I am one of the frontliners at Sibu Hospital, Sarawak, and I am writing to reveal unfair and illogical nursing management in the Covid-19 ward.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak in Sarawak, frontliners have been working day and night and dealing with patients.
One of the principles of treating Covid-19 patients is to leave the potentially infectious area as soon as we finish our jobs. However, there are some patients who complained that they could not find nurses or doctors when they are in need.
In fact, frontliners will attend to them every morning, checking vital signs and administering medications. Some of us even provide them with our personal phone numbers in case they need our help.
However, complaints were made to the hospital director and the head of the medical department, and a ridiculous policy was then put in place.
Two months ago, the nurses on duty at the Covid-19 ward at Sibu Hospital received an official flow chart statement which was approved by both the hospital director and the head of the medical department, stating that the nurses should stay in the Covid-19 ward with full personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times, regardless of whether the nurses have finished their shifts.
For your information, the nursing teams at Sibu Hospital is now divided into two shifts per day, 7am to 7pm (morning shift) and 7pm to 7am (night shift). With the current manpower, there will be only three or four nurses working one of the 12-hour shifts.
According to the flow chart statement, one nurse must stay at least four to six hours in the contagious ward in order to fulfil the requirement of having medical staff on duty in the Covid-19 ward around the clock.
Even though the nurses have already administered the medication and checked patients’ vital signs, they are not allowed to take off their PPE, but must stand in the ward doing nothing until the next batch/shift colleagues come in.
Moreover, most of the patients in the wards are stable Covid-19 patients. They can call us if they need anything. It’s unnecessary to risk our lives by staying for such long hours in the Covid-19 ward.
To be honest, there are some nurses who have raised their frustrations regarding this. However, their superiors (sisters and matrons) will call, do spot checks and urge them to don PPE and stay in the wards, even though they have nothing to do inside.
We have done our best to battle Covid-19, yet this is how we are treated. We all have families that we care about, and everyone knows that long-term exposure is risky.
Our superiors have already closed their ears to our grievances. I hope that by writing this, the public will be made aware of this unfair policy.
CodeBlue is publishing this letter anonymously because of the government’s gag order on civil servants.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.