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PIMS Islamabad Faces Shortage Of Nursing Staff In COVID-19 Ward

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Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Islamabad is facing a shortage of healthcare staff, particularly nurses, in its COVID-19 ICU, Naya Daur has learned.

According to the ward registrar Dr Fazal Rabbi, there are six nurses per shift to operate 16 ventilators as per the availability in the department. So far, he added, the ward was managing its affairs with the limited nursing staff. However, it may not be possible in the coming days as the ventilators’ capacity is being increased up to 30.

He pointed that it is an internationally established standard that one nurse should be on duty for one critical patient in the ICU. But in this hospital, he added, the ratio is one nurse for every two or three patients. With the addition of 14 other ventilators, it will be one nurse for every five patients.

Dr Fazal Rabbi maintained that the increase in the staff is not only important to provide quality healthcare, but also to provide relief to the nurses, each of whom has to wear protective gear for eight consecutive hours. He went on to add that it’s not just the nursing staff, but the entire hospital needs to boost its workforce.

Another on-duty senior nurse in the COVID-19 ward, who requested not to be named, said four to five nurses have been on-duty for 16 critical patients, saying it’s too hard to provide quality healthcare with this limited staff. They appealed to the government to take notice of the shortage in the hospital.

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Meanwhile, PIMS spokesperson Dr Waseem Khawaja denied the shortage, saying the hospital has sufficient staff, including nurses. He, however, was unaware of the number of health workers at the facility.

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