Thursday, 5 March 2009

Another fine example: Overworked nurses leave the bedside.

Their managers love it because they can replace them with untrained staff. I am still working on my letter to "Dignity Revolution" and I will print it here soon. Kids, dogs, work, and decorating the house are keeping me on my toes.

I found this short little article. It's American but it could have been written about an NHS nurse. Roll on the day when our journos do some real articles about nursing.

Stressed nurses quit, hurting patient care
Poor pay, conditions leave hospitals strapped for help

Emily Minard, 23, graduated from the University of Michigan School of Nursing in April 2000. She got a job at a hospital but quickly burned out, overwhelmed by the chaotic environment. She now works in home health care.By Sarah A. Webster / The Detroit News

DETROIT — Kelly Stimac says that if she had been allowed to do the job properly, she would still be working as a nurse.
But what she once saw as a dream career became a nightmare. Every day became a race with too little time to treat too many patients.
One day still haunts her. Stimac struggled to give one patient blood, while another began having a heart attack and yet another strained to breathe on a respirator.
“It was just impossible,” said Stimac, who now reviews medical records for a Berkley law firm. “You couldn’t take care of people as needed. Staffing was terrible. I would come home and cry for hours.”

I bet that the relatives lined up to complain about the fact that their family members didn't get their teeth brushed properly while this poor nurse was in the middle of this situation. I bet they also slammed her as some miserable bitch who felt that basic care was beneath her. Fucktwits...............Anne

Her solution was painful but simple: she quit.

She is not alone. Thousands of other nurses are abandoning the once highly regarded profession.
The exodus is aggravating a nationwide shortage of nurses and compromising patient care in many health care facilities nationwide.

and in the UK...........Anne

Many nurses openly say they are demoralized. They complain of low pay, long hours, large patient loads and being treated condescendingly. In the era of managed care, they say hospital administrators are putting profits over people — both workers and patients.

Hospitals are struggling to keep nurses at the bedside and find new recruits. But services are quietly being reduced or restructured for lack of workers. Many nurses who remain on the job say they are being pushed to do more than ever — more than is safe.

And the relatives and patients way of dealing with this is to call the nurses lazy and uncaring for not being able to treat each patient as if they are the only one on the ward. Their solution is to give the nurses "dignity cards" and fire nurses. I'll refer to that as "The fucktwit solution"....................................Anne

“Quality is impacted,” said Ada Sue Hinshaw, dean of the University of Michigan School of Nursing. “When the ratio of nurses drops below a certain level, more people die, there are more errors. I think patients need to know what they are walking into.”


Welsh girl said...

Hi Nurse Anne, I left the wards to work in NHS direct 4 years ago - not because I didn't enjoy the actual job on the wards ( having qualifief in 1986)- but because of all the reasons you talk about in your posts. If only I could have stayed in a time warp of how the ward was in the late 80's/ early 90's I would have still been bedside nursing now.
Can't say I enjoy what I do now - blind triage- but every time I read your blog, it reminds me of the reality of what I left behind and why I should never go back to it.

God help the future of nursing.

PS I really enjoy reading your blog

Happy1 said...

"One day still haunts her. Stimac struggled to give one patient blood, while another began having a heart attack and yet another strained to breathe on a respirator."

I remember one day...not long after I qualified. I had 8 patients (exceeding the Society of Acute Medicine's recommendation of 1:6)..

one patient was acutely unwell needing constant attention, 10 minute obs, urine measurement etc. (defib on hand just in case...)

one patient had heavy duty drugs being infused...also needing 10 minute a qualified eye to observe..

one diabetic patient on hourly IV infusion..not a job for a HCA..

one elderly wanderer who needed time and attention to keep him calm..and feeding and cleaning..

one cancer patient, nursed in isolation..alone and lonely..

one patient with an extremely demanding family, wanting to speak to me every 5 minutes...about trivial..

and...on top of all that.. constant transfers and admissions as it was an Emergency Admissions Unit.

I honestly do not know how I (or the patients) survived that day..
when I turned to my manager for support..I was told it was "character building.."


Happy1 said...

Forgot to say....cannot be in 8 places at once. No matter how good I am.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nurse Anne,

I love your blog, such a shame the job I once loved appears to be vanashing before my very eyes. I don't want to continually study subjects, models and theories that will never actually improve patient care, because nursing is no longer geared to appreciating those nurses that are kind, gentle, caring and love nothing more than ensuring their patients are as comfortable as possible.
I trained in the early 90's and loved every area of my training, so when i qualified I was more than happy to work anywhere. 20 years on and I have moved from acute, to palliative care to district nursing and lastly School Health, these moves have been due to changes being made for changes sake with patient care being the lowest priority closely followed by valuing staff.Well i'm on the move again and I can't believe that I am about to start a job with NHS Direct, all my basic instincts think it's a mistake, as all the things I loved about caring for my patients I can't see how I am going to get any job satisfaction, but i'm open to this new way of nursing and as my traditional nursing and values appears to have vanished and i'm out of areas to try where I think they may still exist!!

Please wish me luck and any advice or words of encouragement would be most appreciated..

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