Materia Medica Malaysiana

June 16, 2007

Too many deliveries take a toll on nurses

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:43 am

NST: WHY do some government maternity nurses fly off the handle for the slightest reason?
Blame it on stress associated with delivering numerous babies a day, said Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital (HUKM) Associate Prof Dr Harlina Halizah Siraj.
She said overworked nurses who could not handle stress sometimes took it out on patients.
“This should not happen at all. But sometimes such incidents are caused by nurses under tremendous stress. They tend to say the wrong things to patients who seek too much attention.”
She said HUKM was in the process of training staff in better body language, expressions, and manners to make patients more comfortable.
The hospital, with 120 maternity nurses, delivers nearly 6,500 babies a year.
A Kuala Lumpur Hospital official concurred, saying that delivering 60 babies a day would definitely take a toll on nurses at the maternity section. This works out to nearly 1,800 babies every month or 21,600 babies annually.
“The sheer number of deliveries at the hospital makes their job very stressful,” she said.
The official, who declined to be identified, said the nurses might not be able to handle such pressure and sometimes took it out on patients.
She said one reason why the hospital and other government hospitals received so many patients was because they catered largely to those from the middle- and lower-income groups.
“About 10 per cent are foreigners from Indonesia and Bangladesh. Many government servants choose to deliver here as their fee is fully subsidised by the government,” she said.
University Malaya Medical Centre associate professor Dr Paul Tay Yee Siang said government hospitals had a long way to go before they could match working conditions at private hospitals.
The specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology said this should, however, not be used to excuse poor treatment of patients, including expectant mothers.
“No one should undergo any form of abuse or poor treatment in a government hospital.”
He said those who had been mistreated by nurses, doctors or other staff should lodge a complaint with the hospitals.
“This is to ensure that such problems do not recur,” he said, adding that UMMC was constantly trying to improve services at its maternity section.

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