Can the nursing profession change?

Yet another high profile report from the great and the good, stating the blindingly obvious – nurses need to be compassionate and caring above everything else. Those who started the vocation, such as Florence Nightingale knew this, as did the many dedicated nurses who followed her. Yet at some point in recent past history, the trendy thinkers managed to get hold of the vocation and turn it in to a profession that puts more emphasis on being clever than caring. We now have hospitals populated by an over qualified group of nurses who seem to of forgotten what the job is a out.

Is it likely that some report is going to make a difference, without a root and branch overhaul of those setting the standards and delivering the training – sadly I suspect not, as many of those in those positions are themselves products of the same damaged process.

9 thoughts on “Can the nursing profession change?

  1. There are far too many reports, meetings, summits etc with no action. Some of us do care a great deal about falling standards, inappropriate education and lack of practical training. See my Blog A growing number of pre university educated nurses are trying to make a difference. Everybody needs health care sooner or later so everybody needs to join the campaign to bring about change. Let’s force the hands of the academics, politicians and managers by weight of public opinion


  2. Having trained in the late fifties and early sixties, I couldn’t agree more with Helen Lambert’s letter in the April edition of WI Life. How can we change things for the better? Yes,the healthcare assistants need a more formal training and more supervision,but I feel that the qualified nurses need to spend alot more time with the patients,perhaps training the healthcare assistants. It’s no good people saying that there is a shortage of staff and shortage of money,as this has always been the case ever since the NHS was born!


  3. Thanks for your support Mary. I hope you’ll find your way to my Blog and add some comments there. The cry has always been shortage of money but it’s amazing how they can find enough for the salaries of the multitude of office dwellers who have nothing to do with patient care.


  4. Thank you for taking the time to comment of this post. I wonder if I might ask your opinions on the possibility of the government’s NHS reforms improving the current situation? Or is it the establishments providing the training that are setting the agenda for their own purposes and to quote the Borg ( for Star Trek geeks) ‘resistance is futile’?


    • I certainly hope resistance isn’t futile or I really will feel I’m wasting my time! I don’t know of one government reform of the health service that has improved the lot of the clinicians who have to try and make them work for the good of patients. There is no doubt that there have been improvements in outcomes for some patients, such as shorter waiting lists and more rapid access to specialists. There have always been “casualties” along the way however. When one condition becomes flavour of the month with politicians e.g. cancer or cardiac conditions a great deal of money gets thrown at it so the politicians can demonstrate they’ve made a difference but it is always at the expense of something less glamorous such as stroke rehabilitation.

      I don’t think politicians understand the huge role the establishments that make up the NHS play in the training of future clinicians. Private health care providers have no obligation nor desire to train nurses, doctors, physiotherapists etc because that won’t make them any profits. Too few members of the public appreciate that the majority of staff in the private sector have been trained within NHS hospitals including their specialists most of whom are simultaneously employed by the NHS.

      Private health care providers within the new arrangements will continue to cream off the profitable and simple, that’s why most of the work private hospitals do is simple, uncomplicated surgery, investigations and screening. Surgeons in training begin with the simple operations such as hernia repairs and varicose vein surgery. So where will they gain their experience if these procedures are no longer carried out in the big NHS hospitals
      Private hospitals on the whole are not full of patients with chronic conditions such diabetes, rheumatic diseases, emphysema and so on


      • (Whoops I don’t know what I did then as I hadn’t quite finished)
        As I was saying – Private hospitals are not full of patients with chronic conditions as I mentioned but NHS ones are and these are patients that need a great deal of nursing. Most wards are currently chronically understaffed for the workload they are asked to undertake. Trained nurses are thin on the ground and overburdened with paperwork whilst being expected to care for patients, teach and mentor student nurses on placement and provide in-service traiing for health care assistants.

        Will GPs (PCTs or whatever the fund holders are to be called) appreciate this and insist that more money is spent on nurses rather than administrators. I doubt it. Will hospitals have autonomy or will GPs dictate how they are run. GPs certainly don’t have the experience to do so. Many will not have worked in a hospital environment since their early post qualification house jobs or as it is now referred to “the 2 foundation years”

        I can only see the division between those providing academic training and those providing clinical experience getting wider under the new reforms. Clinicians in post should have much greater input into the world of academia be it nursing or medicine as to what is expected of new graduates, after all they are the most up to date with the current situation in health care.


      • I thought that there were ward clerks to relieve the overstretched nursing staff of the paper work! Are the clerks people of the past?


      • I believe in many places they are indeed a thing of the past and where they exist they appear to have become sort of receptionists ie they greet patients on arrival and do the basic paperwork. That’s been my personal experience.


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