Sunday, 18 May 2014

A Good Nurse

In the Uk nurses have a governing body. It's called the NMC ( Nursing & Midwifery Council). All trained nurses have to be registered with the NMC and if they break it's code of conduct, then they are liable to disciplinary action  and potentially may be removed from the nursing register, in some cases for life.
Everything has to be transparent nowadays, and the NMC is no different. Every month, on it's website it publishes the names of 150 or so nurses who are being investigated for breaking the code of professional conduct. The reasons for these hearings are many and varied, and synopsis of these are also outlined succinctly on the site alongside any disciplinary action taken, but every month scores of names extend an already worrying long list, and every month scores of nurses are removed from the register http://www.nmc-uk.org/Hearings/Hearings-and-outcomes/
Have a look at  the list. It makes for a  sobering read.

As a nurse manager, I have been involved in investigating and disciplining trained nurses and it is not a pleasant experience. A good ward manager should know their staff inside and out, so should preempt many problems before they become potentially catastrophic, but with pressures on senior nurses set to increase, could it be possible that more bad nurses seep into the system?
Who knows....

When I was a student nurse, our old tutor Mr Brint, used to hammer home his mantra for being  trained nurse
"Stick to the code of conduct......Be safe..........treat everyone as you would like to be treated and breath through your mouth when dealing with unpleasant body fluids"
It was very good advice.

I am on duty at the hospital again tonight, and I know on ITU I will be witness to some outstanding nursing care. Nursing Care  which so often will be dumbed down by the nurses themselves .
Oh I don't mean the technical stuff, like setting up the haemofiltration machine or sorting out a particularly troublesome procedure ...as impressive as these things are, it is those little  extra" basic" things that makes a good nurse...... A cool flannel on a flushed face. a right word at a difficult time, a small kindness to a relative.... I see these things everyday I am at work.....

The NMC hearing website will continue to worry. Nursing has taken an awful battering recently too......
I just wish that, we strive for some balance in the whole " bad nurse" debate ......that's all
If you read the Daily Mail, listen to the news and read the NMC website.....you would be forgiven to think that the entire nhs is staffed by drunken yob psychopaths


43 comments:

  1. I've said it before; I have huge respect for (good) nurses.

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  2. A good nurse is a thing of joy and wonder. And sadly rarer than they used to be. Here at least there is too much emphasis on the procedures at the expense of the humanity.

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  3. I know I don't have what it takes to be a nurse and admire and am grateful to all those wonderful souls who do. Like You.

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  4. In the absence of Sarah Toa, I am going to request that you take the apostrophe out of 'its'. There are none so righteous as the newly converted.

    With the NHS being the largest employer in the world (I think) it would be hardly surprising if there was not the odd rotten apple in the barrel.

    It's (that's where the apostrophe should be) the private sector which seems to have more than their fair share. I'm thinking of care homes for the elderly.

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    1. 'It's web site' is wrong. It's called the NMC' is right. Belonging to it, is 'its'; it is, is it's. Now let's have no more mistakes.

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    2. My, my. Keep going with the apostrophe police (of which I am a voluntary, though not militant, member) and Nurse John will choose sleep over spending valuable time entertaining us with many a tale of his side line, Noah's ark.

      U

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    3. Got to keep our grammar standards up. My pet hate I'm afraid.

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    4. Flash signal to FO: 'Situation deteriorating rapidly. Government and it's forces collapsing, Its vital we start evacuating British Nationals now before its too late!'

      Memo from Minister to Under-Secretary: 'Do not deign to reply. This isn't the first time I have had to warn the man about punctuation.'

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  5. Well said John - there is always a lot of publicity about the bad ones and very little said about the good ones.

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  6. I agree. Well said John. At the risk of sounding bloody old, which I am, I suspect one of the problems with staff (and patients) is different attitudes to what is acceptable behaviour in our me me me society. I care passionately about the NHS and feel most employees do their utmost to keep it going despite what the government chucks at it.

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  7. A pity that professional footballers, politicians and others do not have such a strict code of conduct.
    On a lighter note a professor from Cambridge University once told me of a student of his who, in a medical exam, had answered a question about the appropriate treatment for an illness as follows; "Put the patient to bed with a good nurse" "I gave him half a mark for that" said my informant. "If he'd said a bad nurse he'd have got a whole mark!"

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  8. I've written about " good nurses" a few times... Today is slightly different.....I think I was quite shocked at the NMC website and the long long lists of hearings.........

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  9. I wonder where Lady McFarlane of Llandaff fits in here, she who pioneered nursing degrees and nurse training in universities and not a patient in sight.

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    1. I am all for nursing degree courses
      Give me a bright and compassionate nurse over a compassionate and dim one anyday

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    2. I wondered what you would say. I remember reading her obituary a couple of years ago and thinking it might be her fault that the nurses used to pass by my mum's bed and not notice that the plate was too far away for her to reach it and eat her dinner.

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  10. I looked up the site, and picked a month at random and looked at several of the charges. It's about what I'd expect, failure to follow procedure, thievery, misuse of drugs. Looking at the number of registered nurses in the UK, nearly seven hundred thousand, I don't think the UK stands out in this respect.

    We'd like to think as health care professionals that we are somehow different, if not elevated, in this respect. Alas, that hasn't been my experience from across the isle from nurses. MD's are no exception, many have feet of clay. A few years ago my mentor, who should have retired years ago, was convicted of trading Rx's for sexual favors. A brilliant, compassionate man, he at age 82, had stayed too long at the party, and ended his career abysmally.

    What I looked for in a nurse, particularly in the ICU, was competence, an equal in providing care. What told me if I'd found one was if they questioned an order, or a procedure. That told me I had an active mind in front of me. I'd like to think I never fell back on 'because I said so, I'm the doctor'.

    Cheers to you and all your ilk, John. You all made my work a pleasure, almost always.

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    1. Well said that man
      Knowing when to go is a skill in itself

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  11. Professionals doing good work is not news, only the bad make headlines.

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  12. I haven't frequented many hospitals. Here or abroad. But it does happen. Either to oneself or someone you accompany.

    On the whole I have nothing but admiration for the medical profession, whether in a starring (surgeon) role or a supporting one (nurse).

    Yet, three years ago ... I was in two minds what to do about about a shameful incident. It was awful. Story too long to tell, and I dare say you, John, have heard it all before. That nurse possibly the only person who, in her professional capacity, I despise. I made as much clear to her on a follow up visit. Though did not take it further. A decision I now question myself for. She needed her knuckles rubbed. Big time. Not so much on my behalf. But what of all those future patients treated like I was? At the time I was in no shape or form to protest. And that's the point: You are at someone's mercy when at your most vulnerable. Count your lucky stars before you lose a marble.

    Other than that? I think it a great test of character to be a GOOD nurse, WITHOUT taking your "work" home. No doubt, you know about how to be compassionate yet staying detached for your own sanity, John. Difficult balance. I am sure.

    U

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  13. Sounds just like the teaching profession . There will be good and bad nurses and everybody only talks about the bad ones while the good, conscientious ones shoulder more and more with little or no thanks from the general public.

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  14. When the kid's dad had his amputation and skin graft 27 years ago we did come up against 3 or 4 terrible nurses. BUT the majority of the nurses were truly wonderful people who made a catastrophic life changing experience a managable situation and five in particular who made our lives copeable (is that a word) in such a way as to have had an effect on us today. These people could have been given the highest awards in the country and it would not be enough. I like to believe that there are more of the latter than the former, even all these years later.

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  15. Well, I have no complaints!

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    1. Mr popular patient!

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    2. When you're inside, Mate, you don't rock the boat!

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  16. Too much work by too few people. It is a hard, sometimes thankless job. I am grateful there are as many good nurses as there are!

    Have a good evening, John. I never liked being a manager. God bless.

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  17. Oh John, you know the Daily Fail, they hate us coppers aswell! Let's hope they're never injured or a victim of crime! 😉

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  18. Thank goodness for the good ones. x

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  19. Re: "If you read the Daily Mail, listen to the news and read the NMC website.....you would be forgiven to think that the entire nhs is staffed by drunken yob psychopaths"

    Actually... If you read the Daily Mail you would be forgiven to think that the Daily Mail is staffed by drunken yob psychopaths. I try to avoid it.

    I've never met a bad nurse but I think I have met a couple of bad doctors, but thankfully my sample size of nurses and doctors has been small, so far.

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  20. John pet, I don't even live in the UK and even I know that anyone who read the Daily Mail and/or takes it seriously is an eedjit. xo

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  21. Surely no one takes The Daily Mail seriously!

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  22. There are a lot of good nurses out there. My brother is a nurse, here in the U.S. It is a tough job.

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  23. May 12th was International Nurses Day and here in Oz there were so many fantastic stories floating around the media about some outstanding nurses. I have a sister who is a Dementia Nurse (Night Shift - now that is an experience) and she is finding it very physically hard at the age of 57 despite all the lifting equipment. Our new budget (released last week) is taking the retirement age to 70. Can you imagine nursing on your feet all day at 70? Obviously a decision made by those who have sat behind a desk their entire careers. Viva La Vida Nurses !!! Death to Politicians!! Let hope they soon have to visit a hospital and the nurses get their revenge.

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  24. Nobody takes up the training to become a nurse because they want to get rich fast, and with as little work as possible. Everyone who starts to work in this area has something in them that others lack, and I admire them for that quality. I have not looked at the list of "bad" nurses, but I am sure none of them started out "bad" - they took a wrong decision at some stage, and it is right for them to be held accountable for what they have done wrong. But is it necessary to publish their names? This sounds like an invitation to a witch hunt. In Germany, it would be illegal to disclose their names.

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  25. i can not tell you wonderfull job the district nurse's did so i could keep my husband at home until the end and the ever watchfull eye they kept on me as well only one bad time was bank staff told docter and he had them gone the care was beyond their duties i am sure a big thank you to them all

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  26. I never read newspapers, they are full of witch hunts.
    Nurses one week, teachers the next. My own profession was the target several times.
    Most professionals do a good job, in fact even a fantastic job in the face of budget cuts and political interference.
    Every profession has its smattering of rotten apples and sadly all the tightening of rules, the excessive amount of note making and onerous protocols will not get rid of them - only make the job more difficult for everyone.

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  27. I told you earlier in the week that you nursed my sister last year, she thinks you are an excellent nurse. I just hope that I never have the need to find out for myself. keep up the good work.x

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  28. So it is nurses now that get the brunt of ire? Here in the US, especially NJ, it is teachers and their unions. Amazing how many who do not do the actual jobs, nurse, teacher, policeman, want to decimate or degrade them on just the few bad apples. Bastards.
    My friend who is a surgical nurse in a hospital here has mentioned the pressure from the Administration about using less nurses and taxing their good ones to do all the work. Such a shame that "care" goes to the wayside for dollars.

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  29. We need something like this for our politicians. Not just a list of offenders, but actually boot them out of their jobs.

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  30. I love this line: breath through your mouth when dealing with unpleasant body fluids"

    I have never known how nurses manage to do what they do. they are near-saint hood.

    The final nurse reminded me of actress Jane Wick, God bless her soul. She could become any off-kilter actress needed for a movie that needed one.

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    1. It is indeed Mary wicks

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  31. I'm glad nurses are monitored so carefully to ensure they work to the highest standards, given they have such an incredibly responsible job to do. And I'm sure those nurses who have to be disciplined are in the minority and that most nurses are extremely conscientious and professional.

    As for the Daily Mail, they twist and distort everything they report, and seem to delight in persecuting innocent people. As Andrew says, it's the journalists who are the drunken yob psychopaths, not their random targets.

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  32. I believe that Mary Wicks was the life partner of Vivian Vance who played Ethel on the Lucille Ball Show.

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    1. Thanks sparrow..I didn't know that

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