Monday, 16 July 2012

A rant about nursing-related issues

A return to this much-neglected blog, prompted by two pieces of news read/heard in the last week:

The first was the appalling death of a young man in hospital, who died from lack of fluids. He was so desperate, that he phoned 999, but when the police arrived, they were turned away. There were underlying problems, of course, and I'm sure there are other sides to this story, but the bare facts are that a young man was desperate for water, and nobody gave him any.

The second is the astonishing revelation that in some hospitals, agency nurses are earning up to £1600 per day. Hospitals are so desperate for staff, they are having to pay out enormous sums for nurses who (through no fault of their own) probably often don't know the patients or their diagnoses, or where the bedpans or dressings are kept. Because of course they are often new to that particular hospital, and haven't had time to familiarise themselves with the ward/dept in question. The next time you are in hospital, one of these nurses may be caring for you.

My point? When, oh when, is someone going to do something about the current state of nursing? And please let's bring back the old bedside SENs, even if we have to continue to have graduate nurses. With good bedside nursing, that young man would almost certainly not have died. And with enough trained bedside nurses, we wouldn't need nearly so many very expensive agency nurses. It seems we are stuck with graduate nurses (expensive to train, and often with inadequate hands-on experience), but the SENs would be a start, and a very good one. Also, bringing back their training would mean that many young people without the desire or the qualifications to be university students could still be nurses. Real nurses. Who look after people.

Oh, and who make sure they have water to drink.