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Student debate

Student debate: 'What would you do if you witnessed patients being neglected or mistreated?'

  • 1 Comment

If your mentor or a senior member of staff was putting patients in danger, what would you do?

Here at Nursing Times we are strong supporters of all members of staff (including students) being safe to speak out if they witness poor care. But we realise this is often easier said than done.

Particularly as a student it can be difficult to “rock the boat”, even if you know it is the right thing to do.


  • What would you do if a member of staff was providing care that you felt put a patient in danger?
  • Who would you speak to if you did decide to take action?


  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • I think I would raise a concern if a patient was being mistreated. However, I once tried to challenge a senior nurse on her poor care giving and lack of compassion and was told I was naive and a student had no place to challenge her, she then explained that she had several years experience as a nurse and basically she would do what she wanted, regardless of my opinion. I guess I always thought that the good thing about nursing, is that we're in a profession where it is encouraged to elegantly challenge current practice which in turn would benefit patient care, but this experience actually made me realise this is not always the case.

    So upon reflecting on this situation I realised that I would next time consider speaking to the persons line manager and let them handle the situation.

    Having said that, I do feel that the NHS in particular want staff to come forward and raise concerns but they don't always offer support, in my experience you would be given support if your in a senior role but not if your 'frontline staff'. I do believe that staff have to be empowered to feel confident in raising concerns, but sadly it's well evidenced that many nurses complain of a bullying culture in the profession, with nurses and HCA's scared they will be labelled as troublemakers if they highlight problems or concerns about patient care. Sometimes the person who raises the issues are the ones who are made to move departments or are made to feel like they have done something wrong. Although this is the case for many nurses, I am sure that some staff who have raised concerns over poor practice have been supported.

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