Beyond the Bedpan is appalled at the coverage of a cancer nurse being investigated for ‘inappropriate’ relationships with the partners of former patients. It’s an uncomfortable subject that raises some serious personal and professional questions. What do you think?
We all know the media loves a scandal, especially one involving sex and death. And definitely one involving sex, death and nurses. But Beyond the Bedpan can’t help but feel sorry for Sara Dale, a ‘shamed’ Macmillan cancer nurse who ‘cared for cancer-stricken wives - then bedded their husbands after they died’.
But don’t take the Sun’s word for it. The Mail took an equally sensitive line: ‘To the hundreds of terminally-ill patients she cared for, Sara Dale was a guardian angel providing advice and support… but she had relationships with three grieving widowers after their wives or partners died.’
You can picture the scene now - Nurse Dale prancing around in skimpy clothes, making eyes at vulnerable husbands while their terminally ill wives lay helpless. When the inevitable tragedy ocurred, she probably didn’t wait for the ink on the paperwork to dry before diving between the sheets with the grieving widowers.
Fair? Of course not. But why let one nurse’s reputation stand in the way of a good story? Armed with the simple sword of insinuation, the brave tabloid reporters have done their best to burden the public with yet more negative perceptions of the nursing profession.
The allegations against Miss Dale - made via an anonymous letter to her employers - claimed she had begun relationships with the former boyfriends and husbands of three women who had died from cancer.
An NMC investigation is pending. But some of the less salacious details of the ‘scandal’ are worth noting. There is no question that Miss Dale was a competent and caring nurse, or that any of the relationships started while the partners were still alive.
She is also keen to point out that she had two relationships, not three, and they were far from the sordid little affairs the headlines would have us believe. The first lasted ten years, while the second is with Miss Dale’s current long-term partner.
Is it wrong to suggest that the relationship between a nurse and a grieving relative would be a close one, and that such shared experience might sow the seeds for later friendship? Assuming that no professional protocols were broken, and that the interests of patients and relatives were respected, is there really a story here?
What do you think about this issue?
Where should the boundaries between nurses’ personal and professional lives be drawn? Have your say in the comments section below this article.