ICU nurses reach the brink in NSW and don't plan to stay after Omicron

ICU nurses reach the brink in NSW and don’t plan to stay after Omicron

ICU nurses

Six out of 10 NSW ICU nurses have indicated they have no intention of staying in their jobs once the Omicron outbreak subsides.

That’s according to a recent survey conducted by the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association, who said there is a feeling of “despair” among ICU nurses in the state.  

“There are members who are telling us that they will get through this crisis, and then that’s it,” acting assistant general secretary Michael Whaites told AAP.

“There are a lot of them saying, ‘Three to five years, tops’. They can’t see themselves giving anything more than that.”

Meanwhile, nurses have planned to protest outside of Liverpool Hospital in Western Sydney on Thursday.

According to Whaites, the government needs to commit to improving staff-to-patient ratios in hospitals and said current staffing arrangements are not working.

Last week, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the state’s hospital system still had capacity to deal with the Omicron outbreak, but Whaites said this doesn’t match the experience of healthcare workers.

“If he was thankful for the work that nurses and midwives are doing in this state at the moment, he would sit down with them and say, ‘We will introduce safer staffing across the system … have faith, stick with us, things will be better in the future’,” Whaites said.

“But there’s no actions. There’s just words and our members are increasingly frustrated by it.”

NSW recorded 17,316 positive COVID-19 tests on Thursday and 29 deaths. There are currently 2,722 hospitalisations and 181 people in ICU.

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