Thursday, 26 January 2012

Caring and common sense

In order to boost my argument (that things aren't what they were in the nursing profession), and also to keep this blog from dying away altogether, I thought I'd give an example of what I mean.

Quite recently, one of my sons, T, was admitted to hospital. He was in dreadful pain, and since his wife couldn't leave her toddler to be with him while he waited for surgery, I tore up (as you do) to do my mummy bit and sit with him. So far so good.

When I reached the hospital, he was in an A & E holding area; ie everyone on trolleys, but with curtains between them. Fair enough. But while it had taken me two hours to get there, my son was lying on his trolley fully clothed (he hadn't even manged to take his shoes off as he was in so much pain), uncovered, with no pillow. I asked a nurse (who was hanging around doing nothing) if he could please have a pillow, and he (the nurse) looked at me as though I were mad, but found one for me (there was a trolley laden with pillows). T was on that trolley for several hours, and in that time, not one single person so much as looked round the curtains to see how he was.

Yes, nurses are busy, but nurses have always been busy. In this case, they didn't seem to have anything much to do at all. A nurse shouldn't have to be trained to have the common sense to make someone comfortable; any fool can see that someone lying on a trolley needs something behind their head (and trolleys are hard. Believe me; I know). No amount of training is going to instil that kind of common sense (never mind compassion).

This is a small example. Nobody died, and T made a good recovery. I have heard many far worse stories. But it shows that at least some nurses shouldn't be doing the job at all. Nursing is, quite simply, attracting some of the wrong people, while putting off many who would make competent, caring nurses.

Any more exmaples (good or bad!)?


  1. Where is the common sense, Frances? It is a crime that some truly caring and potentially brilliant nurses will never become nurses because they haven't done the time at university.
    I'm glad your son made a full recovery - thank goodness you were there, but it makes you wonder about all those people who have no one to speak up for them doesn't it.

  2. Hi, Teresa. Yes - worrying, isn't it?