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Documentary focuses on 'reality' of being NHS nurse

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The nursing profession has come under further public scrutiny this week with the broadcast of a Channel 4documentary. 

The current affairs series Dispatches was due to broadcast a programme on Monday titled Confessions of a Nurse. The programme looked at the ‘reality’ for nurses working in the health service, and whether patient care was being compromised in NHS hospitals.

A spokesperson for Channel 4 told Nursing Times that while the programme included a case study from Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust it had not been commissioned specifically with this trust in mind.

However, the transmission date had been altered to coincide with the publication of the Healthcare Commission’s report on the trust, the spokesperson said.

The main focus of the programme was a survey showing that almost one in three nurses were being prevented from doing their jobs properly because of long hours and exhaustion.

Commissioned by Channel 4, the YouGov survey of over 1,000 nurses and midwives revealed that 70% felt understaffing prevented them from doing their job properly, and more than half felt permanently exhausted.

The survey also revealed some worrying statistics on patient safety. Almost 60% of the A&E nurses surveyed said they had witnessed situations where patients’ lives had been put in unnecessary danger, and over 80% of midwives said their workload had sometimes been too heavy for them to be able to look after their patients properly.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Wards are very short staffed especially in medical and elderly care. Staff nurses are having to manage half a ward of patients each in busy acute areas. The money put in to the NHS is not going to the grass roots it is just supplying middle managers that dont make a difference where it counts. Patients are at risk in most NHS hospitals because of shortages of staff due to over work, overload and soring sickness levels. Infection rates will not be met until staff shortages are addressed. The money that government ministers claim for 2nd homes could provide 3 or more staff nurses each on our hospital wards.

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