Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


The big question: should the names of nurses be written above their patients’ beds?


Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the name of the nurse responsible for a patient’s care should be written above their bed.

Speaking at University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust, Mr Hunt called for a “new culture of openness, transparency and accountability” in the health service.

“However superb the team, the buck always needs to stop with someone and the patient has every right to know who that person is,” he said. “We should return to having the name of the responsible consultant and responsible nurse written above every patient’s bed.”

What do you think of this scheme? Would it improve care?

Your comments could be published in Nursing Times.


Readers' comments (7)

  • As a staff nurse I have very little say on how the ward is run, especially on matters that can affect patients the most, such as staffing levels or the availability of even basic equipment such as a pillow.One, often junior nurse cannot be held to account for a patient's experience.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "“new culture of openness, transparency and accountability” "

    should there be a red light as well to show up the names?

    wonderful but how does your name above a bed achieve this, even if it is a brass nameplate or written in guilded letters. Just walk down any street full of such nameplates, do they all ensure openess and transparency with a guarantee of excellent service?

    only sufficient numbers of high calibre caring staff in the possession of four fully functioning limbs and left and right-sided brain can influence the standards of patient care. This includes excellent ocmmunication skills so that they can introduce themselves to each patient and make it clear who is looking after them.

    In the nurses' office, to protect their identity and personal data from snooping visitors, there should be a white board with the nurses' names and patients, as well as their beds, allocated to them for each shift with large enough lettering for all staff to be able to read.

    Besides who has time on each shift and all of the unforseen changes that might occur on each one to run around changing all of these names not to mention further hygiene risks and the potential danger of falls, especially for elderly geriatric nurses, from clambering over furniture. Maybe an extra hourly round dedicated to such a purpose is indicated to ensure the names are always kept up to date! This round should be undertaken slowly and ponderously to minimise the extra stress this task may cause as well as the above mentioned risks and to avoid making all possibilities of any spelling errors, or putting up the wrong name which would be worse than none at all!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • angie norton | 27-Jun-2013 1:20 am

    you most certainly should be held totally accountable for the quality, weight of feathers, and number of pillows a patient has! how could you ever think otherwise?


    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The problem is you can turn up for work on your ward, and then be sent else where. Since we were told we had to work where ever the need was; being a named nurse became irrelevant. As a matter of interest, I would be fascinated to how many government inspired initiatives they has been. What became of them, did any work, and did it have a positive or negative effect?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous | 27-Jun-2013 7:34 am

    you just carry your nameplate around with you and stick it up wherever you happen to be and remember to collect it and disinfect it at the end of the day. if they were magnetic it might be helpful.

    something in the form of a scrabble board would be quite good so you could change the names of the nurses and patients more easily but ensure there are enough of each letter where these are repeated in some of the longer foreign names.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I agree but bear in mind there are essential factors to support safe patient care. Factors like care deliver in a system, adequte staffing, assisted by technology to evolve a caring culture.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I'm puzzled.

    We, in our trust, did this years ago (was to do with the Patients Charter...anyone remember that?)

    A named nurse was allocated (usually the nurse that admitted the patient) and 'white boards' were purchased and hammered to the wall above every bed in the hospital!

    The 'named nurse' had to write her name on the board and the patients consultant. In addition, a second nurse had to be added to care for that patient in the absence of the 'named nurse''s off etc

    Needless to say, it did not work.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.