Nurses should stop attempting to defend the profession against charges of poor standards and accept responsibility for trying to make things better.
Nurses should stop attempting to defend the profession against charges of poor standards and accept responsibility for trying to make things better. That’s the view of Mid Staffs chair Sir Stephen Moss. His point, made last week, was that nurses have the technical expertise and knowledge to look after patients but don’t recognise the importance of doing that with care and compassion.
I don’t believe that’s true of the majority of nurses. Ask them why they enter the profession and they certainly never say “to show off the size of my brain” or “to flex my prowess in practice”. Their motivation is always to make people better and, more crucially, to make people feel better - but this isn’t the perception of the public or senior managers. Sir Stephen says caring must be put higher up the curriculum, but if someone needs to be schooled in how to show kindness, I suspect this isn’t the profession for them. Instinct must play a part in nursing at all times.
The unilateral cry from nurses is that they simply don’t have time to deploy their best bedside manner. Forced into fulfilling more administrative duties than ever before, they are too stretched to hold a patient’s hand. But it is unacceptable to forego what may be the most important part of the NMC Code: “Make the care of people your first concern, treating them as individuals and respecting their dignity.”
We all know the impact of compassion on recovery and wellbeing, so trusts and senior managers need to find ways of releasing time to care through Productive Ward and other initiatives. It is too vital to dismiss.
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