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Nurses - stop slacking and get back to work


Nurses are lazy, sickie-taking slackers who are about to bring down the NHS. There, we said it.

How do you have time to read this column? Shouldn’t you be at work? Of course, you’ve pulled a sickie. You’ve probably got your feet up, Jeremy Kyle on the telly, and Beyond the Bedpan on your laptop.

Well we hope you’re proud of yourself, slacking off while your hard-working colleagues suffer the consequences of your laziness.

We’ve got news for you. You are costing the NHS £1.7bn every year. Things are going to get pretty tight as the effects of the recession kick in and the health service is forced to tighten its belt. You know how politicians keep banging on about ‘efficiency’? They are talking about you.

Curling up with a tub of ice cream while your trust foots the bill is not considered efficient. Carry on, and you’ll have Dave Cameron, Gordon Brown or that other bloke dragging you back to work by the ear. Do we make ourselves clear?

This may seem harsh, but the figures don’t lie, and we have it on good authority that NHS staff sickness is 50% higher than private sector workers.

You’re letting yourselves down, you’re letting the NHS down and, worst of all, you’re letting Beyond the Bedpan down.

Yeah we know being a nurse is more stressful and physically demanding than some private sector jobs.

And we also know that everything we’ve said so far is a load of rubbish, that the NHS ‘sicknote culture’ is a myth, and that nurses are in fact struggling into work while ill out of loyalty to patients and colleagues. Still, it’s no excuse.


Readers' comments (60)

  • I don't think it is appropriate to make a joke about this sort of thing, as nurses we work hard and do not deserve people giving us a hard time, we get enough of that in work. This article is in poor taste.

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  • Anonymous, that sounds to me like a guilty conscience. Don't get me wrong I know there are some fantastic nurses out there. They do not deserve to be tarred with the same brush as those less fantastic nurses.
    Admit it, we all work with some very poor nurses, as well as some fantastic ones.
    And it is those poor nurses (often slackers that want an easy shift) that are generally the ones that think nothing of pulling a sickie because they can't be "bothered" leaving the rest of us to struggle on because we have a sense of obligation - to our patients and our colleagues.

    And to clarify I think the same can be said of all professionals - firemen, doctors, secretaries, lawyers.... There are good and bad and the bad leave the good to deal with the consequences of their actions...

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  • Our sick time may be higher, but the majority of us, i suggest, struggle into work sick, well, good or bad weather and receive no extra thanks. Sick time is increased because of all that is expected from us at no extra pay and permanent beating of the stick to get on with it, and typically, nurses do. I have struggled into work unwell as have my colleagues rather than let my patients down and having struggled into work with a back problem for 3 months before being signed off sick I also think the article is in bad taste as i have worried and felt guilty daily at the colleagues and patients i have let down.

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  • I currently work on a ward that is running on 50% less staff than it should be. The nurses have little support and at most times pressure to discharge and admit is overwhelming. Breaks are rarely taken due to the workload. There is hardly time to get a drink, go to the toilet let alone eat something. This is awful bearing in mind many nurses work long days from 7am to 9pm.
    Everyone over time has ended up exhausted and had illness. Most still come to work not wanting to let anyone down.

    Having worked in the private sector it is obvious why they don't have the same sickness problems.. Staffing and workload issues are miniscule compare to the NHS. Managers are supportive unlike the bullying tactics of many NHS managers.

    This article has actually angered me. There are so many people putting NHS nurses down, while noone is looking at the standard of the working environment and work pressure put on them by management and the government that just wants to save money while working all NHS employers like dogs!

    How about the people standing up for nurses for a change and pushing for better working conditions, better staffing levels which will lead to better patient care.
    Oh yeah.... It may cost money to do that!!

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  • I read this at home. I am not at work. I worked 2 nights on Monday and Tuesday. In those 12 hour shifts, I never had a chance to take a break. I went to toilet once a shift. I asked for help on Monday night and I had a mouthful from my manager the following day for asking for help. I was told that I should just get on with it because our ward can not afford extra help. On Tuesday I had to get on with it, I am still very tired. When I woke up this morning, my husband and son had already left for the day. I did not hear them leave the house. I just managed to have a meal with my family this evening. I feel very dehydrated and very tired. I just took some paracetamol for aches and pains. I will call sick if I don't get better overnight. I don't drink, I don't party. So please, do not brush all nurses with this nonsense that nurse are lazy, sickies. Does the NHS look at why good nurses get sick. The NHS want to cut the salary sheet by overworking those alreay on the job, guesss what, cutting corners only ends up expensive. The over worked, unappreciated nurse will eventually take off-sick. Because they are sick up to their ears and tired of the nonsense of being overworked.

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  • I have just worked the week from hell. no breaks in 10+ hour days (meant to be 7.5).
    I have barely seen my children all week, have a caseload three times greater than recommended for my type of work.
    I have not had a day off sick in 6 years....please do not tar us all with the same brush. Oh yes, and I frequently also work on my days off just so my patients don't suffer because I don't have time to do everything in work time.This article is very offensive to the vat majority of hard-working dedicated nurses.

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  • What a load of moanining minnies and none of you appear to have a sense of humour which the author was trying to portray. If you dont like it go find another job I'd say. it is possible you would have difficulty passing an interview, and you can't have less staff unless you make them all lose weight you mean fewer staff

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  • Sorry, I am too tired to even considerer this clap trap. Show me the evidence- all of it, the whole gory picture! I'm sure this was written to stimulate debate, looking at previous comments all it has served to do is stir up anger. Myself, well I might consider working in an area where there is less sickness, where the staff are cared about!

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  • Latterlife Midwife

    This is really sad. The writer posted this on April Fool's Day, for one. Second, it's tongue-in-cheek! He's quoting what many misguided people out in the public and maybe even the government think about many of us who struggle daily to give the nursing care people deserve but don't always get. He's not the enemy!

    Maybe many of you were too tired to read to the end and missed the clues along the way - the tone of the article says it all.
    "And we also know that everything we’ve said so far is a load of rubbish, that the NHS ‘sicknote culture’ is a myth, and that nurses are in fact struggling into work while ill out of loyalty to patients and colleagues. Still, it’s no excuse."

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  • It's not worth commenting on this article. If it's meant as an April fool joke then shame on you Gabriel Fleming for writing it.
    All nurses work hard and tirelessly for the NHS with little reward!

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