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.