Saturday, 22 January 2011

Ward Nurse Suspended...

I received a cry for help in my email inbox this week.

It was from the husband of a registered nurse who has been qualified and working on the frontlines as a direct care Nurse for 30 years.

Recently she was left as the only experienced/qualified nurse for a very large number of ill patients on her ward. Like my hospital, her hospital as probably ignored the Nurses' complaints about short staffing of real nurses on the wards.

Her least ill patient was a man having minor surgery.  He was fine.  Never complained to her or about her.  He recovered well and went home.  All of you who work as acute care nurses and find yourselves as the only RN on a large ward know that you cannot give time to well patients without killing your sickest ones.

After this patient was discharged his wife  wrote a nasty note to the hospital complaining about the fact that she did not feel that her husband received enough one to one care. 

The Nurse who was on duty that day (my correspondant's wife) was suspended because of the complaint.  She has had over 30 years as a Nurse without a mark against her.  Sounds to me like she is at the top of her pay band as a bedside Nurse and they want her gone to replace her with a totally green and inexperienced newly qualified or a kid.  They are on lower salaries.  You see a lot of this in Nursing.  I had a good friend (and mentor) who was qualified for 40 years.  She was top of her pay band as a bedside Nurse.  They got rid of her over something completely made up and replaced her with a newly qualified Nurse on a much lower pay band.  Hospitals have been playing these games with bedside RN's since the late 80's when they decided that professional Nursing at the bedside wasn't worth spending money on anymore.  Once they decided that it has been nothing but cut cut cut.  Not only do they get rid of their most experienced bedside RN's but they don't replace those who quit or retire with staff of equal value, training or experience.   Many will blame well educated Nurses for the shitstorm that is hospital nursing care these days.  But the truth is that well educated qualified Nurses KNOW that they need to be at the bedside with their hands getting dirty in all aspects of patient care.   Hospital management does not give a shit know this. 

I have seen this kind of thing in my hospital.  Management won't accept liability and they won't deal head on with problems at ward level (lack of qualified staff).   And a Nurse or a Doctor becomes a sacrificial lamb.  I have no doubt that this Nurse will be reported by her hospital to the board of Nursing that she is licensed with for patient neglect.  In which case she is guilty until proven innocent and gagged from talking about how her ward was staffed and what was going on with her multiple other patients.  I have seen it happen.  I hope this Nurse has a lot of money put aside for legal fees.

Even though I detest Unions and think that they are worthless for health care professionals I do hope that this lady is unionised.  But then again, what will the union do about it?  Hospital chiefs laugh at the Nursing Unions.  We have absolutely no leverage and cannot strike.  I don't know how to advise the husband of this Nurse.  I hope that they can afford a good lawyer.

This post makes me think of a fantastic book by a journalist named Suzanne Gordon. She is not a nurse but she studies Nurses and has spent years shadowing qualified Nurses at work on hell wards.  She understands what is going on.  Her book is called Nursing Against the Odds but I think a better title would be "Oh My God what the FUCK has happened to Nursing care on the Wards" or perhaps "Don't Blame the Nursing Profession, asshole".

Great book if you get a chance to read it.

19 comments:

Com Mat said...

God help her if her fate is to be decided by the NMC's gang of hysterical lesbians........

Nurse Anne said...

I don't think that she is in the UK.

Nurse Anne said...

hysterical lesbians. LOL.

JG said...

I keep saying I'd be living in London right now if it weren't for the NHS. I actually got in an argument on the NYC subway with a good friend of mine over socialized medicine in general. And why it doesn't work in Canada, the UK, Spain, or the Netherlands in particular (as those are the only systems I have any knowledge or experience with).
Following the links in this post just makes me more certain of that fact. I fell in love with London on my honeymoon. The marriage may not have lasted, but my fascination with that city and the British culture has. Maybe if I were in a different field and ignorant enough to not know what I was getting myself into...

Nursing Student said...

"God help her if her fate is to be decided by the NMC's gang of hysterical lesbians........"

-- Best effin comment I've ever read. BRAVO.

I doubt very much her licence will be at risk from this non-incident but I do worry for her job like you said, Anne. 30 years in the profession and this is the thanks she gets for all those years. Wasted years I would imagine she feels right now. I hope things turn out OK for her.

Student in Scotland said...

I agree with the sentiment of the post but the hysterical lesbians comment I actually find offensive.

Nurse Anne said...

Then let's call them hysterical heterosexuals! Or how but we just refer to them as the twatarazzi?

Com Mat said...

I find the NMC quite offensive to be honest....
Am still waiting for the money grabbing twats to justify why they can have the bleedin cheek to charge me nearly £80 a year just to have my name on a register and then to assume any of us who have the misfortune of getting hauled in front of the NMC mafia are guilty..... Regardless of the facts.....
Hysterical Harpies!

Nurse Anne said...

NMC mafia. LOL.

Makes me think of Robert DiNero in a Nurse's uniform glaring at me from behind judge type bench.

Teamwork. Badda boom.

Nursing Student said...

Even DiNiro is no match for "the code".

Nurse Anne said...

This Nurse didn't work well as a team with the other ward staff. And he didn't fill in his careplans:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-sV-O2-jCY&feature=related

Nurse DeNiro of the NMC family, England division dealt with him for is violation of the code.

Nick said...

Only came across your blog in the last few days, and in general I think you've done a great service to other nurses by speaking out about your experiences at work.

I think you're wrong though about unions, and specifically in your assertion in this blogpost that nurses "cannot strike". Not only can nurses strike, but they often have done so, most recently in order to win improvements in pay and conditions in Ireland a couple of years ago.

It's a commonly held misconception that nurses can't strike.

Likewise with your comments about the unions. As a long-standing UNISON member I'm well aware of how poor the unions can often be in responding to issues, both local and national. However, stronger unions in the health service are an essential part of changing the culture to one where problems get solved rather than brushed under the carpet, and people feel able to raise issues without being victimised.

Anonymous said...

yes , This Nurse didn't work well as a team with the other ward staff.

http://www.cnatraininghub.org

Anonymous said...

i am a nurse in a NHS hospital, this blog is a pack of lies. no doubt written by an american.

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