Let's not go back to being trained like circus seals
The only thing more boring than hearing about a party you didn’t go to is having to look at other people’s holiday snaps: “The pink fleshy one in the thong is Gran… my, she liked the waiters! More tea vicar?”
However, we had a party last week. We don’t dance much these days - dodgy knees, sore back, you know the score. Still we launched a novel and celebrated a birthday and there was wine and canapes. And I got
to thinking: people don’t celebrate life enough. This is my mantra for middle age. We don’t stop to say to people we love, like or respect: “Hello haven’t seen you for 10 days or 10 years and I was wondering, how’s it going?”
Soppy? Maybe, but have any of you noticed how time is moving a bit quicker these days? Won’t be long before some of you lot are old. Not me obviously, but some of you certainly.
‘You may have heard about the good old days… when you learnt to nurse by copying someone who may or may not have known what they were doing’
Anyway there were an awful lot of healthcare workers or ex healthcare workers at the party and some of us did what all nurses over a certain age do at such things - talked about the good old days.
Some of you may have heard about the good old days. Before Project 2000 when you learnt to nurse by getting your hands dirty and copying someone who may or may not have known what they were doing but was going to teach you anyway. When you “trained” a bit like a footballer or a circus seal to do “skills” on people and, heaven forbid, anyone bothered you with ideas or thinking. As the great nurses of the past used to say: “If you have time to think, you’re not busy enough.”
The good old days… when caring was a vocation and even if the things done didn’t look or feel like caring, we were carers so it must have been for the best. And, anyway, if it’s wrong one of the doctors will tell us because they are better at thinking and we are better at caring. And hats. Don’t forget the hats.
A recent Nursing Times story hinting at the threat to nurse education in universities must please some people, offering as it does the possibility of a return to “training” instead of education. Removing the silliness of essays and analysis and returning instead to something more “practical” might seem like an opportunity. But frankly it is absurd.
Without critical thinking, reflection, the ability to articulate and the capacity to translate knowledge into action with sensitivity and confidence, nursing becomes less than it is and less than it needs to be.
Nursing should always aspire to be the most noble profession in the world, informed by wisdom and thought, underpinned by knowledge and skills, guided by compassion and emotional intelligence. Take it out of a context that enables that and it will shrink and fade.
That is bad, not only for patients and nurses but also for what nursing represents: care, compassion and the considered wellbeing of strangers. We should never trust attacks on education, no matter how they are disguised.