WHEN you think of a nurse, what image pops into your head?
A comedy image conjured up by a carry on film ‘Oh Matron’, a near saintly perception by the name Florence Nightengale or maybe a busty blonde in a tradition white dress with paper hat ready to give you a good bed bath.
No, in reality the blonde would have her hair scraped back and have panda eyes due to the exhaustion of her third 12 hour shift on a bed blocked under staffed ward.
The reality is that as a nurse, we are the foot soldiers for the NHS.
Nurses across NI/UK and Ireland are now doing the job of what three nurses would of been tasked with 10 years ago.
Our job role has been transformed which leaves us half way between social worker and care worker, the nursing model now reads more like a financial adviser’s/legal clerks filing cabinet.
Why because we are constantly stuck at a desk documenting to prevent any conceivable litigation that could ensue from ward events.
What needs to change is that nurses need to be allowed to be exactly that, nurses.
Release us from the shackles of paper work and let us care for our patients instead of lumbering us with audits, ward meetings, social work reviews etc.
The up-skilling in the NHS as a means of saving money is in effect watering down nursing care and not freeing time that could be spent actually caring for patients.
So who is to blame, in my opinion David Cameron and a succession of health minsters we have had in Northern Ireland.
David Carmen and his gaggle of Public school party MP’s do not understand the importance and value of the NHS to the working man, David Cameron once couldn’t answer a question on how much a litre of milk costs today, he is completely out of touch.
He is happy to sell off the NHS, let’s be honest his party have actively set out to privatise a number of national institutions/services.
Why has Mr Cameron not thrown a rescue package at the NHS but has done so at the banks? Well by portraying the NHS as a dying family pet, he creates the illusion, plants the seed in our heads that we would be better off with private health insurance.
As a nurse it’s shocking that as one of the very few professions that cannot strike, we are treated appallingly, this isn’t a coincidence.
The fear of falling behind/the constant pressure from the powers at be to do even more within an incredibly busy 12 hours is in effect reducing the quality of care, which in effect causes accidents to happen, which causes litigaton.
So in effect the management structure/policies are costing us even more money, but managers don’t see the human cost, nurses crying in their car on the way home for fear that they forgot a signature or didn’t give a tablet.
Technically the NHS promotes a culture of honesty regarding mistakes/ clinical incidences. But my fellow nurses will back me up and say that the very reason why nurses in the past have tried to hide errors, was the fear of punishment.
The sad fact is that nurses are not supported by senior management, they only see audit figures and budgets.
This then perpetuates the culture of ‘throw each other under the bus’ or ‘your on your own mate’ among nurses because we have a guard our registration with our life’s.
Senior management need to see the people behind the tunic and fob watch doing an incredible job juggling our various roles ‘nurse, counsellor, PA, hair dresser, friend, events manager, stylist’ in order to meet our patient’s needs, not a army of worker ants. So how do we save the NHS, back to basics, free up time to care.
The next time you see a nurse leaving a hospital after a shift, he or she more than likely needs it.
Written by Staff Nurse Emmette Dillon, Tweet him HERE