By AK Lodhi
KARACHI- at least one thousand more staff nurses are badly needed in Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) to cater to the rising the number of patients, but the provincial health department is yet to devise any plan to meet the shortage of nurses in the hospital, sources at CHK told the media.
Sources said Sindh’s largest government-run tertiary-care hospital is facing acute shortage of nurses, and nursing care of patients is adversely affected in the healthcare. They said as per law of Pakistan Nursing Council (PNC) and International Council of Nurses (ICN), one staff nurse is needed to attend 10 patients in maximum at same time; however, in Operation Theater & Intensive Care Unit two nurses must be assigned per patient, while in casualty one nurses is needed for two patients and in Urology & Pead departments one nurse must attend two patients, but in Pakistan, particularly Sindh, these mandatory laws are not being implemented in any government hospital.
Adverse situation is being seen in nursing care sector in the CHK, as at least one thousand more nurses are needed in this 1900-bed hospital but only 406 nurses are available in the institution.
The sources said 305 head nurses are required for the hospital but currently only 40 head nurses are performing their duties in the hospital.
The further said the CHK urgently needs at least four nursing superintendents but there is only one nursing superintendent in the institution. They said significant number of nurses had retired from their posts in last few years, while good number of nurses is on deputation and some others have resigned from their jobs to enjoy lucrative private sector employment opportunities.
Due to unavailability of the required number of nurses, the performance of nurses on duty in various departments badly affected due to heavy work load, they added. The authorities concerned are not paying heeds towards this issue and many nurses are performing their duties under extreme pressure and extra burden of work leads them towards different psychological or behavioral issues.
They informed that many new wards have been established in the CHK in recent past like- Medical ICU, CCU, Peads ICU, Cardio Surgery, Burns wards, but the number of staff nurses is not increased as per the demand which had created serious crisis in the hospital regarding nursing care. They said as per law of Pakistan Nursing Council one staff nurse is enough to attend 10 patients, but due to shortage of staff a nurse has to cover 25 to 30 patients in the CHK.
The major factor behind resignation of nurses from the public hospital is establishment of private hospitals in big cities and rising demands of nurses in the foreign countries.
Chief Nursing Superintendent, Civil Hospital Karachi, Rubina John, when contacted, said the medical superintendent has already sent a letter to the provincial authorities to fill the shortage of nurses in the hospital. She said a good number of nurses had already been transferred from the hospital to other healthcare centers, which is also a key factor behind shortage of nurses.
She said shortage of nurses has adversely affected the standard of nursing care and increased burden on staff affecting the behavior of nurses towards the patients. She said currently 272 nurses are available in the hospital; out of them 27 nurses are sent on deputation to other hospitals and the management of patients has become much very difficult.