I qualified 'only' 30 years ago but recall feeling safe and looked after by my employer. Nurses enjoyed a high level of tangible respect from the public and patients alike but we had earned it. It was rare to see a nursing assistant on the wards: we mainly had qualified enrolled nurses as well as pupil/student nurse learners.
Sisters and staff nurses did the more complicated tasks and would formally order the rest of us off the ward at lunch/supper and home time to ensure we complied with breaks etc. We did not even know the first names of these Sisters or Senior Staff nurses and would not have dreamed of using them even if we had!
We had specific 'staff only' parts of the canteen, well away from the workplace where no patient, relative or visitor was permitted: we could talk freely about our shift without fear of being overheard by the public. Even our laundry was done (one uniform for every day of the week - what a luxury).
We did do internal rotation but it was well planned and spaced out - not like now where staff so often do all three shifts in a single week!
It was a physically hard job in the days before manual handling legislation and we worked a 42 hour week. There was a strict hierarchy & routine but everyone knew where they were and what they were supposed to be doing at any given time: including patients and visitors!
Notwithstanding the mists of nostalgia - there are lessons to be learned from the past which could be applied to the present.
Most sad of all, student nurses nowadays miss out on the formative experience of a 'safe haven' School of Nursing on which to build a solid foundation to support their professional career: culminating in the pride & prestige of having earned the right to wear their training school 'badge' once qualified. Mine was the Wolfson School of Nursing of Westminster.
Comment on: 'Are the Francis recommendations comprehensive?'
Is it because your remit is to write about Nursing that you have concentrated your comments upon that profession or is it because the report says nothing about the other 'professions' who inhabit hospitals and work directly with patients? Physio, O.T.s , ward pharmacists and, of course, doctors of every level?
Are nurses being scapegoated (again) or should every professional person who worked at Staffs be looking to their laurels?
I am worried that we are not being given the picture in context - is my profession really entirely to blame for what happend at that most unfortunate place?
Whilst there is no 'Good Samaritan' legislation in this country - the 'duty of care' is enshrined in our code of ethics.
Civil law also recognises 'duty of care' and the land outside of the A&E dept would have been deemed 'hospital premises' in the same way that the land inside the A&E is 'on the premises'.
You cannot force a patient to remain on site - this would be kidnap or false imprisionment - so the patient must take responsiblity for leaving and not telling anyone.
Whilst it would appear that once staff where made aware of the situation, they failed to respond to it - in this country, one is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law - so lets be careful not to prejudge.
Comment on: 'I find it really hard to say no to patients'
"tough love" is a good phrase but may be seen as unprofessional terminology by some.
What you are doing Natalie & others is 'empowering' , 'facilitating', 'enabling' and 'supporting' your patients. The line between a patient's or a relative's 'needs' and their 'desires' is often a thin one filled with pychological ambiguity - this is where the art of nursing accentuates the science.
Comment on: A&E waits getting longer, warns regulator
Mike - you are correct: most WiC have closed (I did my undergraduate degree dissertation on these in 2004). Some have gone completely, some have been taken over privately, some have gone to primary care - others have morphed into local A&E minors or MIUs.
My own became an Urgent Care Centre 2 years ago and currently, we have been moved into a broom cupboard in the local A&E (whilst still primary care organisation) with a view to TUPE.