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'The idea that meeting targets is more important than the actual patient - it should not be so'


We talk to Jennie Burch, enhanced recovery nurse facilitator at St Mark’s Hospital in Harrow, who has been a nurse for over 15 years.

Why did you decide to become a nurse?

After I went travelling around the world, I decided to change my career to nursing. I originally left school and undertook a four-year apprenticeship in electronic engineering.

Where did you train?

I trained in St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London.

What was your first job in nursing?

I worked first on a busy ward that specialised in colorectal, urological and breast surgery.

What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?

I am a bit too bossy and I think sometimes I need to curb this because it can get me into trouble.

From whom have you learnt most in your nursing career and why?

Some of my colleagues have been amazing role models, with their remarkable thoughts, wonderful plans and brilliant developments, but there have been too many of them to list them all.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the profession?

You need to keep an open mind to learning something new throughout your career as a nurse and be prepared to be flexible.

What keeps you awake at night?

I generally sleep well.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

When we have a multidisciplinary ward round and the patients are progressing well after their operations.

What’s your proudest achievement?

Writing and editing a book entitled Stoma Care with some fabulous people was my proudest achievement.

What do you think is likely to change nursing in the next decade?

The government and politicians. I hope for the better.

What job would you like to be doing in five years?

I love my role and I would like to develop this within the next five years.

What do you think makes a good nurse?

How can you answer this question in a sentence? Nurses need good communication skills, empathy, determination, compassion and aninterest in people, with the abilities to be adaptable and think on their feet.

If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?

The idea that meeting targets is more important than the actual patient - it should not be so.

What would your ideal weekend involve?

I love to spend time with my family and friends, particularly if the weather is good too.

If you could spend an hour in someone’s company, who would it be and why?

Marilyn Monroe. She affected so many lives and I would like to see how she managed that.


Readers' comments (2)

  • michael stone

    These 'targets' (or, probably, 'quality markers') are supposed to help people/organisations provide better patient care - if they are worsening patient care, they are worse than useless, and almost invariably are promoting something the DH never inetended !

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  • Targets/standards are fine we need them that's how the Tory massive waiting lists and other difficulties were tackled by labour from 1997 onwards. However it is a matter of how they are done that is so important -Now at work patient care is squeezed constantly by frantic managers being chased by other frantic managers to meet targets for the CQC. Managers who have not set foot in a ward for years to do hands on care, it's obvious they have no idea of the stresses and strains they are putting on the service. You would not mind but constant audits have to be done by those trying to do the caring as well, it's just not possible to do both - recently one such grandiose manager was asked to help and was swiftly despatched with "No No I don't do hands on any more!" Poor Patient listening in! She does not deserve to be on the register.
    Even in the middle of the night, I have to go around checking paper work, auditing and checking the cleanliness of commodes, seeing if shelves are tidy etc. Never mind the poor flipping patient.
    In my area I have been told things get so behind in the day that patients are commonly not up by lunch time as there are not enough staff to do so --- I hate nursing now and it is getting worse by the minute.

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