Mark Radcliffe's stories
So I’m being tortured by a sports physiotherapist and trying not to scream.
I have just got back from Iceland. Yes the country. I know, get me. If you haven’t been then I do suggest you put it on the list. It’s lovely. We saw frozen waterfalls, glaciers, geysers, hot lagoons and loads of beards
I was 27 when I began nursing. I had a degree in philosophy, and lived in a low-rent social housing flat. I actually applied for mental health nursing, speech therapy and social work all at the same time. I felt it was time to do something ‘useful’ and get out of my head, which was full of nonsense and easily distracted by stories and songs
I’m going to write about student nurse drop out rates and I will almost definitely get to that in a moment. First, I need to say something about the word ‘passion’ or more importantly, the fact that so many people use it when they are not referring to the fruit, ‘the suffering or death of Jesus’ or the ‘strong and barely controllable emotion’
I rarely write about the Royal College of Nursing.
I’ll do the maths. By 5 January 2018, the closing date for UCAS, there had been 32,520 applications to study nursing. A year before there had been 48,230; that means 15,710 fewer people applied to do nursing in 2018. If that trend continues there will be around 16,810 people applying to study nursing in 2019. In 2020 there will be 12. Twelve people will apply to study nursing
Rightly or wrongly sometimes first impressions linger – or at least their shadows do. When I first came into nursing over 30 years ago I didn’t really notice the Royal College of Nursing. I was a mental health nurse and didn’t feel we were their type back then. They liked people who ironed vigorously and listened to Phil Collins; when they looked at us they saw people who played pool with their patients and called it work.
I realise that as a columnist I shouldn’t say this but I try to avoid the news as much as I can. I have for a couple of years now. I don’t really like it and I find it doesn’t help me to live my life.
I ’m not sure it has ever been harder to be a nurse. I may get a letter from someone reminding me how difficult those first few weeks of the Crimean War were, and there may even be a few romantics from the 1950s anxious to remind us that in the old days student nurses had to hand wash and iron the whole of Wolverhampton before they were allowed to speak. But let’s face it – it is harder today than ever and it’s probably worth wondering why we are letting that be the case.
Call me unpatriotic but I have always been confused by the word “Great” in Great Britain. Ironically it may be that I am just very British in my coyness when it comes to self-praise? Or it may be that it never really felt earned? I don’t think all the other countries got together and said, “you know who’s Great? Britain, that’s who. With it’s quaint red pillar-boxes and its willingness to tolerate Richard Branson. Let’s call her Great Britain from now on”. And even though Australia, ...