I really didn't want to have to do another blog linking a Nursing Times article yet again. In my opinion they are lying shills who do not know how to find decent sources to quote in their articles. But I cannot help myself. You have to keep in mind that the woman quoted in this article (Julie Hendry) will not have any experience taking on 15 medical patients on a large ward as the only RN these days. This is a situation that would suck the caring and the empathy out of Mother Theresa. If she did understand it, she is solely working under the direction of the management twatterati. So basically, she doesn't have a clue or she is hiding it. She is scapegoating nurses just as her management overlords have instructed her to do.
It's no big secret that nurses are acquiring much in the way of trauma and psychological damage as a result of the ward conditions, and their inability to care for their patients as a result of lack of trained staff and managements refusal to address safe trained nurse to patient ratios. Ratio stats.
We know that the problems in Staffordshire with nursing care were down to trained nurse to patient ratios that wouldn't be legal in a third world country. I recently did a shift with only 2 of us for the whole ward. Management did not care about the staffing levels. One of my biggest nightmares is seeing patients developing pre renal failure etc as a result of dehydration. I am commited to seeing that patients are hydrated properly. But I didn't have a chance. There was not one second during that shift where I was able to assist someone with a drink. Not at all. And it was all down to factors that were out of my control.
If you have not yet heard about Staffordshire look here. And here.
Here is a story from the BBC.
My take on it here.
Here is a comment from Nurse who actually worked there. She commented on my blog.
Anonymous said...Well said. HDU and ITU patients are critically ill. If a nurse is responsible for these kinds of patients she cannot see her other patients. At all. Full stop. So why was shitford hospital forcing their individual nurses to take these kinds of patients on top of 10 other patients, shift after shift, and day after day? Unless you are one of these clueless visitors to the hospital or a member of the media you, of course, understand that if you have a critically ill patient for 12 hours THEN YOU CANNOT SEE ANY OF YOUR OTHER PATIENTS FOR 12 HOURS. And here in the NHS you DO NOT get another nurse to help you care for those other 10 patients. You will have to go to the nurse's station to check orders, order equipment and get/give information about your critically ill patient. It's probably a good idea to ignore anything else but what you are doing for that critically ill patient whilst you are at the station. You do not want to get delayed getting back to him because you were talking to a relative of another, stable patient. The relatives of your other patients will, of course, accuse you of ignoring their loved ones to hide at the station. They don't understand anything.
Nurses with 'tude?
I started to develop a bad 'tude at Shitford General. This was a mad busy surgical ward, horribly understaffed and with some very acutely ill patients.
Because of the pressure in ITU we were taking HDU patients all the time. These patients were not really stable enough to be nursed on a surgical ward having had major ops like gastrectomy and oesphegectomy.
These patients needed at least half-hourly monitoring. Some had trachys. All had multiple drains, feeding tubes, catheters, stomas and multiple IVI's and IVABx. You might have two of these HDU patients to your twelve-bedded bay.
In your bay you might also have recovering colosomy, appendectomy, amputation patients with the usual complement of diabetics and complicated medical problems.
I got an attitude all right. One day a patient newly back from theatre after having extensive bowel surgery developed obvious cardiac signs (low BP, tachycardia) and was going down the tubes fast. I bleeped the team and we swung into action.
In the midst of the emergency another patient stuck his head round the curtains and demanded I do his toe dressing RIGHT NOW. The Registrar yelled at him to get out.
We saved the post-op patient. He went to CCU and all was well. I left that shift four hours late then had two days off.
On my return the ward sister pulled me up for not doing the toe dressing, the patient had complained and had said I had a "bad attitude"
Fuck him and the selfish horse he rode in on.
Who wouldn't have a bad attitude when you are up to your eyeballs in life and death stuff, afraid that people you are responsible for are going to die because you can't give them the time. You are dehydrated yourself and 9 hours without a meal. Your sickest patient just got worse and you have seconds to implement the actions that you need to ensure his survival. And just at that moment in time someone gets in your face and demands that you stop what you are doing to change a toe dressing. There is not a human being alive who would not explode in that instant. Nurses handle it better than others could, and they bite their tongues more often than not.
Edited to add: Don't forget to add your comments over at the nursing times as well.