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'Patients must always be the top priority'

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As an ‘old school’ nurse I find patients are becoming less important. People who have a longing to become a nurse – I knew from the age of 12 – usually have a natural ability to care and have the patience and compassion necessary to be a good nurse.

But these days many nursing students have a misconception of nursing. This is, in part, due to the soaps and programmes on television that glamorise nursing, thus stimulating young people into romantic illusions with regards to the profession.

It seems to me that all some nursing students think about is the next assignment – and the patient in the bed needing encouragement, treatment and care becomes a stepping stone to that next assignment.

While I realise that standards and good practices must be maintained, patients must be the priority.

Nurses need to realise that they have no divine right to rush off shift at the allotted time. It won’t always happen. In a regular job you may be able to finish work on time but, in nursing, if you are in the middle of a patient-related task, you cannot just drop everything and leave when your shift ends.

Nursing is a vocation and for those with the right attitude it can be a very fulfilling and rewarding one.

Nurses are a breed of people who should share a common aim – the well-being and care of their patients.

Working within the guidelines of their organisation, nurses should be caring, compassionate and have the dedication needed for their patients. This will allow the patients to have faith and respect for all the work the nurses are doing for them.

For all nursing students, the hustle and bustle of everyday life on the wards and the need to complete assignments
should not override the care of the patients.

Suzanne Bordiak, RGN, is a health and social care teacher.

Want to read more of Listen Up? Just click on the 'more by this author' link at the top of the page.

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