Thursday, 25 October 2007

British Press: It's Nurse Bashing Month

Oh my god! The Times has sent my BS meter into the red!! Oh wait I'm not surprised.

If I don't vent out my true feelings on here and act all petulant my head will explode. So I decided to write this post out. The incident in Maidstone has unleashed a tirade of misinformed and unethical editorials in the papers. Ladies and Gentlemen it is Nurse Bashing month. I am starting to wonder if some of these so called journalists are paid to try and shift the blame away from the powers that be.

British Journalists seem to greatly enjoy writing abusive editorials regarding nurses without doing a lick of research first. The maidstone incident (which is only the tip of the iceberg in my opinion) seems to have kicked off Nurse Bashing Month in the British Papers. These journalists do not speak to nurses who are currently working at the bedside. If they talk to a nurse at all they will stick to speaking to nurses who retired 30 years ago and don't know what is currently going on. These journalists do not know what a nurse is, how much accountability and life and death responsibility nurses have or how overwhelmed they are with acutely ill patients.

They understand NOTHING about what is happening in our hospitals, and they can't be bothered to do any research and find out. I bet they don't even know how much liability nurses have and the consequences that exist for not prioritizing properly.

It's not like journalists have a job that involves massive amounts of chaos and responsibility and can empathise with us in any way. Let's throw a few nasty childish generalizations their way shall we?

As a matter of fact they probably don't speak to anyone or do any kind of research before they write these worst examples of journalism I ever saw editorials. At the very most their research probably consisted of talking to a friend of a friend who once saw an secretary gossiping at the nurses station with the occupational therapist and decided to run around saying that nurses spend their days sat at the nurses station. Remember that these people cannot tell who is a nurse and who isn't.

Things are so bad at the minute that if I took any kind of time out during my 8 or 12 or 15 hour shift to clean loos and wash windows my patients could be hurt so badly that I could be looking at the loss of my registration. It shouldn't be that way and did not used to be that way. It certainly wasn't like that for ward nurses of yesteryear. It is not that way everywhere yet but it is getting pretty damn close thanks to shithead managers, incompetent journalists and a misinformed public.

Yes the hospitals are filthy.

Mentally disabled journalists see this as "nurses don't feel like cleaning up and don't care about hygiene". Oh yes we fucking do. The ward is minging and it grosses me out to even work there. I would much rather spend the day cleaning, but someone else is going to have to take on responsibility and accountability for my patients first because otherwise I could end up hurting someone either by something simple like a missed med or something major like not noticing a change in condition. This is the position many of us are in every minute of our shifts.

Does it sound like I am exaggerating? Anyone reading this is welcome to spend a day shadowing a registered nurse on a short staffed acute medical surgical ward. Just say that you are thinking about nursing school and they'll let you follow a nurse for a day. Do it and make sure you follow him/her and learn as much as you can.

This is what I am upset about:

I agree with other nurses who have commented on this piece on allnurses that the author has obviously been out of the workplace for way too long and while she has a valid point re: the lack of cleanliness in UK hospitals, she is totally unaware of the pressures on the nurse working on the wards today. These twits have a lot of nerve writing about things they know nothing about. This one is from August.

The Sunday Times. Their view of nurses:

1. We look like slags. You work for 12 hours nonstop and see how you look fucko.

2. We all earn over £30,000 a year. Um. Sure we do. If I got paid for all of the hours I work I might come close to that.

3. We don't actually do any nursing (especially cleaning), we just run around pretending to be junior doctors. I have enough life and death responsibility and problems without taking on theirs thank you very much.

4. We don't wash our hands. Yeah sure. Take me up on my offer to shadow a nurse for a day. Stick to her like glue and get into her shoes. See how impossible it becomes to wash your hands properly with all that is going on and the layout of the ward etc etc. We wash our hands as much as possible...which is not nearly enough and we couldn't do any better if you had a gun to our heads. Give me a smaller number of patients and a handwashing station nearby and you might see some results. I can't pee sometimes for 12 hours on some shifts.

5. We do not care what happens to our patients. We leave them to rot. Total fucking bullshit.

6. We don't care about cleanliness. Total fucking bullshit.

I had expected to read a well researched article. But as usual the fiction author who wrote it didn't bother to do any research at all. Do these assholes know that nulabour targets have led to managers freezing recruitment, that our nurse patient ratios on the wards are deadly, and that 80% of our new grad nurses cannot find jobs? Do they know that dead patients,infections, and bad outcomes increase for each additional patient a nurse has? Do.They.Shit.

This is completely unacceptable. These are just two examples of what I have seen too much of lately. These poorly written and researched articles misinform the public and shift the blame for what is happening onto the wrong people. This kind of journalism is what allows nhs managers and their henchmen to dangerously staff the wards and continue harming and killing patients with no comeback. I understand that most journalists probably have no understanding of responsibility or how to be truthful and do research.

They have no understanding of what it is like to have a job where you actually have to have knowledge and serious accountability. This lack of understanding is probably a requirement to do their jobs. They don't don't know what it is like to work in a chaotic environment being terrified that you'll make an error and kill someone. How could these underachieving fucktards write any kind of a decent factual article about nurses?

I am starting to think that they are all nothing but paid government shills, out to misrepresent nurses (doctors too) and shift the blame for all of the killing. That's right. I said killing. Maidstone is only the tip of the iceberg. Maybe I sound like a paranoid conspiracy theorist but my theory that they are all paid government shills makes more sense than the two editorials I posted.

Not all nurses are wonderful but the vast majority of bedside nurses are working hard and doing their best. If that wasn't the case this blog would be about how awful nurses are and how it affects patients rather than being centered around how short staffing kills people and affects the care nurses can provide.

I have seen a lot in my 12-13 years as a hospital nurse and have worked with many different nurses across the country, the world, and in all different kinds of specialties. I know what I am talking about. Remember this: Nurses today have twice the responsibility due to the momentous changes in health care that have occurred over the last 2 decades. Look at how the number of people on IV's has increased compared to the 1950's just as one tiny example. Nurses today choose to go into nursing despite the fact that they have other career choices. Nurses became nurses years ago because they had a choice between that and teaching. Many of them did NOT want to be nurses. See what I am getting at? The bottom line is that it doesn't matter how hardworking and caring a nurse is...if she has too many patients she is fucked and so are her patients.

Hygiene, nursing care, and patient safety have been destroyed by target and money obsessed managers who lack any kind of clinical knowledge. They are guilty of no less than murder. Journalists are their helpmates and accomplices by distorting information, misinforming the public and shifting the blame.

I want to see them all hang.


Zarathustra said...


Zarathustra said...

Oh, and Minette Marin thinks nurses look slaggy? Well, I think we can all agree that Minette Marin looks like a crack-addicted street prostitute.

I've given you another plug on Mental Nurse.

Nurse Anne said...

Thanks so much for the plug. I went off on a tangent with that post and never really got around to quoting from the health commissions report and talking about bed occupancy.

I was also incensed when she said that hospital nurses wear their uniforms out in the street. I see a lot of care assistants for care agencies wearing their uniforms around town. I see Nursing home staff wearing their uniforms around town. I see beauticians in uniforms that look like a nurses uniform having a coffee in town.

I have yet to see a hospital nurse wearing their uniform in town. We have to change at work. Maybe it is different elsewhere?

Maybe we should email Ms. Marin our blogs and some research articles to boot. To be honest she probably doesn't care if she is truthful.

Minette,dear, why don't you stick to fiction writing. What nurses are doing and should be doing and the dynamics that effect the care they provide are too complicated for your simplistic little mind.

I have realised that the newspapers probably want simpletons who cannot think independently doing most of the reporting.

Where is Woodward and Bernstein when you need them? Those guys were journalists.

DBA Dude said...

You are spot on yet again Nurse Anne.

Let me know where the lynch mob is gathering.

There are too many lazy "journalists" out there, peddling plain lies as "truth".

the a&e charge nurse said...

I was practically screeching, yes, yes....YERRRRSsss, by the end of your thunderous post.

You are a god and we not fit to lick your pinny [MRSA, C-diff coated, of course].

Anonymous said...

If nurses spent less time winging and concentrated just a little on trying to do their job competently we might see some improvement.

Nurse Anne said...

There's a comment from someone who hasn't read the rest of the blog.

Nurses are unable to do their job properly unless they have a manageable number of patients. I could bail out the North Sea with a teaspoon easier than I could provide good nursing care to 30 people at once.

TDubRN said...

Oooh, I love you! I'm an American nurse and it's almost as bad here. This idiot doesn't know what she's talking about. If she had to follow you around, she wouldn't last an hour. Go get 'em, MMN!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous- nurses whinge because otherwise idiots who read the papers might just believe or take on board the shit that Ms Marin and a thousand others like her, print. Decide for yourself whether you are included in that group.

Gordon Brown's hold on the public purse strings is legendarily tight, he does this partly to control inflation. People paid from the public purse have to pay the price. When it gets to the point where your professional registration might be at risk because you just can't do the quantity of work asked in a proper manner, things are desperate. As a UK GP, I have watched the growing number of lazy journalists jumping on the govt. "slag off NHS clinicians" bandwagon. Virtually every article is based on very inaccurate DoH info that is deliberately misleading, that some lazy arsehole of a journo can't be bothered to check- either that, or, as I suspect, the word from NuLab via the owners is, "NHS staff-bashing is in".


Anonymous said...

Here we go again - Daily Mail article entitled 'Nurses (the useful blanket term that encompasses everyone from cadets to qualified staff) who think it's not their job to care' (26 July 2010). This is so unfair it is almost slanderous. I feel so angry on behalf of Nurse Anne and others like her. Are you listening journos? They care all right. They care deeply. They care so much that they sometimes can't switch off after a shift for worrying about their patients. They cry sometimes. They even sometimes pray for their patients (in private of course). Why hasn't the media got the message by now? There are not enough qualified staff on wards. Qualified nurses are run ragged. Qualified nurses are the only ones who can deal with life and death emergencies and these have to take priority. They would like to feed patients, and do feed patients on those rare occasions when they have time, but if they do not then nursing assistants have to feed patients. Some nursing assistants are okay, others I wouldn't trust to look after my cat. The journalists don't have a clue what it is like working on today's wards.

Anonymous said...

In Libby Purves' final paragraph she discusses the 'collective' outlook where once upon a time a sense of shame and pride under pinned an aim for excellence in ones work.

This trying to enforce a sense of shame; tutting and frowning does not work in todays society in general , so why would it in nursing?

Indeed it would most probably be the grounds for a bullying grievance which I have seen used exactly in this way. Such shame tactics are meanigless to the new UK and multicultural workforce.

The work ethic Libby Purvis describes does not exist in English culture today (I have no experience of the other UK states).

The 'collective' doesn't exist.

In my experience within nursing and out of it, most workers perform to the bear minimum, a handful overcompensate working themselves into the ground and then are mocked for being 'stressed' (which is used as a sign of weakness by nurses)whilst very few get the balance just about right.

Nurse Anne has the ideals and standards I had working as a RN, ward nurse (I won't do wards anymore) it nearly killed me, she is by and large the exception.

Working in London hospitals today (I work in 3) the workforce is divided by underlying cultural norms, levels of what is acceptable and resentments, which always remain unchallenged. There is no sense of collective for a higher purpose and each will protect themselves.

The kind of reporting Libby Purvis produces reinforces exactly the PC culture she wants abolished.

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