Getting to George Goutry by phone is not easy these days. However, when the 21-year-old nurse spent a few minutes talking on the phone between two night shifts and an early morning shift, she laughed and asked what day it is today? It’s Sunday isn’t it? For a month now, Goutrie has been working in the mother and son department of the Charité Hospital in Berlin. This 3,000-bed university hospital is the largest in Europe.
Goutry began three years of training to become a nurse in the midst of the Kovid epidemic. During this period, she and other students like her faced the same challenges that most clinics in the country faced. During this the whole room was closed, all work was stopped, and staff were sent to another place to attend to Kovid-19 patients.
Read also: 2.5 million children were not routinely vaccinated because of Kovid
Today, Goutry’s work continues in the same way. “My room can’t be closed now. The kids come here when they’re ready and you can’t put them back in the same queue,” Goutry said. Currently, all patients are being treated as if they were infected with Kovid-19, they remain isolated until they are declared negative on the PCR test.
Many patients are diagnosed with the infection after being admitted to the hospital
The new Omicron variant came amid declining restrictions
Over the past two years, Kovid-19 infection decreased during the summer, people spend more time away from home during that time. This means that health workers got some relief during the hot months.
Things are different this year. Cases of infection are rising even in the summer and, according to the Marburger Bund Medical Association, health services are reaching their limits. The seven-day average rate in early June was the lowest year-round, but has risen sharply since then.
One of the reasons behind this is the BA subvariant of the virus. 5. It is more contagious than the previous variants. Experts say it can spread quickly even in summer. People who have been vaccinated or infected with Omicrom variants are safe. Currently, two-thirds of Kovid’s cases are due to this BA.5 subvariant.
Read also: Omicron’s new BA.2.75 variant is a cause for concern
Reduced restrictions on spreading the infection also help. In Germany, the requirement for people to wear masks in most public places has been abolished. Many people are also traveling and participating in crowded events.
The free quick test has been stopped due to increased spending. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach recently said a billion euros are spent every month on this service. Except in some cases, people now have to pay 3 euros to take this test. It remains to be seen whether this is the reason for the reduction in routine testing.
Many hospitals have to stop their services because nurses become infected.
infection in hospital workers
The same story is repeated once again for nurses. With the increase in the number of Kovid-19, there is a growing concern for the fall and winter season. Past experiences show that infections will increase many times over. One of the largest clinics in the northern state of Schleswig Holstein closed two of its centers in early July because too many staff hired Covid.
The Intensive Care Unit at Agaplasen Hospital in Hamburg said: “It has also affected our employees, the illness of our employees has increased much more than usual and is to some extent responsible for the crown virus.” . Like other hospitals, a Kovid-19 ward has also been built here along with an intensive care unit. The hospital’s press office wrote to DW saying: “We have already booked beds given the situation and this also in the middle of summer. Obviously we are worried about the upcoming autumn and winter season.”
More patients and more responsibility
However, Kovid-19 alone is not responsible for the problem. The pandemic has brought to the fore the poor working conditions of the healthcare sector, but this problem is old. The Walk of Care has been working since 2016 to overcome this problem and George Goutry is also associated with this initiative. Nurses of all ages and other such people come together under the banner of this organization. They demand better economic and structural health policies for these workers. Goutrie explains, “In Germany there are 13 patients per nurse, while in the Netherlands, for example, only five patients. How can I take responsibility for 13 patients at once and give them the best service.”
Goutry insists nurses have been working beyond their limits in OPDs and hospitals for many years. For women, the situation is even worse, as more than two-thirds of the nursing staff in Germany are women.
Those who are busier don’t even have time to rest because on the one hand they have to take care of the people at the hospital for which they get money. Goutry says, on the other hand, there are children and other people at home who depend on them and even if they don’t get the money to take care of them, they also have to take care of them.
Seriously ill and half of the living patients with artificial respiration cannot save their lives.
less pay and more stress
According to the German Economic Institute, by 2035 there will be a shortage of 307,000 nursing staff in the country. This problem has been on the rise in recent years. Because of this, people are under physical and mental stress. Due to staff shortages, these people often have to work overtime and therefore do not even get enough money.
How the hospital staff felt can be measured from comments written by anonymous staff on a website called “Schwartzbach Krankenhaus” (hospital black book).
“I don’t have time to take care of someone who is dying”
“I love my job and I’m very proud of it, but I’m shocked to see the care I get here. The condition is so bad I couldn’t survive more than two years.”
,When I was crying in the room, the other nurses there didn’t have time or time to treat me. “
burnout no coolout
These statements show the level of psychological stress. There is a lot of talk about burnout among nurses, but other than that, coolout is also a new term that is being used more and more in Germany.
Goutry said, “This is the situation where you don’t care about anything, nothing touches your heart. It’s an extreme state of charge. You only take care of people in an emergency.” Goutry also says it also leads employees to neglect and violence towards patients.
In June 2021, leaders promised reforms and nursing reforms were implemented starting this year. Its aim is to address the shortage of skilled workers and work stress. This is why their salary is increased and nursing staff are tasked with making more decisions during work.
Goutry is still thinking about making a career change and starting something completely new, even though it hurts a lot. He said, “If you see yourself as a caregiver, then it makes sense to dedicate yourself to nursing, but at what price?”