INEXPERIENCED nurses are doing tasks they wouldn't ordinarily perform to help provide care to patients while the health system is severely understaffed.
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It's happening in many hospitals and health services across the Central West and nurses have had enough.
As they went on strike on Thursday, they shared stories about the things they had seen.
Sasha Pauline, the branch secretary for the Cowra branch of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA), spoke about the level of responsibility being put on a colleague.
"We have a new graduate nurse with three months' experience being left as the only registered nurse on the floor," she said.
"She is responsible for 25 patients. I'm an enrolled nurse, so we're there in a support of role, but they are technically responsible for every single patient."
Kathi Hamilton, the president of the Bathurst hospital branch of the NSWNMA, shared those concerns.
"We have lots of junior staff, very new and inexperienced. We have a similar situation - not where they are left on their own - but lots of young staff and we have concerns about not having enough education for them and we don't want them to leave the system," she said.
At Grenfell Health Service, the situation is worse.
Staff are managing aged care patients with dementia alongside an emergency department and acute beds.
"When you've got 34 aged care residents that are demented, they don't understand that you can't do certain things because you're short staffed. You just have to do twice as much when people have had enough," nurse Jennifer Wood said.
She said that staff have already resigned and others are talking about doing the same, which means assistants in nursing (AINs) like Shannon Best, who is studying to become a registered nurse, are taking on more responsibility.
"I'm very careful not to, because I know it's unsafe to do that, but there have definitely been times where I've been asked to work outside my scope of practice, and that's not safe for anyone," Ms Best said.
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