Comment on: Are you compassionate, or too busy to care?
Meh..a little from camp A, a little from camp B, if im being honest.
The move to make nursing an all-graduate profession is all about ego and nothing to do with service delivery.
Having just spent the last 3 years doing my nurse training I can honestly say that I learnt very little from the academic modules. The nursing academics are so far removed from the realities of actual nursing that at times I honestly wondered if what I was being taught had come from people with any experience at all within a healthcare setting. Of course nursing academics are supporting the proposal to move to an all-degree level of nursing, they are attempting to validate and protect their careers.
Everything of value I learnt from observing and listening to nurses and HCA's on clinical placement who had been doing the job for years and knew how to teach effective nursing skills that are of actual value when I start working as a nurse.
Nursing is primarily about communication. A nurse needs to know how to speak and listen to a person who is confused, frightened, angry, frustrated, elated, depressed and so on. The nurse needs to know how to adapt to given situations and when best to use a gentle approach or an assertive approach in order to best address a patients needs.
Nursing academics will teach you about 'unconditional positive regard', a lovely concept but completely meaningless. You are either going to like a patient or not, thats human nature, whether you should be professional or abusive towards that patient as a person placed in a position to care for that individual is all about common sense and i'd rather not spend years and countless sums of money proving that im not a complete moron.
The only difference between nurses who have a diploma and nurses that have a degree is their personality and willingness to do the job. A 'better' qualification does not make a better nurse.
Well I suppose some patients will appreciate it when their new cybernetic nurse say "I'll be back" and does actually return, (though hopefully not to kill them for their part in some future war, theres enough paperwork without having to risk assess that possibility).
"As for suggestion (in another comment), that ward nurses should have annual training in what the students are learning so they can teach them on the ward I think that this is also very short sighted and unreasonable."
I'd just like to clarify that my suggestion was that nursing mentors go on annual training and not all ward nurses, as this would be unrealistic. I suggest this because as a student I find it frustrating when I arrive at a placement and my mentor cant highlight what learning opportunities are available to me because they dont understand my learning objectives, (part of this blame must go on the universities who while at the same time as advocating the use of jargon-free language in healthcare seem to write our learning objectives in a language that would confuse a babel fish), and because they dont know what i am and am not allowed to do on placement.
The fact that most mentors seem confused about the students paperwork does mean that some students who are less inclined to roll up their sleeves and wipe a bum, can manipulate a mentor into believing that they are not expected to perform this task past the first year, which as many people here assert, really should not be the case. We students don't always understand what is expected of us either as the university just dumps the paperwork on us and sends us on our merry way, misguidedly assuming that the mentors on placement know what is expected of us.
I've recently spoken to a mentor who told me that her mentor update training consisted of a 3 hour session where she was asked a single question about what she thought her responsiblities as a mentor were. She, herself, mentioned that the training was woefully inadequate and she learnt nothing from it.
It is for these reasons that I suggest mentors should go on adequate annual training so that their is no confusion over what students can and cant do and what is expected of them whilst on placement, this should help weed out the work-shy students and support those students who want the best learning experiences from their training so that they can become confident, informed nurses. This is why I believe the issues in nurse training fall mainly down to the lack of communication between the universities and the practice placements.
I also acknowledge the suggestion that students be more self-directed but this is often more easily said than done, and in my experience is often suggested by mentors that dont have the time to sit down with you and answer your questions(though no inference is meant). It is very difficult to be self-directed when you dont know what your learning opportunities are and in some cases neither does your mentor. Your proactive approach in providing your students with a list of learning opportunities is sadly not taken by all placements, but I for one would strongly advocate for it.
As a third year student, I'd say the issue is not that students refuse to get involved with personal care but that ward staff don't know what to do with students when they are on placement so use them as a spare HCA.
The statement given by the student in the main article makes perfect sense to me. Students arrive on a ward armed with a list of learning objectives that need to be achieved whilst on placement and spend much of the time being used as a spare HCA. We students dont want to complain or alienate ourselves from our colleagues so we get on with it but then it starts coming towards the end of our placement and it becomes apparant that we are not going to complete our learning objectives as all we have done since arriving on placement is "clean up poo". This is when we are forced to have to focus ourselves and refuse to do some of the basic bedside care so that we can achieve what we have been sent there to do.
In my opinion, there is a massive failing in the way Universities and placements communicate with each other. Mentor's never seem to understand the students paperwork or what they are and are not allowed to do whilst on that placement. I've arrived on placements and been allocated mentors that are annual leave for 3 weeks, i've been allocated mentors that have had no mentor training, i've been allocated mentors that are so disillusioned with the NHS that they actively encourage me to rebel and tell me that they are going to sign off all my learning objectives regardless of whether i even turn up to placement because "its all b*****ks now anyway".
Nursing mentors need to be given formal positions where they are sent on yearly training to learn the students paperwork and what they are expected to teach their students, given protected time during the working week to spend time with their students and paid a subsidary (much in the way that social working mentors are) to provide the motivation to do the job and reward the effort they are putting in.