Hospital staff at risk of burnout at Gladstone Hospital

Gladstone Hospital

Eilish Massie

Staff burnout is on the rise at Gladstone Hospital as Covid cases continue to surge across Australia.

With ever-increasing demand, a Gladstone Hospital nurse said staff were becoming burnt out as they continue to navigate through the COVID-19 response.

Since 23 December 2021 until now, the Gladstone Region has recorded 1255 confirmed Covid cases.

As of Tuesday, 61 new cases were recorded in Gladstone, 128 in Rockhampton, 44 in Livingstone, three in Central Highlands, one in Woorabinda and 10 in Banana, with 14 Covid patients in Rockhampton Hospital in a stable condition.

The nurse, who wanted to remain anonymous, said while staff were doing their best to combat the pressure across the public and private health systems, they were feeling stretched to the limit.

“It’s happening here,” she said.

“The team here is amazing, we are working and taking care of each other so well but burnout is on the rise.”

A Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service spokesman confirmed the hospital’s workforce was being affected by staff becoming infected with COVID-19.

“CQ Health staff have been putting in an extraordinary effort to ensure our patients are safe and well cared for. It is an unprecedented time for us all and extremely busy,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman confirmed CQHHS had reduced non-critical services to allow for deployment of staff in more critical areas; however more staff would be available in Gladstone soon.

“We have undertaken a significant recruitment campaign to bring on more staff,” he said.

The CQHHS spokesman said staff who were Covid positive were required to isolate at home as per the Chief Health Officer directions.

“Our workforce is being affected by staff becoming infected with COVID-19, as any other workforce is,” he said.

“.We are reviewing how this is impacting on services daily and redeploying to assist critical workforce issues where and when needed.

“In high impact areas such as fever clinics we have made improvements to staff’s work hours and their conditions to reduce exposure to heat, keep them cool and keep them hydrated.”

The nurse, 23, confirmed CQHHS did not make staff come in on their sick days.

“Obviously if we are symptomatic, we are required to go home and not come to work until we know we are Covid negative,” she said.

“With that in mind, and us becoming run down, a few of us are required to take a day or so off.”

The nurse said the team at Gladstone Hospital were doing everything they could to help staff.

“Everyone might have different experiences but realistically in this climate our team and leaders are doing an amazing job,” she said.

“Super understanding and supportive but it might be due to the small hospital things.”

CQHHS said they appreciated the amazing effort of their staff right across CQ Health. “Members of the public can play their part in minimising the spread of COVID-19 by keeping their vaccination up to date including a booster when it’s due, maintaining social distancing and staying home where possible and keeping good hand hygiene,” he said.