Home » today » News » So high is the sickness absence in the hospitals now:

So high is the sickness absence in the hospitals now:

It has been almost two months since the Solberg government was able to declare that everyday life was back.

People took to the streets, the confetti splashed and Saturday 25 September became a national holiday.

But everyday life and the hangover came back hard and brutally. A record number of corona patients have now been admitted to St. Olav’s Hospital in Trondheim, and a number of hospitals have increased their preparedness. At several of the country’s largest hospitals, the situation is so pressured that planned operations are postponed.

And this is happening for the flu season kicks in full force.

Crying for four hours

Akershus University Hospital (Ahus) informs TV 2 that sickness absence among nurses is high.

  • In September this year, sickness absence was 10.1 per cent.
  • In September 2019, before the pandemic, sickness absence among nurses was 9.3 percent.

The latest figures from Statistics Norway (SSB) show that on a national basis there was a pabsenteeism in the second quarter of this year, at 6.3 per cent.

– Stress symptoms are reported, they have palpitations and sleep problems. We know of nurses who have cried at work and who have cried for four hours straight after finishing their shift, says Berit Langset to TV 2.

She is a company shop steward for the nurses at Ahus and represents around 3,000 nurses.

– Usually I have the 3000 nurses on my shoulders. But right now I feel them sitting on my lap. You get tears in your eyes from receiving these messages, she says.

Stands out

Langset becomes unwell when the messages tick in.

– This has been going on for a very long time, and I am concerned about whether the company is able to take care of and take care of its employees. This has been going on for so long, and I do not know how much more we have to go on, she says.

Sick leave in the health trusts

TV 2 has asked all health trusts about sick leave among nurses in the last two months. 14 out of 19 companies have answered us. Some state September and October, others only September.

Health Bergen: 7.9 percent (September)

Health Møre og Romsdal: 10.2 percent (September and October)

St. Olavs Hospital: 9.3 percent (September and October)

Finnmark Hospital: 9.09 percent (September and October)

Nordland Hospital: 10.5 percent

University Hospital of Northern Norway: 10.92 percent (September and October)

Akershus University Hospital: 8.9 percent (September)

Oslo University Hospital: 9.3 percent

Vestfold Hospital: 9.6 percent (September)

Innlandet Hospital: 8.8 (September)

Telemark Hospital: 8.6 (September) and 9.3 percent (October)

Østfold Hospital: 9.2 percent

Sørlandet Hospital: 8.8 (September)

Vestre Viken: 9.2 percent (September)

But the situation at Ahus is not unique, and at several of the country’s largest hospitals the absence is over 10 percent.

At the University Hospital in Northern Norway (UNN), sickness absence among nurses was 10.92 per cent in September and October.

DEMANDING DAYS: Nurse Vibeke Helen Hagen at Ahus has for a long time had a very demanding workday. Photo: Tommy Storhaug / TV 2

The figures for the last two months paint a picture of the situation that is not different from what it has been for the past three years.

Figures from Statistics Norway (SSB) shows that employees in the health and social services had a sickness absence of 9.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2019. In the same quarter in 2020 it was 10.6 per cent and in 2021 the absence was 10.3 per cent.

Trade union representative Langset is aware that the current situation is a result of underfunding over many years.

When the pandemic came on top of the wreath cake, it made an already pressured situation even more challenging, she says.

– Wakes up at night

And that is exactly what nurse Vibeke Helen Hagen can sign. She usually works at the outpatient clinic at the children and youth ward at Ahus.

This normally means a predictable everyday life with planned admissions and work tasks.

However, due to the pandemic, Hagen has been partially reassigned to a much busier and more unpredictable department.

– I think about work about 24 hours a day. I wake up at night and think about work, and you’re on your head around the clock – and you get tired of it. This has been the case for some time, and it may continue for a long time to come. We do not know, and that makes the situation extra challenging, she says to TV 2.

DEMANDING: The working conditions of the nurses are very demanding.  Photo: Tommy Storhaug / TV 2

DEMANDING: The working conditions of the nurses are very demanding. Photo: Tommy Storhaug / TV 2

– For sent

Langset says it is difficult to answer how long her members will be able to stand in this.

– But when enough is enough, then it is too late, she says.

The hospital management admits that they are in a very demanding situation.

– For our employees, this comes on top of a very long period of high workload through the pandemic. Ahus is the hospital in Norway that has had the greatest burden associated with covid. An absolutely impressive effort has been made by the hospital’s employees throughout the period, says HR director Jan Inge Pettersen.

Given by answer

Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol (Labor Party) tells TV 2 that the call to stay at home when we are ill has a double effect in the health care system.

– Our professionals have demanding weekdays now, says the Minister.

However, the shop steward for the nurses at Ahus is upset that the Minister describes the situation as demanding.

– I perceive that the management and our members in the clinic convey something completely different than what the Minister of Health Ingvild Kjerkol describes at her press conferences. The word demanding is not enough for what we are in now. There is not a good enough Norwegian expression for it, says Langset.

Kjerkol says she understands that the nurses have been on duty for a long time.

– I would especially like to commend local shop stewards who have continuous contact with the management and ensure that the hospitals are able to handle the increased influx of patients, says the Minister of Health and Care Services.

– Shown what they are good for

– Is it okay for Norwegian nurses to cry at work and for several hours straight after work?

– My trust in the professionals is great. They have really shown what they are good at. We know it will be a long winter, so it is important that we do what we can to prevent the spread of infection.

– Do you put in any immediate measures to ensure that Norwegian nurses think it’s okay to go to work?

DEMANDING: Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol understands that the working day of nurses is perceived as demanding.  Photo: Martin Leigland / TV 2

DEMANDING: Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol understands that the working day of nurses is perceived as demanding. Photo: Martin Leigland / TV 2

– The most important thing we do as a government is to inform the municipalities that they will be reimbursed for their expenses resulting from the pandemic. It is important that we have a good overview, and we have asked the hospitals to report on total capacity and that it is important that the municipalities receive good information when there are patients ready for discharge, says Kjerkol.

– Has much to say

How long nurse Vibeke Helen Hagen can stand in such a situation, however, is a question she often asks herself.

– I keep thinking that I can not take it anymore. I’ve been in the profession for many years, so it’s not just starting over either. I thrive, of course, but the thought often strikes me, says the nurse.

But there are several factors that make her persevere.

– The fact that you can help those who are ill and have good colleagues has a lot to say. You mobilize to get to work, even if you are tired and in bad shape. Because it goes beyond others if you do not come, says Hagen.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.