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EDITOR’S COMMENT

'Compassionate care is alive and well in the NHS'

  • 15 Comments

This is the last printed issue of the year and I am determined to make my editor’s view positive as we head into the season of goodwill.

Now that is a fairly hard task considering the year that nursing has had in 2013. There have been blame games, unfortunate examples about poor care, negativity about the profession and it has often felt that there has been little to be positive about.

But last week, I visited University Hospitals of North Staffordshire and I saw first-hand how phenomenal leadership, and caring, compassionate nursing is alive and well in the NHS, despite the stories we’ve heard this year.

I was shown lots of impressive innovations, such as organising the wards to be more dementia friendly. But what seemed to be the common theme underlying these was that the chief nurse Liz Rix was empowering her nursing team to do or change things, if it was the right thing to do for the patient.

This sounds so obvious doesn’t it? But does that always guide every decision made in healthcare provision?

Nurses should not shy away from telling their leaders what is going on, but those leaders need to listen and ensure they are not remote or inaccessible

Ms Rix gives all the credit to her teams, and they say they couldn’t have done it without her. Doubtless, both perspectives are right.

Nurses should not shy away from telling their leaders what is going on, but those leaders need to listen and ensure they are not remote or inaccessible. And in return, nurses must ditch the cynicism and stop believing that everyone in a senior position is a bureaucratic machine.

I am sure there are other chief nurses as successful as Ms Rix, but the moment I will take away is when all her senior nursing team told me, unprompted, how much energy, passion and delight she had brought to her role and the trust.

There are great nurses like Ms Rix and her team all over the UK, and we should not forget that when nursing has had such a difficult year.

Well done to all of you providing excellent nursing care, especially in this, the toughest of all years.

● This may be the last paper magazine of the year, but don’t worry, there are two other special online issues, which we will email out to registered users and subscribers, so you can still get your regular weekly fix of Nursing Times. And don’t forget nursingtimes.net is here 24/7 with a vast array of news and clinical practice pieces. See nursingtimes.net to sign up to our e-newsletters.

Jenni Middleton, editor

jenni.middleton@emap.com. Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed

  • 15 Comments

Readers' comments (15)

  • Hats off to Liz Rix. Good to hear about good strong leadership. May it permeate through all trusts.


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  • judith willis | 10-Dec-2013 8:56 pm

    Hats off to Liz Rix. Good to hear about good strong leadership. May it permeate through all trusts.

    I second that. This is what is needed in the NHS and it has been absent for too long.

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  • I would like to hear from nurses working in North Staffordshire to corroborate this. I hope it's true and will be first to applaud if it is. However, NT reported on a scheme launched in some Trust (the name of which I can't remember) about a bunch of nurse leaders and some henchmen going around their trust, like a flying squad, with silly t-shirts, getting printers and other longstanding issues 'fixed'. NT felt it was fitting to sing the praises of a scheme for which (if the management had been doing their jobs) there should have been no need! Staff posted comments following the article to express their dissatisfaction with the ongoing failures of their managers and painted a very different picture to the one NT portrayed from speaking to 'senior nurses'.

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  • I am a nurse at the UHNS, working in an amazing but exhausted team which has been torn apart and trampled upon by a recent Management of Change. We are working 12hr+ shifts without breaks due to increased patient load and struggling to deliver the level of care that we want and need to give.
    Compassionate care IS well and truly alive in our unit but support from management any higher than the amazing Sisters that I work with is non existent; only criticism that we are failing audits, not completing paperwork, telling us off for having drinks on the unit, etc.

    annoyed!

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  • Anonymous | 13-Dec-2013 4:37 pm
    from
    Anonymous | 13-Dec-2013 8:39 am

    Thanks. I thought that someone like yourself would bear out the reality.

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  • 12 hour shifts without breaks and complaints for drinks on the unit?! I hope you have contacted the RCN/Unison. Or perhaps once a nurse has collapsed on the ward due to dehydration/exhaustion they will actually do something to facilitate breaks. This will sound stupid, but have you tried telling em that you are going to go for your breaks at such and such a time and that this will put patients at risk? You are legally allowed to have breaks. If the ward is understaffed it is a MANAGEMENT ISSUE. They will have to take responsibility. Not the nurse who has gone for her well earned break!

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  • "And in return, nurses must ditch the cynicism and stop believing that everyone in a senior position is a bureaucratic machine."

    Interesting viewpoint from a nursing publication which as seen fit to launch a Speak Out Safely Campaign!

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  • tinkerbell

    mags | 14-Dec-2013 1:47 pm

    Mags

    don't think you were meant to spot that!

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  • Liz Rix's senior team will be the department Matrons who do not work at ward level so I'm sure they may feel supported by her but at ground level we most certainly dont.

    It is due to our compassion that we put up with the lack of breaks. I work in a critical care area and leaving the unit would put lives at risk, a situation that I feel we are already under due to the 'extra' patients that we keep squeezing in due to bed pressure.

    Many of us are concerned for the safety of our patients but don't know what we can do.

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 14-Dec-2013 3:23 pm
    'Many of us are concerned for the safety of our patients but don't know what we can do'.

    Get together with the rest of your concerned colleagues and send a joint email to your chief executive outlining the 'danger' to your patients

    Cut out the middle man and go straight to to the top and send c.c. to other supposedly interested parties. Sit back and watch what happens.

    Go on, you and your colleagues can create positive change if you are united.

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