Tuesday, 1 March 2011
The current state of nursing
The recent publicity around the care of the elderly in care homes and hospitals has highlighted a growing problem in the health service: quite simply, nurses are no longer nurses.
I have had a bee in my bonnet about this for years as I have watched nursing move from a practical, hands-on profession to an all-graduate one, with disastrous results. Who hasn't heard tales of nurses chatting round the nurses' station while patients lie in their own excrement, or can't reach a glass of water? I have seen this for myself. It is not a lack of funds, or even a lack of staff (when I nursed back in the dark ages, we were often short of staff, but no patient ever went hungry or dirty) that is at the root of the problem. It is the lack of the right training and the right candidates. People who would make excellent nurses are deterred by lack of qualifications or the willingness to take a degree, and thus we are losing many caring young people who would make excellent nurses.
Once, I was proud to say that I was a nurse. Now, I feel a deep sense of shame that a profession which was once so great has fallen to such depths.
Ask yourself this. If you were in an aeroplane, would you rather be flown by a pilot who had a degree, or one who had learnt his skills in the cockpit? Flying aeroplanes is also a profession. A practical profession. I know which I'd choose.