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Inside Thoughts on Nursing and the NHS

Over recent years, the NHS and healthcare profession has been all over the media.  We’ve seen the junior doctors strike and the disgust regarding the 1% nursing pay rise.  During the junior doctors strikes, I shared their stories on Facebook and gently explained it to people who didn’t understand.  I’ve also repeatedly explained why a 1% pay rise for nurses is a joke.

I qualified as an adult nurse in 2014, and immediately moved to Bristol to start my career.  I’ve worked in acute and community care; for the NHS and also for private companies.  Now, after 3 years in this profession, I so desperately want to talk in detail about my nursing experiences – the happy times and the hardships.  Though due to data protection and confidentiality, I feel the need to censor myself.

As a nurse, we are registered with a governing body – the Nursing and Midwifery Council – who regulate our practice.  This not only relates to our jobs, but requires us to act in an appropriate and professional manner at all times.  It’s not that hard, it just means you shouldn’t have photos of you falling about drunk made public on Facebook.  Our patients need to trust us.  Their families need to trust us.  As a 29 year old who looks about 18, I find it takes a little longer to gain patients trust as it is.  Someone vulnerable who is scared needs to feel in safe hands.

Social Media

In the last few years, I have seen and shared several stories online.  From doctors and nurses, who describe a typical day or horrendous shift in detail.  These stories NEED to be read.  In the back of my mind, I wonder if this method of sharing has had any negative effects on their registration.  However, I am so glad they have the guts to share the stories that I don’t.  I am too scared that I would be seen to be in breach of data protection, or unprofessional, and consequently lose my job.

As the stress and strain on the NHS becomes worse, this unfortunate form of censorship is helping sweep the problems under the rug.  If more of us could speak out about the difficulties faced every day with staffing, working hours and lack of support.  Then maybe things might start to change.  What if every healthcare professional wrote a post every day listing the difficulties faced?  Would the public be outraged?

The National Health Service

I love nursing and genuinely love taking care of people.  Being the kind face and the support they need.  I take pride in my work; everything from how I explain something, to how I bandage a leg.  Palliative care was a large part of my job in the community.  Taking care of someone who is dying, and their family too, might be the hardest part of my job.  I wish I had all the time in the world; to sit with my dying patient, my scared patient and every confused/scared member of their families.

The NHS is an amazing service.  Maybe you have had a bad experience, sometimes this happens.  Though, overall, we should be so thankful to receive free healthcare services.  The cost of a one day hospital stay in the USA can run into thousands of dollars.  Unlike in the UK, where we will keep people who are medically fit for discharge, until we can make social care arrangements for them in the community.  For free.

If you are unlucky enough to find yourself needing medical care, please remember that nobody is perfect.  The doctors and nurses are doing their absolute best to provide gold standard care, with the resources and time available.  We will skip breaks and go home dehydrated to make sure your mum gets her pain medication.  Or stay late to write detailed notes about your grandad, that will assist with his discharge the next day.

My Hopes for Nursing

I read so many nursing blogs before I wrote this.  From students to retired nurses.  This is an amazing career I have chosen, but we are faced with so many obstacles.  With upcoming Brexit, and the continuing privatisation of NHS services, the future of nursing is uncertain.  I hope it remains a free service as it was supposed to be.

So I ask you to use the NHS wisely.  Don’t show up to A&E unless it’s an emergency.  Buy the 16p paracetamol instead of getting a prescription.  If you are not housebound, go to the GP surgery for treatment.  Every time you misuse the free services, you delay someones treatment who needs it.

We do this job because we care about people, and we want to help them.  It is an incredibly rewarding job.  Made easier by every patient I’ve had who appreciated me doing my job.  Who smiled and gave me fudge (I love fudge).  The ones who said, “oh I’m glad it’s you dear”.  Also, to every great colleague I’ve worked with – and there’s been some amazing ones – you make me proud to be a nurse.

I’ll keep nursing for now, but I’m intrigued to see what the future holds.

Laura x

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39 thoughts on “Inside Thoughts on Nursing and the NHS

  1. This was such an interesting read. I actually started training to become a nurse a few years ago but found it wasn’t for me. You do such an amazing job, you should be so proud. It’s scary the thought of the NHS becoming privatised and it genuinely really worries me what’s going on in this country at the moment. Nurses and Drs are all already under so much pressure and with cuts the government are making and rumours of it being privatised, it all just seems like such a mess!

    Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

    1. So many people drop out of the training. I’m sure there was over 200 of us to start with and less than 100 graduated.
      It really is a bit of a mess everywhere isn’t it! Fingers crossed things start to level out. x

  2. I’m not in the nursing profession but I stand with all those who are. The 1% pay rise literally made me laugh, it’s a joke. The work you do is amazing and there’s not enough credit for everyone who does this. It’s literally life saving yet footballers get mega bucks?! Nah. This is such an insightful read.

    Jordanne || Thelifeofaglasgowgirl.co.uk

    1. Thanks Jordanne, I gather you are in hospital just now, I hope you are being treated well!
      I totally agree. It sounds selfish but I do find myself thinking that as a nurse we deserve more pay! lol
      Laura x

  3. I definitely think you made the right choice in sharing your thoughts and experiences as a nurse. I would personally like to see more posts like these. Not going to lie, I did question the junior doctor strikes sometimes but it is really refreshing to get more of an insight through the doctors themselves. I really hope that the NHS does remain a free service. The government needs to start spending its money more wisely.

    Meg x | the-writeblog.blogspot.co.uk

    1. Thanks Meg. I was really scared and I suppose still am.
      The Drs strike was way over complicated by the media. They wanted them to work more hours for less money. I once worked nightshift with a junior Dr who had been on nights for 14 days in a row. When it’s 12+ hour shifts that is just brutal!
      Absolutely. Hopefully things start to change with government spending, but who knows.
      Laura x

    1. You’ll be amazed at what you can cope with when you’re helping someone who can’t help themselves. Thank you for reading! x

  4. Someone I know used to work in hospital nursing so i’ve heard some of what it is like. You guys do an amazing job and I hope the nurses get the wages they feel they deserve and you riased some good points on how we can help the NHS.

  5. This is so interesting from an American Perspective. Like all things in the US, the medical field is a highly competitive one- both as a professional and a patient. It’s so hard that nurses all over the world are asked to do so much, and somehow get so little in return. I’m so thankful I’ve had so many wonderful nurses in my life throughout the years!

    1. I would love to have more American readers! Hopefully as time goes on, nursing will be a little better supported everywhere.

  6. This is such a great read! I thought about nursing while I was in college, but I don’t think I have the figurative balls to do it. It really takes such incredible strength! I keep seeing more and more posts about the health care industry as a whole, and I feel like this information really needs to be out there. Keep writing <3

  7. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this insightful piece. I love hearing perspectives of people who actually see nursing/the NHS first hand. I’m American but live in Wales and I am so thankful for the NHS. Thank you for working so hard!

    1. Thank you for reading Natalie. The more word we can get out there, then maybe things will change. I used to live in Bristol, so rather near you!
      Laura x

  8. I really feel for the NHS. It’s a brilliant service that I think has been taken advantage of, big time! If it’s true that every time someone is prescribed paracetamol it costs the NHS £10, when they could have bought some tablets from places like Aldi for 19p then it’s no wonder it’s in trouble. Of course, I’m always wary of what I read online, and I could be talking rubbish here. I sincerely hope things improve for it soon though 🙂

    Louise x

    1. It’s true Louise. I am from Scotland but where I worked in England the pharmacy printed the medication costs on ALL the drugs. It’s very expensive. I couldn’t believe the cost of things!
      Laura x

  9. This is such a great post. I love hearing from people in their profession and their opinions on issues within that profession. I definitely think the 1% raise is laughable. You guys do so much as nurses. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you! I enjoy hearing about other peoples jobs too. Nursing was a shock to me, I didn’t know anything about it really until I was working in it. x

  10. It’s daft, the general public is on our side and many would happily pay some extra tax to give a better pay deal to public sector or at least the emergency services – after all, aren’t firefighters the current heros after London’s terrible tragedy. The government, however, can find money for HS2, replacing Trident, 1,5 billion to DUP and pay rises for themselves – with cuts in corporate tax. 1% pay cap (initial 2 yr freeze then 1%) since 2010 is a pay cut to us all as inflation has been higher. And how the Tories cheered when they defeated the Labour bill… so sad. 🙁 We’re not in this together at all, are we? I wouldn’t leave my job though, I love it. I can still afford to do what I do. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get paid a better wage for it. Even if we had minimum inflation-linked pay rises, especially to support those nurses and firecrew who need to rely on foodbanks to feed their families.

    1. Completely agree! I don’t like to sound like it’s all about money, but that money to the DUP really took the biscuit!
      Maybe it should be a government requirement that they need to do ‘x’ hours a year volunteering in the public sector. Then they would see!

  11. Such a great read. As I have many of my family members working within healthcare and the NHS – two being nurses and studying nursing it really upsets me that people cant speak out and don’t get paid right for the incredibly hard work they do! I watch as my family members have days crumbling, and I don’t feel they get the respect that they are due. I would love to read a post everyday and see the hardships they face, then the public may realise, they may be treated differently, get a pay rise and people may even vote differently.
    Lola Mia // http://www.lolitabonita.co.uk

    1. Are you going into Nursing? Healthcare is such a rewarding profession, it’s just sad we have so many obstacles.
      Laura x

  12. Very intriguing post, my grandmother has been a nurse nearly her whole life and I’ve seen her encounter plenty of obstacles, she still does, wish you the best with the career!c

  13. I’m a teacher and can totally relate to what you are saying. All the public sector is being squeezed when it should be the foundation of our society, the thought of privatisation is really scary

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