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.
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.
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