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Read the transcript from yesterday's webchat with CNO Christine Beasley


You chatted live to CNO Christine Beasley about what makes you proud to be a nurse.

What makes you proud to be a nurse?

What needs to change to improve nursing?

How do I re-read it?

You can re-read the webchat here.


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Readers' comments (23)

  • She's showing a bit of spine coming on here! Chatting to us ordinary Nurses? Who would have thought!

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  • Can NT make sure she gets this message?

    I used to be very proud of being a Nurse, now I am too demoralised and tired. Tired of not being able to pay the bills because our pay is so pathetic considering the highly skilled, educated and qualified professionals that we are. Tired of working in one of the most stressful envioronments there is whilst constantly feeling I have to watch my back from the public and the NMC. I am to fed up of not having any semblance of a private or family life because the hours are long and the shift patterns have me all over the place, affecting my health and my time with my family. I am stressed to hell with the dangerous working conditions we face daily (complete lack of staff, no support from management, the culture of the NHS as a whole) and I am fed up with the constant public, media and government attacks on what is and should be a fundamentally wonderful and respected profession. I could go on all day.

    But what makes me disgusted with Nursing is the complete apathy and lack of leadership shown by you and the higher echelons of our profession. The RCN and Carter have proven to be completely ineffective in standing up for our profession and he is a constant embarrassment to Nursing.

    But unlike you, at least he has been in the media lately, seemingly supporting the attacks on us and failing to support us instead of defending us and calling for strike action, but at least he was there. Where were you? You are supposedly our Chief Nursing Officer? Aren't you supposed to be countering the constant negative media attacks on our profession with loud and robust criticism of the attacks? Aren't you supposed to be acting as a figurehead for us? A leader? Aren't you supposed to be supporting us?

    More than that, aren't you supposed to be fighting for us? Why have you allowed the government position of constant attacks on our pay, our increments and our pensions to go unchallenged? Why have you allowed a dangerous and what should be illegal situation with our staffing levels to go unchallenged? The Nursing profession is ready to go on strike because we are so fed up and angry, where are you when you should be out supporting us exactly?

    You should be ashamed that you are the CNO presiding over a profession that has to endure conditions such as this (and many, many others that I have not mentioned in the interests of expediency).

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  • Alex Lorien

    I disagree with Mike's comment. Though I am only in the beginning of my career (I'm still a student!) I think we all know what we are getting ourselves in for when we start nursing. We KNOW it's badly paid for the job we do. We KNOW it's long hours. We KNOW we are constantly under scrutiny from the public, media, our peers and management; which we should be to ensure that we are constantly giving the best care.
    I have met a few nurses who have burnt out and I always wander why they don't get out Nursing is the broadest profession I have ever seen. Go into management, research, occy health. Go to a clinic, go into teaching, but remember what we do and more importantly why we do it.

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  • I'd like to ask:

    why do you think that the nursing profession believe that the role of the CNO is a voice for the gov/DOH rather than a voice for nursing?

    why, in your opinion, is a tube driver's basic salary worth twice the basic of salary of a newly qualified RN?

    what will aspects of your leadership will define your legacy?

    why do we not have nurse to patient ratios enshrined in law? what have you done about it?

    what are the 5 most important changes to be made to improve the morale of the nursing profession?

    why has our influence in the corridors of power become so insignificant as to necessitate removal of the CNO post?

    why is there a lack of leadership in nursing to influence policy at national level?

    how will the proposed changes to the pension affect you?

    why is nursing seen as a soft target when staffing cuts are made?

    if the gvt succeeds in it's ambition to change the NHS from a provider of care to a commissioner of care, how will this affect nursing education from pre-reg through to CPD? how will this impact on standards of care?

    the medical leadership have been vociferous in their opposition to the White Paper - why have you been pubically silent if you are meant to represent the nursing profession?

    do you believe that the proposed changes are all positive, including the inevitable fragmentation and two tier healthcare that will result?

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  • Alex Lorien

    you are missing the point here - if you are happy about poor pay, poor working conditions (which result in poor patient care): if you are happy with that then you are in a minority.

    Good working conditions, ie nurse to patient ratios that are safe and deliver good care, is part of what most of us on here are ranting about.

    Have you checked with your bank manager if they accept anything other than money to pay the mortgage? Just because we are badly paid does not mean that we should accept it. In fact it's that kind of attitude that will see the continuing erosion of our pay, pension and working conditions that the gvt is relying on to take more away from us. Did you know, for example, that the NHS pension fund is in massive surplus every year, that the cost of it is reducuing? Did you know that the gvt take that money from our pension pot and it goes into the exchequer? Last year that was £2billion. And this year they tell us they want to cut our pension and make us work longer to get them!

    I'm sure that the tube driver doesn't do three years training and complete a diploma or degree in tube train driving - and they have just been awarded a basic salary of £52 000 - that's twice what you will be earning when you qualify. Please tell me you are not happy with that.

    I'm married to a nurse and have often worked 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet (ie a full time job plus part time jobs). This is in addition to funding my own professional development (MSc) which I attended in my own time. I regularly work a 50 hour week - that's 12.5 hours of unpaid overtime - to make sure that when everything is scruitinised everything is ship-shape and Bristol-fashion. I have cancelled leave to cover sick leave for colleagues - often at the last minute. Ask the tube drivers if this is their experience, or do they clock off on time or automatically get paid overtime?

    Of course, there is a cost to this that is hidden. And I'm by no means unique. I was recently planning a trip to the cinema with my teenage daughter and had to cover a colleagues sick leave. When I told my daughter, her reply was 'Don't worry, Dad, I'm used to it now'. You could say that I should say no to my employer, but despite there difficult circumstances I want to ensure that patients get the best care. I can't get that time back with my children or my wife. There is no amount of money that can compensate me for letting down my daughter yet again. And as I say, this is not unique.

    But should I accept poor pay, a poorer pension, awful working conditions just because, as you say, that's the way it is?

    You bet I want to be fairly paid - in fact I'd even accept parity with those tube drivers.

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  • michael stone

    Good working conditions, ie nurse to patient ratios that are safe and deliver good care, is part of what most of us on here are ranting about.

    As one of your annoying patients/relatives, I'm all for the above !

    But I am not keen on 'the public are the enemy' which seems to be an attitude 'world weary' nurses often end up with - because MANY patients and relatives, are NOT 'badly behaving enemies'.

    I can't really comment on your pay and conditions, and anyway that isn't really my fight, is it ? But I'm not saying you don't have many legitimate grievances !

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  • tinkerbell

    Alex i admire your commitment and call to duty, long may it endure. I didn't know what i was getting myself into when i became a nurse as far as pay, conditions etc., i just wanted to be a nurse but that does not mean that i think we should be exploited. One day you too will get burnt out, without a doubt, because you care, it will probably not be because of the patients, but the conditions under which you are expected to work. By the time you leave nursing your body may be wrecked from long hours, lack of adequate meal breaks and healthy diet to sustain you whilst working long shifts over a period of a week that can stretch into 9 days without a day off. Working extra days to cover gaps in off duty etc., When i was younger i could do this and just bounce back. However, over many years this will take a toll on your body. It happens slowly, insidiously and over a long period of time. I am still proud to be a nurse and like to think i am a good one but i can honestly say it is not a profession that you leave skipping but more likely limping. It is stressful and mostly because we care about what happens to the people in our care that we put up with these conditions because we have a sense of duty and commitment to them but now is the time if ever there was one to stop being exploited and have these good qualities acknowleged rather than exploited.

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  • michael stone | 6-Oct-2011 2:35 pm

    so what are you doing commenting on this as well?????????????????????

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  • Oi! What happened to my comment?

    Is it because I said Beasley had a lot of serious questions to answer for about the state of this profession and her lack of leadership? Is it because I said how disgusted I was that none of the serious questions we asked even got near to the webchat? Is it because I suspected that there was a serious amount of 'editing' going on in the questions that were asked of her?


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