Comment on: The image of nursing: The handmaiden
Dear Anonymous (11th October) - don't assume that simply because physicians are called doctors means that they have PhD. Most certainly do not, and the Dr title is purely an honorific title associated with their professional status. Similarly, a PhD is no better a measure of someone's ''intelligence'' than any other qualification. A PhD is intended to demonstrate the attainment of many skills, competencies and abilities, albeit at an advanced level, but intelligence is definitely NOT one of them; which is why I trust the people I work with on the basis of their deeds (i.e. what they do) and their ability (i.e. how well they do it) rather than their titles! There are lots of RNs who have PhDs and many others that could given the chance. There are also lots of "MD's" who couldn't hack it, and many more that could, but don't need to because they have the honorific anyway. Personally, I think that respect has to be earned, not awarded on the basis of your job title or payscale, and that goes for any professinal group.
Incidentally... looking at the main foyers of most NHS hospitals I have visited or worked in, I was under the impression that the catering in those institutions HAD been contracted out to MacDonalds or KFC! We need proper minimum nutritional standards for patient meals which does not mean that they have to be bland or tasteless. We have come a long way technologically, and in our knowledge of human nutrition since Nightingale advocated arrowroot and nutritious gruel for patients. It is possible for hospital food to be both nutritious, therapeutic and appetising as the many good examples prove. If it isn't, why aren't nurses advocating for their patients and sending it back to the kitchens? I have done so in the past and invariably, a suitable replacement was provided for the patient with the minimum of delay!
I recently had surgery in the Netherlands. After the operation (and being fasted from the day before), my main evening meal and the last meal of the day (served at 4.45 pm with no choice of menu or deviation in timing) was three slices of bread, two thin slices of cheese, and one thin slice of something which resembled ham, served with one pat of butter and a pot of tea. On checking with the staff and other patients I was informed that this was the regular evening meal - day in day out - at the hospital I was being treated in (and paying for via my private health insurance contributions). believe me, things are really not so bad in the NHS - or so wonderful elsewhere that I would choose anything better. Yes, the quality leaves something to be desired at times, but it is generally warm, the patient gets at least a nominal choice, and generally feel that someone has made an effort. Not so in my case. Nutritional standards should of course be improved - nutrition is therapy, but part of the problem is the fact that so little is spent on food for patients and this is the root source of the problem.
Having worked a mixture of both long and short shifts, I have to say that I much preferred the latter from the perspective of patient care and agree that it is very frustrating for patients who do not see the same nurse from one day to the next as their 'primary' carers go off duty for extended periods of time. One other aspect of the long shift that appears to have been forgotten is the lack of time now available between shifts for teaching purposes. I know as a tutor that students constantly complain that their mentors are too busy and often do not have time to undertake discussions about their progress, plan goals, discuss progress etc. This is largely because that precious cross over period is now largely extinct from the working day and there is little slack time now for ward teaching or any other pre-planned activities. I wonder if this has anything to do with students' frustration with their learning environments and the constant claims by clinical staff that students are not developing their clinical skills in the workplace as they should be. The period after handover was always used for meetings, case-discussions and student teaching when I was doing my training but all of these seem to be disappearing rapidly in the ever increasing rapidity of the ward environment made worse by a very transient staffing arrangement.
Comment on: Nursing demands complex emotional intelligence
Of course, we really should take advice on role-modelling from MPs! How patronising!