BNU President Amancha Williams.
By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
NURSES are burnt out and suffering physically and mentally due to the strain COVID-19 cases have placed on hospitals.
Bahamas Nurses Union president Amancha Williams said they are still challenged with a manpower shortage leading to nurses experiencing “burnout” while working to cover and provide round-the-clock care for patients.
“We’ve had nurses moved from various areas. We’ve only been doing emergency cases to facilitate the need of the (hospital’s) demand during this wave and so we have a bed shortage. We have a manpower shortage and we’ve been seeing a lot of deaths in the (last) two months, or, I should say eight weeks. So all of this psychology, physically, mentally is causing stress on the nurses working in the hospital environment.”
The union leader has been outspoken in the past about how nurses have had to deal with poor working conditions such as air-conditioning units not working in certain wards at Princess Margaret Hospital. Moreover, nurses leaving the hospital have posed a challenge.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health issued a press release stating that there was a decrease in COVID-19 cases. The ministry’s graph showed the number of cases plateaued during the first two weeks of August 2021, but went down the next four weeks or four reporting cycles.
Despite the decrease in cases, hospitalisations continue to increase.
Ms Williams said regardless of officials reporting a decrease in cases, hospital workers are still under significant stress.
“Did you hear anybody reporting that we’re not under stress? I can’t see how they could say at the end of the day there is a decrease in COVID cases, but why are we still having the challenges in the hospital?
“I know for sure as it was explained that we’re still triaging and patients are still on the porch from the meeting on Friday and each department is expressing the overwhelming (nature) of what is happening and each department is expressing that. The staff is overwhelmed from maternity cases to accident and emergency and the wards are full.”
Public Hospitals Authority Chairman Julian Rolle said on Friday COVID-19 has strained public health, leaving the system completely “overburdened” and in “unprecedented stress”.