Having worked for 36 years in nursing I have never experienced such low morale. We have a barrage of nurses doing every single job you can think of, apart from looking after patients.
NICE guidelines mean nothing to some NHS trusts. The nurses are struggling to cope on the wards - I have worked for months, on nights, with just qualified agency nurses. Evidence-based tools with regards to staffing do not change a thing. NICE guidelines do not change a thing.
“We are still working one qualified nurse to 12 patients”
I could not recommend anybody taking up this profession whether they had to pay for it or not. Perhaps we should have kept the state enrolled nurses (SENs) who were the backbone of the NHS. Realising the mistake we have now decided to bring in a new role, the nursing associate - but it’s too little too late.
“My advice is get on the wards and help the nurses”
What happened at Mid Staffs may be about to happen again. To be honest I think it already has. We are still working one qualified nurse to 12 patients, support workers have been stopped doing observations, and that leaves the qualified nurse doing obs, drugs, patient checks, the drugs trolley, caring for poorly patients, counselling patients who are distressed, comforting relatives, admitting new patients - the list is endless! There are so many people who are sitting around coming up with ideas about how to make the NHS better, but my advice is get on the wards and help the nurses.
Kate Cooper, staff nurse on a medical ward