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?