The prime minister’s call to reduce the amount of paper-work so that nurses have time to care is of course joyous news.
Mr Cameron is going to give nurses more time to check if John is in pain, more time to take Rosie to the toilet and to talk to Peter about his anxieties. What’s not to like?
Well if you have more regular checks on patients, then you’ll need more nurses to do it. While trusts are slashing nursing numbers it’s not going to be easy to keep up with the present list of tasks. I’ve read hundreds of comments on Twitter, spoken to nurses and noted the comments on our website. No nurse prefers to fill in a form rather than talk to a patient. But in all cases, they recognise that they need to be properly resourced to ensure that they can “reset the approach to healthcare”.
The government’s idea is that it will achieve this by encouraging remaining trusts to take up the Productive Ward programme by April 2013, helping nurses to release time to care just as has been achieved in over 60% of acute trusts, and a Nursing Quality Forum will road test and roll out what’s working in hospitals. But news that there will also be patient inspections of hospitals, a friends and family test and intentional rounding will send many senior nurses running to their keyboards to thrash out reports on how much of these proposals they already do, what they can implement by when and what the likely impact will be. However, the government is at least acknowledging that a lot of nursing is great (take note, tabloid press). It’s recognising initiatives such as Productive Ward are worth supporting and it’s stating that nurse leadership is essential - something that, hopefully,will elevate nursing’s position in the multidisciplinary team.
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