EXHAUSTED and demoralised nurses would rather work as prostitutes than in Queensland's crumbling hospitals, The Courier-Mail reports.
A former registered nurse of 10 years' experience has told how she and at least four of her colleagues have found new jobs working in brothels.
"We could no longer work in such an understaffed and stressful environment," said the mother of two, who wanted to be known only as Jenna.
"I was overworked, poorly paid and a mistake could have led to charges if I caused a death," she said.
"I came to the conclusion the nursing shortage wasn't my problem but it was my responsibility to protect myself from burning out or making a fatal mistake."
The QNU survey also found 45 per cent of nurses had experienced workplace violence, which is more prevalent in the public and aged-care sectors than in the private sector. Jenna said violence was more of a concern in hospitals than in the sex industry.
"The security (at the brothel) is wonderful. We have buzzers in our room, there are bracelets we can request if you have a client you're a bit suspicious of."
Jenna said she had gone to great lengths to hide her new occupation from her family. "I wear my nurse's uniform to work, I carry my hospital ID. But when I get to work I change. There's a couple of others who do the same," she said.
Health Minister Stephen Robertson said it was disappointing some nurses were seeking alternative careers.
In the spirit of stones and glass houses, I should point out that if becoming a gigolo (gigoloing? gigolation?) was a realistic option for me, I would certainly be tempted to make this move by the bullshit of nursing school (viz., this op-ed assignment...).