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Mid Staffs nurses face fresh criticism after Facebook food fight


Two nurses from Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust posted photos of themselves on Facebook having a food fight in a clinical area around a month after the trust received scathing criticism over standards from the Healthcare Commission.

Pictures of the incident, thought to have taken place last May, were posted on Facebook in December but removed soon after, when the trust found out.

Trust chief executive Antony Sumara said: “We will not tolerate unprofessional behaviour by any of our staff.

“As soon as we were made aware of the photos in December 2009 we launched an investigation and appropriate action was taken.

“The Facebook content was removed immediately and we issued a reminder to all our staff about the appropriate use of social networking sites.”


Readers' comments (41)

  • Sandra I do not agree with your view regarding university educated nurses. I have a nursing degree and during my student placements it was always commented on that my clinical skills and professional attitude were exemplary. I would suggest this was more to do with me as an individual and not the way I was trained. Those who behave inappropriately or who deliver sub-standard care, in my opinio would do so regardless of how they were trained. The paying peanuts to get monkeys comment is offensive and you cannot generalise in such a way.
    Posting this kind of thing on facebook is stupid especially given the issues at North Staffs. As professionals we all need to be mindful of posting comments and photos on sites such as these.

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  • Sandra really? ! This is in no way a reflection of where nurses are trained. I was educated in university and give my patients nothing but exemplerary care (i hope). I would like to think that is a reflection of how i was brought up by my parents and my general make-up as a human being in how i apply morals and standards to my life.

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  • I agree with Sandra. Standards of nursing care really have taken a nose-dive over the last 10 years. I too blame universities who are churning out thousnads of uncaring nurses lacking in compassion. I myself trained in the 70's and discipline was much harsher then with matrons who acted like matrons and sister's who acted like sisters and above all staff nurses who were proud to be called a nurse and be at the arm of the doctor.

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  • The issue isn't as much about the actual incident as much as it was brought to public attention by a social networking site. More and more people are discovering that far from being an area of enhanced free speech it is fertile ground for employers to bring pressure to bear on workers where they feel it is justified. Social networking is not dangerous - the people who post the content are.

    In addition I was a nurse for twenty five years and there were dozens of practical jokes or hi jinks played - often involving patients. For crying outloud I was even subjected to a grottagram on the ward when I left one job, did that make people unprofessional? Of course not. Perspective is required, and things will get dragged out of perspective when things are already going badly in a Trust and when events become more public. And for the record, I was not University educated so jolly japes pre-date Project 2000 by a long long way.

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  • So universities control the way sisters and matrons behave? Funny because I thought it was the NHS that they worked for.

    University education isn't perfect but it isn't the route of all evil that gets suggested every time something goes wrong.
    Just remember every "bad nurse" that qualifies has passed their placements during their training - in practice not the university.

    Until as a profession we take ownership of our students on placement and ensure that they witness and learn from good practice nothing will change.

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  • A food fight in a clinical area! Was it just someone throwing a bread roll or was a real mess made? If the latter, how easy was it to clean up?
    I'm not a nurse but work in a hospital. I don't think that the behaviour of these nurses has anything to do with where they trained or how they were trained. My concern is that this immature behaviour might lead to a lack of trust by patients in the nurses' ability to perform their duties and would therefore reflect adversely on their professionalism. The types of 'pranks' mentioned by others above were relatively harmless, this was potentially rather more serious.

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  • move with the times... I hope both nurses were issued written warnings. V unprofessional. And no, I am not initially uni based. And yes, we are on the forefront of a crumbling health system. Wake up.

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  • Also, health and safety of staff and public. That is serious. In view to rules and regulations, Occ health and safety and safety and well being of pts is a much needed legal requirement. So, on the point of hosp v's uni based training, what does it matter. Why is this discussion being focused on method of training. WE are all 'professionals'.... we are in the 21st centuary.... not a kindy play ground.

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  • Putting this on a public site was either stupid or the ultimate in trouble causing

    Again I say - if you werent there or havent seen the pictures - you cant comment. It might have been in the staff room - we dont know

    Serious - to who ??? lack of trust by patients - possible - or even in the right context they might have thought it funny ??

    Linked to the way nurses are trained ? I dont think so.

    Clean it up - Im sure they did.

    Strict Sisters or Matrons in the 70s - still threw you in the bath when you were leaving and could have a laugh.
    I am a Matron and there is a time and a place for serious professional behaviour - but there is also room the let off steam and have a laugh - if not we would all crack up - we have very stressful jobs and we are human too.

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  • this whole issue is about the use of facebook! the food fight- whilst not professional but as someone else has commented- we do not know to what extent this was, where it was and whether the staff were on a break away from the patient area- it is the fact that it was entered onto the web.
    the NMC has offerred guidence on the use of social networking- maybe this needs to be more explicit for some.
    As a scout leader, we use facebook but have a differrent log in name for the young members to be friends with- this allows us to regulate what we put on for them to see- the adult conversations and personal pictures are then kept as just that- whilst the young members can share with us and we can share appropriate materials and conversations with them.

    maybe the NMC should take advise from such organisations

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