Nurses should talk more but is anyone listening?

When governments tell people how to do their job it makes the job they do very political. I recently made the observation that nurses can be sacked for not completing paperwork but not for not talking to the people in their care. The recent announcement by the prime minister that nurses should talk more and do less paperwork is however a paper tiger . How are the nurses going to prove that they have followed the PM’s request? With more paperwork of course!

Paperwork is not the problem however, it is what is demanding the paperwork that is the problem. A market led health service will never work as the people who require it are not customers; they are patients (in more ways than one). People who are ill or impaired are vulnerable and weakened by the nature of their illness. They do not always want to to be asked what they would like or even if they are having a nice day. In such a vulnerable position (often made worse by very inadequate clothing in some very public places) it is usually information that is required in order to help people get out of the situation they find themselves in.

To be greeted with a ‘How can I help you ?’ may often generate a response like – ‘Well if I knew that I probably would not be here!’

Some eminent professors of health and social care call it the MacDonaldization of society, I wonder if that is really what they mean when they talk about the Big Society.

Have a nice day!

2 thoughts on “Nurses should talk more but is anyone listening?

  1. When Cameron announced that nurses would (a) have their paperwork reduced and (b) do hourly rounds my first thought was, “I bet somebody will design a whacking great form to be filled in for those hourly rounds.”

    I’m not entirely cynical about the announcement. Few would disagree that streamlining the paperwork to allow more hands-on time would be a good thing, but I suspect trying to achieve it may prove an uphill task – there’s a whole managerial culture around fear of litigation and, “If it isn’t documented, it wasn’t done.”

    There’s certain common sense measures that can and do get results – look at the way things like protected mealtimes have become widely-adopted in recent years. I’d like protected mealtimes to become mandatory. I’d also like there to be a mandatory minimum staffing levels for wards, because no amount of checks will keep the ward safe if the staff simply aren’t there.

    • oh now yes Zarathustra common sense measures would make a lot of sense! The future is bleak however with less nurses in post who are expected to do more (I very much doubt less) it is unlikely that the patient will become their priority I fear until as you point out, much of the managerial/ market forces culture changes.

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