In her blog, adult branch student editor Lucy Williams writes an open letter to Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt on the reality of nursing today.
First of all let me introduce myself. My name is Lucy Williams and I am currently in my final year of an adult nursing degree.
I am proud to be a student nurse and feel somewhat privileged to be in such a rewarding career.
I realise that you probably receive hundreds of emails and letters a day from the general public which I am sure are rich in advice on how you could do your job better; I can assure you this is not my intention.
”I wish to give you my candid and honest view on the reality of nursing today”
So why read my letter? Because I am not intending to belittle your hard work or berate any decisions you have made as Health Secretary. I wish to give you my candid and honest view on the reality of nursing today in the hope that you remember what I am about to tell you next time you have to make a vital decision about nursing.
My journey into nursing is typical of that of a number of mature students, my life touched with events that made me realise I needed to be part of a bigger picture. I wanted something that meant more.
I knew that a career in nursing was going to be tough. I expected the long hours, feeling emotionally drained and struggling to maintain a work-life balance, but I had not expected to be as ‘touched’ by people I would meet during my time as a student as I have been.
”The clear passion, dedication and compassion being shown by the nursing staff I have been surrounded by has kept me going”
My training has been diverse and I have had the privilege of being exposed to many different areas of nursing from a busy medical ward, to theatres, community nursing and palliative care.
Whilst I have loved my training these past two-and-a-half years I have been pushed to my personal limit. Why? Because of the tremendous pressures that are apparent in nursing.
And what was the only thing that kept me going? The clear passion, dedication and compassion being shown by the nursing staff I have been surrounded by. So Jeremy, I need you to know how lucky you are as Health Secretary to have such an amazing army of nurses doing their absolute best in an incredibly tough situation.
”It is by far the busiest, most diverse and testing placement I have experienced so far in my training”
I am currently on placement on a thirty-bed acute short-stay unit within my local trust. It is by far the busiest, most diverse and testing placement I have experienced so far in my training.
Patients on the ward range from those that are gravely unwell to those that just need a short period of TLC to help them back on their feet.
The ward currently has a number of nursing vacancies, which has led to the staff nurses pulling together to work longer hours each week to ensure the shifts are covered and patients cared for.
I am positive that nurses throughout the UK are echoing the same amount of dedication, commitment and compassion to help ensure their patients’ needs are met despite the challenges they face. This sort of news never reaches the headlines though. What dominates is news of poor practice or new initiatives to attract people to the profession rather than a celebration of how amazing the nursing workforce is we already have.
“I have known my mentors to stay for hours after a shift to talk me through a learning experience”
Lets face it, Jeremy, without the nurses that are already serving within the NHS you wouldn’t be able to recruit any new ones because it is these nurses who support and educate student nurses in practice. I have known my mentors to stay for hours after a shift to talk me through a learning experience not because they have too, but because with they care.
Whilst I 100% agree that the NHS is in desperate need of nurses, you cannot and must not fail to reward those nurses you already have. So next time you make an important speech about nursing or make a decision that is going to effect the thousands of nurses under your directive, remember me, this letter and how amazing nurses are.