Speaking at the Oireachtas Health Committee addressing workplace assault, Sylvia Chambers, a working paediatric nurse said:
“I can say I have never experienced aggression like we have in the past few years, particularly on a daily basis.
“There are a numerous of incidents where we are verbally attacked, I have been spat at.
“I have been verbally abused.
“I have been threatened that when I leave work that evening, I will be stabbed as I get into my car.
“I have had grown man six foot four towering over me throwing objects at me. It is a daily occurance and I do not feel safe going to work.
“I don’t feel safe.
“My colleagues don’t feel safe.
“This all comes down to security. This comes down to overcrowding.
“The facility that our parents are asked to wait it is not sufficient. At night-time from 2am onwards we only have two doctors.
“Sometimes we could have up to 6070 patients waiting at that time.
“With two doctors it’s not feasible for two doctors to see all both patients and parents become very aggressive.
“They become tired and the nurse who is normally the first person that they see we’re the ones that we receive the backlash. It’s just not appropriate and we cannot provide appropriate nursing care.
“Staff are leaving due in bulk because they are stressed. In the last 18 months we’ve had 30 nurses resign from our emergency department.
“We are on our knees when it comes to our staffing levels. We had 24 overnight patients to two nurses providing care.
“If you are abused, verbally abused by a parent you have to provide repeated care episodes to that parent.
“It is extremely nerve racking. It is it’s just not appropriate. We are at our wits’ end. People are leaving because of this and something has to be done.
“The volume and activity that we experienced in the emergency department is overwhelming.
“Physical and verbal attacks on nursing staff are making staff overwhelmed.On exit interviews people tell us that are leaving and it is because they are stressed they are afraid of work and they cannot provide the appropriate care.
“We just want to go in and do our job. That’s all we want.
“We don’t mind being busy, don’t mind the acuity. We don’t want to take the volume and the abuse.”