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'One thing that shocked me was the amount of assaults on NHS staff'

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Starting at King’s College in London a couple of weeks ago was a big move for me.

First off I had to move from the north down to the south. However, after promising friends that I wouldn’t lose my accent or turn into a ‘softie southerner’, I made the move with what I could carry in a suitcase on a train from Leeds to London. Three weeks later, I still can’t get over riding past Big Ben on my way home from the gym or coming out of a lecture theatre in Guy’s and standing next to the new Shard building.

This week, we have finally started the intense nursing topics, rather than introductions to this or that or the other.

One lecture this week which was really interesting was on “de-escalation” or how to handle someone who has a temper shorter than Rosie Webster’s new haircut.

Actually, it could be how to handle anyone who is showing aggression, whether that be a colleague, patient or relative.

One thing that shocked me was the amount of assaults on NHS staff, something that we will probably have to experience during our careers. Aside from the prevalence rate, the lecturer asked a question - would you always report acts of aggression or violence that happened?

My background is in teaching, and if anything happened, no matter how small, you would report it. I thought I would be the same with nursing, however, some people disagreed. I don’t know when there might be an act of violence towards me that I wouldn’t think was reportable.

To me, if we don’t report it we are saying “yes it’s fine if you hit me, I don’t mind”. Do you agree?

I also had my first ‘set back’ on the course this week too.

We had a basic skills session on how to take someone’s pulse and blood pressure. I had a really nice person from my course to work with, but when I tried to take her pulse, I couldn’t feel it. So I had to feel around on her wrist until I did. Unintentionally I pressed a little harder than I should have done and left little finger marks. Not the end of the world as it was my first session, but the lecturer went a little crazy. She shouted at me not to do that on a ward to a “poor” patients arm.

In my last job I was a teacher, and it really drives me wild to think that a lecturer would do that on a first skills session of the course. Lecturers should be modelling good practice i.e. treating us like we should treat the patients. I am strong enough not to let it get to me, but I know some people who wouldn’t be!

There is so much to blog about, I could be here all night talking about the issues we have covered this week, including a really good lecture on ethics and not jumping to conclusions. Both very important for nursing, and something you don’t see in that many nursing students!!!

Am off to watch Corrie (just to keep the northern accent) and have a brew.

Rich Greenwood is studying for a Graduate Diploma in Nursing (Adult) at King’s College in London.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Adam Roxby

    Hello Rich

    Good article and an important subject. I have worked on a care of the elderly ward and there are some concerning incidents there but I think the sadest thing is that trusts have to have their own security guards to not only protect staff but the patients as well from acts of abuse.

    I'm looking forward to reading more from you.

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