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Tale of two health care systems.

My sister has written a brief comparison of ratios and patient care in a Sydney city teaching hospital, versus her experience four days later in a large teaching hospital in Toronto, Canada.

Jacquie Myers RN RM, Avoca Beach

In April, I rushed home to Sydney from Canada to visit my critically ill mother in Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH). The outcome: she rallied, albeit the long-term prognosis is not optimistic.

Arriving on the Unit after a 24-hour journey across the Pacific, I was greeted by a nurse who promptly introduced me to the gerontologist, the resident and the entire team who were critical to my mother's care. From there I participated in a social work and occupational therapy assessment, as well as a resident meeting. Spending four days on the Unit it was evident that the nurses, although extremely busy, were able to attend to all my mother's needs. The rooms were hygienic, meals of high quality and linens changed regularly, the nursing care exemplary. This is a good package, I thought to myself, and she is in a public hospital; the system works.

Fast-forward four days to Toronto, where I was admitted to a major teaching hospital for an operation scheduled months earlier. All went well with the admission, surgery and post-operative recovery room procedures. The operating room staff were masters of sensitivity and compassion.

Then I was transferred to the Unit for recovery and discharge. By contrast with RNSH the nursing team was exhaustingly busy, frequently tending to multiple patient demands at once. I consistently had to wait for pain control. The nurses were caring, knowledgeable and true educators in my postoperative care. They inspired confidence in my ability to return home, even though their protocol was a bit aggressive. As to the facilities, daily hygiene could have been pumped up.

In summary, when you have a nurse-to-patient ratio that is manageable, patients receive excellent care. When this is abused, the opposite takes place. Fortunately, in the above two examples our respective families were attentive and omnipresent, so no catastrophic events transpired. This is not always the case. Therefore, the nurses in the health care system play a pivotal role, which begs the issue of manageable nurse-patient ratios.

This is a prime example of the reasons unions exist in today's society. In New South Wales no one else seems willing to fight for your hospitals, your patients and the future of the health service.

Keep up the good fight NSWNMA, as the safety of the community is in your hands.

Maureen Wright, Toronto Canada

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Title Annotation:YOUR LETTERS
Author:Myers, Jacquie; Wright, Maureen
Publication:The Lamp
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jul 1, 2014
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