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Remember bank staff are real nurses too

After nearly 24 years in the profession, I still find myself dismayed at nurses’ attitudes towards qualified bank staff.

Having recently started at a new trust, I find myself received badly as a bank nurse.

Its policies regarding what a bank nurse can do vary from one ward to another and, it seems, from one day to another. The trust seems to take no direction from the bank office, which sets out competencies.

Why am I told that as a bank nurse I cannot give out so much as a paracetamol, then find myself administering IV drugs in another area?

I was actually told by a senior nurse that there was no point me shadowing her as I was
a bank nurse and ‘did not know anything’.

I was sent to that area by the lead nurse/matron who had asked me about my experience. I would be able to work there competently and independently and be an asset to that unit.

Another time, an elderly woman was waiting over an hour for a procedure. I offered to complete her treatment but was told I was bank so could not possibly have the skills.
Over five years ago, I wrote in a similar vein to NT, and provoked many responses. Why is this situation continuing?

Name and address supplied


Trust is not ignoring nurse shortages

Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust is not ignoring nurse shortages, as a nurse told delegates at the RCN’s annual general meeting (NT News, 6 November, p6).

The nurse suggested the service is unsafe, which is far from the truth. There is no endemic problem with staff shortages but there are times when ad hoc problems can arise, such as late notification of staff sickness or lateness.

We have very committed, professional and experienced clinical staff who are well placed to implement measures to ensure patient and staff safety.

The trust is clear that all staff should raise any concerns with line managers or complete incident forms. Suggesting this is a problem in line with the recent infection control issues at neighbouring Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells is wrong.

RCN general secretary Peter Carter has pledged to visit the trust and we will be delighted to give him the opportunity to meet staff and discuss these or any other issues. We are also looking forward to working with RCN stewards to ensure they are clear about the situation.

Peter Hasler
Director of nursing and modernisation
Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust


Chlormethiazole is dangerous with alcohol

In his article on alcohol misuse, Rob Harteveldt says ‘outside specialist units, treatment mostly consists of multivitamins and chlormethiazole’ (NT Opinion, 13 November, p10).

Chlormethiazole (Heminevrin) has not been prescribed in alcohol treatment for several years due to concerns about its safety. Combining it with alcohol has led to deaths due to respiratory depression.

Benzodiazepines, notably chlordiazepoxide, are advocated for safe alcohol detoxification in community or inpatient settings.

Beverley Harniman
Clinical nurse specialist – substance misuse
Villa Street Medical Centre


Thanks for absolutely nothing, everyone

In a review of nurses’ pay award, one word springs to mind.

On hearing of the award, nurses shouted how appalled they were, but did nothing.
The RCN got on its high horse, yet did nothing.

The government, while aware of the opinions of nurses who work in England, will do nothing.

When trusts break rules to ensure government targets are met, we as nurses do nothing.
I was notified of the 1.9% award at the same time that my water and council tax bills rose by 5%. What does the rise mean to me – nothing.

Jeremy Roberts
Senior staff nurse

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