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THE BIG QUESTION

The big question: is action taken when nurses raise concerns?

  • 9 Comments

The chair of the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust public inquiry, Robert Francis QC, recently told MPs that frontline nurses should be “empowered” to raise concerns over short staffing.

He told the Health Select Committee that nurses should not be put in situations where they were faced with having to prioritise care due to lack of staff. But if they did find themselves in such a situation, they should be empowered to pass on their concerns.

“I wish to see them [frontline staff] empowered to express a view and by doing that they are defending their own position,” he told MPs.

Does the profession need to be empowered to raise concerns or listened to when they do? What do you think?

  • 9 Comments

Readers' comments (9)

  • michael stone

    I'm not a nurse, but on sheer logical grounds my answer is 'Yes, nursing needs to be empowered to raise front-line issues/concerns'. Blindingly obvious, to me !

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  • tinkerbell

    the answer to the big question is NO!

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  • tinkerbell

    next question.

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  • Qualifying and registering as a nurse is empowerment to practice as an autonomous professional with, like members of any other profession, specific duties towards the public within their scope and bound by their professional code of conduct and ethics. One of the duties laid down in the code is to advocate for their patients and ensure that their needs for care are met.

    Empowerment suggests permission being granted to exercise what they already consider part of their duty as well as being suggestive of some sort of submission to their employers. Why do they need to be granted this authority they already have, or be given the strength and confidence which they should already possess, by their employers to carry out this part of their job? Perhaps the relevant support to ‘empower’ them to do their job properly would be more fitting.

    “empower
    ? verb give authority or power to; authorize. ?give strength and confidence to.

    DERIVATIVES
    empowerment noun”

    from the Concise Oxford Dictionary, 11th Edition.

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  • Anonymous | 23-Feb-2013 6:53 pm

    note about the definition of empowerment. the two question marks should not be there. they have replaced bullet marks in the dictionary due to different formatting used by NT in the comments.

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  • No action is not taken, anyone who reports problems with staffing is made to feel they cannot cope or do the job. This is how bullies who run wards on low numbers with low standards thrive - they are a managers dream.

    Dare I wonder if student nurses were rostered as part of the workforce on hospital wards it would makethe workload easier, be an incentive for staff to train them and make it easier to assess their abilities. Students are also. Useful means of raising standards and monitoring care - I bet plenty of students reported mid staffs wards to tutors but they are so short of placements because students now are work rather than helping with the work (on paper at least) that the university dare not risk loss of any placement. I hasten to add this isn't a ditch the degree comment but maybe some of the past ways of working do have some merit.

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  • I seem to remember reading that student nurses were taken away from a hospital because of poor standards and an unsuitable learning environment for student placements? This wouldn't have been Mid Staffs by any chance?

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  • Not many RNs have the backbone to raise concerns. Depends on how much they feel they have to lose.

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  • I was spuriously fired having legitimately looked at the clinical file of a seclusion abused victim which the Trust eventually accepted was legitimate but who then declared the accessing "too lengthy" without defining. The NMC solicitor returned to my personal file for eight months and repeated all the original pre and not (proven and thus reduced but should have been dropped) post appeal findings. My complaints had previously resulted in two cover up internal inquiries which I had therefore rejected. The NMC have referred my case to the Conduct & Practice committee. The NMC solicitor bases the case on new and revamped statements retaken two years later.

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