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'It's a disservice to most nurses if we use poor care to define the profession'

  • Comments (46)

A Mail online article which criticised the use of tabards also talked about a crisis in nursing. Detailing a story of poor care the author said: ‘Talk to anyone who’s spent time in an NHS hospital recently and, nine times out of ten, you’ll get a similarly unhappy story.’

I am not saying that the care she received was good. It does indeed sound unsatisfactory. However I do not think that experience can be extrapolated to stating that ‘nine time out of ten’ or indeed 90% of the nursing profession are providing below standard care. 

Nurses too long held the position of angel in the public mind. Nurses could do no wrong. When I was a student nurse we would sometimes get free taxi rides home to the nursing home as the driver would wax lyrical about the care a relative had received. However now the media has swung to the opposite position where nurses are ‘begrudging’, ‘uncaring’ and ‘slovenly’ as described here.

Of course the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

As much as the view of the angels was inaccurate – there were nurses giving bad care then as unfortunately there are now – so is the view today that 90% of nurses are giving poor care.

The majority of nurses are struggling to maintain standards of care with fewer numbers of qualified nurses per patients. Having to deliver more complex care for patients and deal with significant budget cuts is putting pressure on already stretched resources.

It is important that episodes of poor care are highlighted but it is a disservice and demoralising to the majority of nurses if we start to see those as defining the profession.

  • Comments (46)

Readers' comments (46)

  • Anonymous

    The media (and the general public to some extent) just seem to have a real downer on nurses at the moment. A visitor told his daughter (with quite clear knowledge I was within earshot) that she'd "end up doing some low job like a nurse if she didn't work hard at school"(!) Since when was nursing seen as such a lowly job???

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  • Anonymous

    do the RCN have any influence over all the bad press recently about nursing no longer being a caring profession recently published in the DT and the one mentioned above in the Mirror. I think such poor and cheapskate journalism is despicable and half of what is reported is taken totally out of context.

    I for one will no longer be reporting for duty!


    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/8728849/Nursing-is-no-longer-the-caring-profession.html



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  • Anonymous

    "Yesterday, a spokesman for the campaign group Patient Concern called the idea ‘grotesque and ridiculous’, adding that ‘if you can’t do more than one thing at once, you’re a pretty hopeless nurse’. No wonder a report by the health service ombudsman accused the NHS of ‘failing to meet even the most basic standards of care’."

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2031199/Nursing-tabards-tell-patients-disturb.html#ixzz1Wnwh7uux

    I am a one of those pretty hopeless nurses. I can't do more than one thing at a time (properly that is as I am only a human being with my limitations just like the very ordinary tinks in this campaign group and I run the potential risks of making a serious mistake just like any other). It is very difficult to carry out a drug round, answer to everybody demands and suddenly rush a bed pan to a patient or walk them often very slowly to the bathroom and back as well as helping them on and off the toilet or to change them. Therefore the best solution I can find to their problem is to leave them one nurse shorter before I risk make an error and having to leave minus my registration and with my tail between my legs - au revoir and no regrets from my side except at the bigoted, inflexible and intolerant attitudes of the public, management and the media, and especially the person who initiated this current childish argument against the tabard! I do give her some benefit of the doubt however as i see how the press have misconstrued the situation with totally irrelevant references to Florence Nightingale and have taken some quotes totally out of context in order to manipulate their text according to their 'journalistic licence'.

    I am not propounding that I am a great or very special nurse but I believe the loss of any nurse with a higher degree and years of broad knowledge and experience is a loss to the service and there are no great guarantees anymore of a replacement.

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  • Anonymous

    Why this picture shows everything that's wrong about nursing: The tabards that tell patients 'do not disturb'
    By JEANNETTE WEITZ
    Last updated at 2:17 PM on 30th August 2011


    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2031199/Nursing-tabards-tell-patients-disturb.html#ixzz1Wo8cjm1d

    obviously written by a nightmare patient and the journalistic standard is even worse than that in the telegraph.

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  • Anyone who is slightly cynical may think that there is a concentrated spin effort against us by the powers that be to try and keep us down, keep us fighting amongst ourselves.

    I think one of the biggest problems we face at the moment is that we are so weak and disparate as a profession, so unwilling to stand up and say enough is enough; and there are far too many patients rights groups that are increasingly loud blaming Nurses for all the ills of the NHS that are not of our making. Even our so called union (the pathetic RCN) supports patients more than it does us, and our regulatory body is there to support and protect patients FROM us!!! No wonder everything is so biased!

    I wonder how quickly all these patients rights groups and media idiots would start whingeing and crying foul if we all stood up and said enough is enough then? If you are not happy with our care, we will remove it? We will go on strike until we get the demands that we want to improve our profession and you learn to respect and appreciate us for what we do and lay the blame for the NHS' ills where it belongs, at the bloody governments door. I'm willing to bet they will be the first to cry foul.

    It is about time we also started to demand that our so called unions and regulatory bodies start speaking up FOR us! For every story blaming Nurses in the press, they should be writing a story to redress that balance, stating the great work we do in difficult conditions and reminding the public that it is the government and trusts they should be aiming their bile at.

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  • Anonymous

    I think the publics perception of nurses is because they can't keep track with the changes in either the nurses roles (they are now many and varied) or the changes in how we "care" for them. They also clearly lack understanding of our role in medication and think we just hand out pills from a list the clever Dr gave us like good/bad little Dr's handmaidens. My father recently had a huge rant at me because he had to take himself to the toilet (he was quite capable) and got sent home quite quickly. For a lot of people they don't understand why we do what we do.

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  • Anonymous

    Striking is never the answer. It makes us look petulant and unprofessional. Working together and supporting
    each other is the only way.

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  • Anonymous

    There are a number of complex issues that have been caught up in this story. Firstly the tone and language in the telegraph, mainly quotes from patient's group reps was quite wrong. Secondly a complete lack of understanding about patient safety and medication safety. Thirdly yet another article which appears to belittle the nursing profession with little response from nurse leaders.

    However our response should not be one of defence and anger, we should take a positive approach. Challenge with positive actions, and stories of good nurses and nursing. Explain reasons for things in an articulate way. Show our kindness and compassion through rewarding good role models.

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  • Anonymous | 2-Sep-2011 6:29 pm I agree, there is a huge, huge problem with the public perception of our profession, yet when this was discussed in other threads many Nurses decried it as a non issue, saying we had more important things to worry about! Yet this is where it leads us!


    Anonymous | 2-Sep-2011 6:52 pm rubbish. NOT striking makes us look weak and pathetic, and allows the status quo where we constantly get walked over by the powers that be and treated like crap by everyone else to continue!

    Anonymous | 2-Sep-2011 8:35 pm, isn't that what we have been doing? Perhaps it is about time our profession DID start standing up for and defending itself! Turning the other cheek time after time after time just gives them a bigger target to slap harder.

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  • Anonymous | 2-Sep-2011 6:52 pm

    If we stopped worrying about how we looked and took some time to see how things are, then it becomes apparent that striking is now the only answer. The concern about what the public think about us, whilst the NHS is allowed to go down the toilet (which will result in total disaster for the bleating Christine Odones of this world), is precisely why we are in this mess!! We have allowed this to happen.....for fear of looking 'unprofessional'. That is about as negative and ineffective an approach as I can imagine, and proffers no solution. In fact, it has resulted in a rapid decline in Nursing posts to deliver the required care for our patients, pay and increment freezes, an attack on our pensions, and now, Nurses have become the scapegoats for all the ills of the NHS! As many others have written, enough is enough. This is not petulance. This is real and justified anger, and the time has come for action.

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