Sean Beecher Demands Better from NSW Health

Yass Hospital Nurse Sean Beecher steps up onto a Ute tray emblazoned with “RATIOS A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH,” “STOP TELLING US TO COPE”, and a caricature of a devil-horned NSW Premier: “TELL PERROTTET TO LISTEN TO HEALTH WORKERS.”

Microphone in hand, Sean Beecher takes a warlike stance at a recent rally and vehemently expounds to the government, especially Health Minister Brad Hazzard, about the danger of current nurse-to-patient ratios at Yass Hospitals and those across NSW. He lists a number of horrific instances from our own Yass Hospital, where it is only by sheer luck that devastating consequences, like a patient’s death, have not occurred— Yet.

“Yet again, we’re having the same fight we were having six months ago. The same fight we’ve been having for as long as I’ve been a nurse. The same fight many of my colleagues have been having, for almost as long as I’ve been alive!”

“So let’s take a look at what’s changed in the last six months, shall we?

“What has the health and safety ‘Hazzard’ running this absolute shemozzle of a health system, actually done?” Sean asks the crowd.

Surrounding the Ute, a chorus of nurses and community members reply to Sean with a resounding cry: “Nothing!”

“Thank you! Absolutely NOTHING!

Recent nurses rally through Yass – Sean Beecher ‘STOP TELLING US TO COPE’

“You have gone on record and declared that there’s no room in the NSW budget for nurse-to-patient ratios.

“Sorry, Brad, that’s not good enough. If I said the same thing to my bank about my mortgage, I’d be turned out onto the street faster than a sewer rat up a drain pipe!

“The last time I stood before you to speak, we unpacked the word ‘negligence’ and how it pertains to the way the NSW Health system is currently being run. This time I’d like us to look at another phrase that we as clinicians must abide by:

‘Nonmaleficence,’ or in other words ‘, to do no harm.’

“The principle of nonmaleficence is a standard of practice that all clinicians are morally and ethically bound to abide by.

“We do not come to work to hurt those entrusted to our care. We are healers, not killers. We strive to ease the pain of your physical ailments. We try to comfort you during the last moments of your life. We celebrate with you when the next generation takes its first breath.

“We share some of the most challenging, confronting, and rewarding moments our patients will ever experience in their lives, all without judgement, all without malice. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why we, today, are saying enough is enough and going yet another round in this fight.

“To the bean counters, bureaucrats, and executives that run this mess…. you are nothing more than a number. You are nothing more than words on a screen, pages in a file, or a body, occupying a bed.

“To them, it’s apparently ‘safe’ to be one of twelve acutely unwell inpatients on a fully occupied ward, with a flat-stick ED and only two nurses on site.

“To them, it’s apparently ‘safe’ for you to be one of four COVID positive emergency patients isolated out of sight of the one ED nurse assigned to your care who is also having to attend the other four patients in beds in the main emergency department, and on a full waiting room, all on their own!

“Apparently, one nurse having to care for upwards of fourteen patients concurrently is, apparently, ‘safe.’

“Apparently, it is perfectly fine for only one nurse, a security guard, and NO doctor to staff the hospital on one of its busiest night shifts of the year.

“Apparently, shutting down a ward for five weeks straight, and manning only an emergency department doesn’t count as a service disruption!

“Apparently, forcing a nurse to leave her three unstable ED patients, leaving them unattended for six hours straight, only to sweat her guts out in full PPE whilst caring for a critically ill, septic COVID patient, with no break of any sort over her eleven hours of duty, without any form of support or backup available, is perfectly acceptable.

“This is not safe. This is how you KILL A PATIENT.

Yass Nurses strike – September 1st 2022 and march down the main street

“You have just as much of a duty of care to the citizens of New South Wales as we do. Your work is just as guided by the principles of nonmaleficence as ours. You have a duty to ensure the safety of every patient in NSW Health, regardless of race, age, gender, or postcode. You have a responsibility, just as much as we do, to ensure no harm comes to any patient in New South Wales.

“There is one guaranteed way you can achieve that end: RATIOS.

“Nurses are burning out and leaving the profession at rates never seen before. We are sick of the conditions we are constantly forced to work in. We are tired of constantly putting our registrations on the line, and you gambling your lives every time you enter a public hospital.

“One to three in ED, one to four on the ward.

“This has been our campaign motto for longer than I’ve been alive, and it will continue to be our mantra until you come to your senses and appreciate the true value of a human life.