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'Patient care can only be improved by challenging the status quo'


Do you get as much respect as your fellow healthcare professionals? Or, if you’ve been working in nursing a long time, as much respect as you used to get for the job you do?

Recently, I wrote a piece on this site about the fact that nursing had to stand up for itself in the face of this onslaught of attacks from the current government, around pay, conditions, and removal of the bursary. It’s one of the pieces that I have received the most response to – and the sentiment I raised clearly struck a chord with many of you.

One nurse telephoned me, in confidence, to tell me she agreed with the piece and she felt at the bottom of the ladder at her trust.

She felt the tone taken by other health professionals such as social workers and medics on the ward was dismissive of her and her nursing colleagues.

She recounted to me a particular incident where she had challenged someone she did not know on the ward, and they had refused to tell her who they were.

Turns out the unknown visitor on the ward was a social worker, who just felt that they did not need to “justify” their presence to the nurses on the ward. The nurse who called me told me that she expected a social worker to be mindful of the necessities of safeguarding patients while in hospital, and was shocked that she had been treated so dismissively when asking a simple question.

”What sort of world do we live in where nurses are treated as lower class health professionals?”

She told me that the issues stemmed from nurses having no voice, no political power and no willingness to fight anymore, because, well was it really worth it?

What was worse was that she felt terrified that someone would know she had complained to me, so I promised to keep her identity and that of the trust where she worked completely between us.

What sort of world do we live in where nurses are treated as lower class health professionals? Patient care can only be improved by nurses having the ability to challenge and change the status quo. Patients can only be given a safe, high-quality care experience if their nurses are freely able to articulate what is the best course of action for them.

If you want to do the best for your patients, you have to first fight for the recognition that your opinion is a credible one worth hearing. Many nurses have given up on making that case.

What has happened to the profession that it is now too afraid to be the very thing it should be – an advocate for the patients?



Readers' comments (2)

  • Firstly the social worker visiting the ward should have been wearing an ID badge and the nurse had every right to report to someone more senior if this person refused to identify themselves!

    I have issues with nurses of so many varying grades who call themselves nurses.
    I for one do not want to discussing my health with a local lass who is a HCA, what right has he/she to be involved in my sharing my personal information.
    Sad to say confidentiality ion the NHS is a joke, there is no confidentiality and out private information appears to be shared with anyone that can stick on an NHS badge.
    Local taxi drivers collect blood samples and take them to a private clinic, every sample includes all the patients private details.
    Local kids work as HCA's, they may be our neighbours, do we really wants them knowing about our personal lives, I certainly don't!
    Respect for nurses, well a few basic good manners would not go amiss, introduce themselves, be polite, try a little smile, it works wonders.
    Then we have the scruffy nurses, can't remember when they last combed their hair!
    Nurses whose uniforms fit where the touch, they look gross.
    The best joke of all was when I had a nurse in a very dictatorial manner, stressing the importance of losing weight I being about half a stone over my ideal weight where she was so heavy she would require a trip to a builders yard to be weighed.
    If nurses want to be treated with respect, then so do the patients. It is clear that many nurses have lost interest in the role, they clearly don't care, and it is the patient that bears the brunt of their dissatisfaction in their role.

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  • The nurse who phoned Jenni if you are reading this, I would have thrown my arms around and hugged you and told you how important you are and how much I respect you if I knew you. Please look after yourself as you are needed.

    To all nurses reading this, please remember I always respect you and know how wonderful you all are. I know this isn't very much as I do not work in the NHS or in health itself but when you have get fed up, get trodden upon or are bullied, always know there are people out there who care and love you.

    Please look after yourselves.


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