FNA calls for decisive actions

April 22, 2024 4:46 pm

President of the Fiji Nursing Association Dr Adi Alisi Vudiniabola has condemned the working conditions endured by nurses, describing it as inhumane.

She says nurses continue to face with a multitude of challenges in their workplaces.

Among the concerns raised by Dr Vudiniabola is the recent revelation that sick leave certificates are only valid for eight hours if nurses report sick.

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This policy has caused significant stress and confusion among nurses.

“If you are sick from 9 o’clock, if the doctor issues a sick-sheet from 9 o’clock – it only takes eight hours for that sick-sheet to become invalid. You can be called back to work by 6 o’clock once the eight hours expires, because they are doing 12-hour shift.”

Dr Vudiniabola has highlighted the detrimental impact of the ongoing 12-hour shifts on nurses, leading to burnout and compromised quality of work.

She asserts that employers fail to meet the necessary prerequisites for these extended shifts, posing serious risks to the health and safety of nurses.

“So, what they would do is roster them for 12 hours because you would have a nurse from 6 to 6 and then 6 to 6 am the next day. If they do a 3 shift, they would be short – there was a shift that would not be manned by a registered nurse. So, this has been going on. It is because of the shortage.”

Despite these persistent challenges, a recent adjustment in nurses’ salaries approved by the Coalition Government has been met with approval by the majority of nurses.

The government has pledged its commitment to improving working conditions to retain nursing staff.

The Fiji Nursing Association remains hopeful that the current administration will take decisive action to address these long-standing issues.

“The employer must provide a restroom – where the person needs to lie down and raise their legs because they are on the floor for so many hours, and they must have refreshments – maybe 3 or 4 hours they must sit and have a drink or a meal, they need to have one hour rest in between the 12 hours.”

The government in collaboration with its partners is exploring avenues to utilize available resources to create a better work environment for nurses.