More than half of the nurses in the Dunedin Hospital
emergency department have been actively looking for a new job,
a staff survey released to the Otago Daily Times reveals.
Nurses had sometimes been left ''chasing'' essential
equipment and help from doctors, and nearly 20% did not have
time to comply with a medication check standard.
The survey was conducted in April and May, in response to
concern over working conditions, and results were released on
Friday, under the Official Information Act, a month after
they were requested. Southern District Health Board chief
executive Carole Heatly said in a written response the survey
was an opportunity for the board to listen to staff,
''celebrate success'', and find opportunities for
The survey, which drew an 85% response rate, shows some
nurses felt they did not have adequate medical support.
It shows concern over nurse-to-patient ratios, ability to
express opinions in staff meetings, and staff morale.
There was however a strong team culture.
Nurses supported one another, while feeling unappreciated by
Nurses' survey feedback included in an internal memorandum
also released revealed complaints over inadequate equipment,
including ''chasing thermometers and stethoscopes'', linen
running out at weekends, lack of space for patients, and
In some cases procedures and policies were unclear or not
Nurses were ''chasing'' doctors for assistance, and had
inadequate meal break cover.
Leave requests were often declined, and there were ''too many
texts'' asking them to pick up extra shifts.
Communication was ''sometimes not respectful'', and the
delineation of senior roles was not always clear.
Doctors tended to use senior nurses when this was not
required, staff meetings were not attended, and departing
staff were not celebrated.
Ms Heatly said several changes had been made to address the
issues, and some would take longer to fix than others.
''We are confident that the Dunedin Hospital emergency
department delivers a high standard of patient care to our
community on a daily basis,'' she said.
Staff workshops had been held, and working groups to focus on
particular problems, such as communication, or education,
were to be finalised by today.
''These sessions were positive and the nurses who attended
agreed the steps being taken were a constructive way
The board has started leadership training for the senior
nursing team, increased nursing numbers over winter,
addressed equipment and linen shortages, and was obtaining
quotes for minor facility changes.
Regular follow-up sessions with staff would be held over the
next six months, Ms Heatly said.
Nurses have their say: Dunedin Hospital
emergency department findings
Have you been actively looking for a job outside
Yes - 53% (24 nurses)
No - 47% (21)
Do you consider the nurse patient ratio allocated to you
is clinically safe?
Always - 2% (1)
Mostly - 28% (13)
Sometimes - 62% (29)
Never - 9% (4)
Do you consider morale to be high?
Mostly 8% (4)
Sometimes - 52% (25)
Never - 39.5% (19)
Are you able to comply with the health board's standard of
Always - 13% (6)
Mostly - 28% (13)
Sometimes - 36% (17)
Never - 19% (9)
Do you have adequate medical support for
Always - 6% (3)
Mostly - 10% (5)
Sometimes - 69% (33)
Never - 14.5% (7)
Are you able to express opinions in staff
Always - 13% (6)
Mostly 22% (10)
Sometimes - 42% (19)
Never - 22% (10)
Do you fell supported by management (outside the
Always - 0
Mostly - 21% (10)
Sometimes -34% (16)
Never 45% (21)