing what we are about to walk into.

And what we walk into, is essentially unmanageable and intolerable chaos.

We are getting abused. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally.

By both patients and families.

And there is nothing that we can do.

We apologise to patients for being late with their pain relief with tears rolling down our cheeks just to receive a tirade of abuse including sexist and racist remarks.

Family members scold and threaten to ‘sue’ us after it took us “too long” to bring them a cup of tea.

And sometimes we literally share our dinner and snacks with patients because they are still hungry, and we do not have time to actually sit down for a break, and it seems a waste to simply throw our own food into the trash.

People are coming in high on drugs such as meth and abusing us, assaulting us, belittling us, threatening us and drug seeking.

Yet the police don’t want to help us either.

Our management is sick and tired of hearing our complaints and attempts to reassure our own safety.

Therefore we – floor nurses are left on our own to make risky decisions for extremely dangerous patients.

Our only reprieve is sometimes to hide in the toilet or the stock cupboard for two minutes to gather ourselves and not fully break down.

Somedays we don’t even know if we can safely drive home as we are so exhausted.

The reality of crashing your car on the way home is actually more of a reality than some truly believe.

We go home exhausted, grumpy, snappy, hungry, sore, and defeated.

Our family and friends no longer want to be around us as they never know what short or snippy response they will get in return when they ask a simple question.

Please know that we are trying our best.

We are literally risking our lives.

But we can’t do this for much longer.

Something needed to change yesterday.

And no matter how much worse things get, you can bet your bottom dollar that nurses will still be there, using their last ounce of strength to fight for you and your family until we just collapse and fall in the one place we should be safe.

Helplines and local mental health services

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP).

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO).

Healthline – 0800 611 116

Samaritans – 0800 726 666

A directory of helplines and local mental health service contact details.Download

Depression-specific helplines

Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 (to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions). – includes The Journal online help service. – online e-therapy tool provided by the University of Auckland that helps young people learn skills to deal with feeling down, depressed or stressed.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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