Did you miss the latest #WeNurses chat discussing how patient stories can improve nursing? Let us sum it up for you…
Throughout the course of my career I have, on occasion, come across nurses who are not up to scratch, those who have upset patients and those who are just having a bad day. I don’t think that this is uncommon - it is something we have all come across from time to time. But do we ever really consider the impact that this has on our patients - not just a fleeting consideration but time spent really understanding our patients point of view?
This week’s #WeNurses Twitter chat was based around a blog post called “Bad Nurse” by Wendy Lee (@therealbaglady). Wendy’s blog is an emotional bittersweet account of how she responded to poor nursing and the impact that a bad nurse had on her.
@AnnieCoops, who suggested the chat, stated “I proposed that chat for 2 reasons: 1 so we consider impact and 2 so we listen to pt stories of experience”
This chat started by asking what everyone’s initial thoughts after reading @therealbaglady’s blog?
@EnglishforNurse tweeted “Poor nursing has a huge impact on patient’s well being. And consequently on patient’s quick recovery.”
@DGFoord said “Poor nursing can have the ultimate worst consequence for patients” and went on to say “If nurse gives incorrect advice/info/causes uneccessary delay can have disastrous effects & can cause poor experience”
@samw1980 added “Nurses need to be held accountable for there poor attitudes and lack of compassion not just if they make a more ‘physical’ error”
@anniecoops then asked an interesting question that caused some debate “What I don’t really understand is that the other nurse that Wendy told equally took no responsibility #guiltybyomission?”
@PaulStudentMHN responded “The stigma of reporting is an issue that needs to be addressed”
@TheRealBaglady answered “To be fair, I kind of told her rather than asking her for any kind of help.”
@DGFoord added “Do we (& the NMC) have confidence that most nurses are aware of duty and way to report?”
@nursemaiden then said “No I have recently questioned nurses on their duty of care and why not reporting”
@samw1980 replied “Yeah any others nurse could have got a grip of the situation and told him it was unacceptable”
@PaulStudentMHN tweeted “Its both the patient and the nurse who could bare the negative consequence of reporting. (Objective not personal)”
To which @TheRealBaglady said “Yes. I’d be uncomfortable on the ward if I was an in-patient and I’d reported him, tho he was agency not staff” and then added “Also, as a pt you feel vulnerable and in a position of weakness. You wonder if you’re imagining it ..”
@nursemaiden tweeted “Elderly patients have told me as a visitor they are too scared to complain incase affects their care”
During the chat @AdamRoxby had a rather interesting idea: “I see signs in the corridors which say ‘Its Ok to ask’ but that’s just about hand washing”
@DGFoord responded “That is/was a great campaign, but can the principles be translated to other concerns about care?”
@AdamRoxby added “It might take some work but I would like to think so. There was that ‘no blame’ thing for a while but I’m dubious”
@samw1980 tweeted “There has recently been a drive on dignity/respect and a similar ‘ask me’ campaign could fit in well”
@TheRealBaglady raised concerns “I think it’s dangerous. I wouldn’t want it suggested that my nursing care may be flawed. That’s scary”
@DGFoord explained “Yes, it could be great, but needs positioning carefully to maintain general confidence in nurses”
@TheRealBaglady responded “Really carefully. I can’t imagine how awful it would be to have to think your care might not be up to the job”
@EnglishforNurse also raised concerns: “We strongly believe we cannot leave it up to the pt’s - it is up to us to police ourselves!”
As the discussion came to an end @WeNurses asked “What can we take away from Wendy’s story to impact our own areas and care?”
@anniecoops tweeted “@janemcunnings ‘c’ s important here. Always act with compassion and courage.”
@MandyHollis3 said “We can’t change Wendy’s experience but can all commit to change experience of others. Start with self as role model” she went on to say “We need people like Wendy to share expierences, personal stories are most powerful”
@PaulStudentMHN tweeted “That we should treat all as if they were family”
@DGFoord stated “Also important to treat patients as THEY want to be treated & not to make assumptions”
@samw1980 said “To be respectful & have courage of our convictions in the care we give. Stand up & be counted when we know something is not right”
@nursemaiden then added “Said before, nursing is a privilege and a window into a persons life at their most vulnerable time. We must cherish it”
Wendy Lee’s “Bad Nurse” blog is one of the most eye opening accounts that I have ever read. Her powerful story is one that all nurses should read and it is one that had me laughing, crying and outraged all at once.
Nurses who are poor at nursing do exist and though thankfully they are, in my experience, in the minority, we do need to be aware of the impact that they have on our patients. We need to be able to recognise what is happening and support, protect and empower our patients, whilst at the same time have the courage to take action ourselves.
This #WeNurses chat took a small step in showing the importance and the power behind patients’ stories and how they can improve nursing if we take the time to listen.
Teresa Chinn is a nurse, a blogger and social media specialist and leads the #WeNurses discussions for WeNurses. Follow @WeNurses on Twitter.