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A Nurses Perspective And Frustrations!!!
Working in the NHS
Member Name: ickleannie
Working in the NHS
Advantages: Nursing the best job in the world
Disadvantages: Lack of resources and staff makes it hard to do the job
As most of you on here know i am a staff nurse in a busy teaching hospital in Oxford. I have heard lots of gripes regarding the NHS in general and the general lack of care from the staff who are employed by various NHS trusts throughout the UK. I have to say for the most part i tend to disagree with the majority of the statements that i have read either in the press or heard on the television. I think that when you are working on the frontline your perspective changes and i hope after reading this i may influence others to take a fresh look at the staff who work in the various departments within the NHS in a new light particularly from a nurses perspective.
Ok i dont disagree that there are some bad apples within the organisation however this is so for any company which employs literally thousands of people however rest assured they tend to be found out for who and what they are and brought into line, performance managed or dismissed. I personally have some wonderful friends and colleagues who i have met through out my working life within the NHS and most of them including myself have gone way above the call of duty to ensure that the patients within their care recieve the best treatwent that can possibly be given. Most of us dont sign up to be paid a fortune we do it because we are generally interested in the work and wish to care for the patients who are charged to our care.
I recently sustained an injury at work and had to go to the accident and emergency department on a busy Saturday night. Although i was fast-tracked through the system the whole process from start to finish took over five hours. From initially being triaged to x-rayed and being seen by a doctor. I must admit it was very strange being on the other side of the patient care system. Initially the time i had to wait was extremely annoying until i became aware as to why this was the case. I have to say i was quite appauled by what i was seeing while i sat in the reception area waiting to be seen. Literally one drunk after another passed through the doors. Falling all over the place with blood pouring from their faces. It got busier and busier as pub-chucking out-time curfew came and went. There were people fighting, vomiting all over the place, passing out. Crying at and verbally and physically abusing the nursing staff. While all of this was going on there were a few patients like myself with genuine injuries not caused through over-indulgence having to wait while the over-worked staff on the department tried to see everyone as quickly as possible and deal with the torrent of abuse from members of the drunken general public. The whole episode was an utter disgrace and i have to say i felt extremely shocked. Is this the reason why the NHS cant afford to spend money in other departments because of the wreckage of a one night drinking binge!!. Bear in mind this was just in the minor injuries clinic of one A and E department and this would have been replicated hundreds of times around the country in similar NHS establishments. I spoke to the ward sister who i have to say was a wonderful woman and who quite literally had the patience of a saint particularly as she said that some of the patients are there virtually every weekend!!. Hats off to her and her staff who were extremely thin on the ground. Cheers government for cutting the staffing levels in our NHS departments and you wonder why the staff experience stress and burn-out when there are not enough of us to go around to get the job done with limited resources.
Although the above example is an extreme one the reality is that Limited resources is something else that has to be dealt with on a daily basis. Ancient equipment often being used because the funding keeps getting cut and cut and ward budgets unfortunately only being able to afford the absolute bare essentials to get by. We quite often run out of razors and shaving gel and other toiletries on our ward which really is not acceptable as it is a basic right for patients to be able to maintain a high level of personal hygiene. I myself have taken deodorant out of my own locker and given it to a patient to ensure that they were fresh and comfortable. Stock is often poor as budget restraints often mean that the supply chain has to source much cheaper products which in my opinion are often not fit for purpose. We have sheets with stains and holes in them. Essential life-monitoring equipment which breaks down frequently and the worst part in my opinion is a lack of trained staff present on the wards. I appreciate that money needs to be saved however removing frontline staff can only lead to further problems. Patients are not being treated quickly, often being left and not washed until after lunchtime. There arent enough staff to ensure that the weak and infirm are fed properly or have pressure areas treated and that the patients are frequently turned.
Nurses often work twelve and a half hour shifts as i do however we often say that there are just not enough hours in a shift to be able to perform all the tasks that we are charged with. I have heard lots of patients say that they hardly ever see a nurse on a daily basis however at the same time they also know how busy we all are. Unfortunately this does happen in that we priotitise care needs and the sicker you are the more care you actually recieve!! This is not how we nurses want to conduct ourselves however with fewer of us on the wards these days it is an unfortunate fact of the NHS hospital ward and is certainly not the way patient care should be in an ideal world. Still however through it all most of us laugh and smile and still have the time to be able to pass the time of day with our patients. I for one would not wish to have chosen a different career path i absolutely love my job and would not change it for the world. I am fortunate that were i work i get to know patients and their families really well because of the nature of their illnesses they come back to us time and time again. Perhaps one day things will change for the better in that we can recieve a bottomless pit of money enabling our services to be 5 star unfortunately nurses today just make-do the system as we know it sees to that. Our team is fabulous and we all care for and look out for each other with support from colleagues and other members of the wider multi-disciplinary team.
For all those people that point the finger at nurses for providing poor patient care hopefully they will have a rethink because most of us genuinely are into the art of looking after our patients in a professional compassionate and caring manner and are deeply dissapointed when there are cases highlighted in the media of a select few who let our profession down and it really should not reflect badly on the rest of the nursing community as a whole. I would be the first to admit that none of us are perfect however we are only human at the end of the day and yes i will admit it we do have our off days like everyone else!!!. However i am blessed in a way that in my job there is always something that i do however small or seemingly insignificant on a daily basis which provides a patient with some form of comfort and i know that i have made a difference and the satisfaction gained from that feeling is second to none. In a nutshell we dont live in a perfect world however we make do with the tools that we have and i wouldnt swap my job for all the tea in china. Just a thought wouldnt it be fair to make serial accident prone drinkers pay for their treatment and the money be distributed where it is really needed!! Thanks for reading.