The National, Monday 13th May 2013
ANGAU Memorial Hospital nurses in Lae joined millions of their colleagues around the world and lit a candle each on Friday to mark the 2013 International Nurses’ Day.
But for the fewer than 200 nurses of Angau, the lit candle also symbolised their need to shed light on the sad plight of their profession in the country.
Speakers highlighted the poor working conditions that nurses were forced to endure while caring for sick and injured.
The recent violent rape of a female nurse in Lae was also highlighted and attributed to a prevalent culture of physical, verbal and sexual harassment of female nurses.
According to the speakers, these issues are serious and need to be addressed by the national government and the Health Department.
“We cannot continue to save lives and nurse the sick in a stressful environment,” nurse Manila Setu told the gathering at the Lae School of Nursing.
“We nurses and community health workers are the largest group in the medical profession but we are the least recognised,” Setu said.
“Even off duty, we nurses are always needed and will be called on late at night or early in the morning.”
National nurses’ association official Steven Nawik thanked the hospital management for providing some accommodation for its nurses and urged the Department for to consider more.
“For their security and ease of transportation, we must build more accommodation in a safe location for all nurses and community health workers,” Nawik said.