Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nurses .... angels in white ? Perish the thought !

Last month, I visited an elderly neighbour of mine who was unfortunate enough to go under the knife for a hip replacement surgery and was recovering in a small hospital in Willowdale, Toronto.  During my visit, my neighbour requested a nurse for a glass of warm water to down her various pain killers. With tablets in hand, my neighbour waited and waited and waited and waited. I could see the nurse chatting away with another angel in white, but still the warm water refused to come to the patient's bed. After having had enough of this, I ventured to ask if she had forgotten the patient's request. To which she replied that someone else is boiling something and the patient will have to wait her turn.

Would it kill the nurses or break their backs to keep some warm water on hand?  Did the hospital have only one plug point for their kettles, or were they making do with just one kettle?  Would it have killed the nurse in question to come by the patient and let her know that it would take a while for her to get her hands on some warm water? Suffice to say, I don't have much respect for the nursing profession.... and it's not from just this latest incident. Of course, there are many exceptions to the rule....but their good deeds and patience are  foreshadowed by others that have that  loud "don't give a shit" attitude.

Criticism of these "angels in white" is not welcomed in our society and if a debate is ventured  on their attitude, lack of experience, bad personal hygiene and other issues,  it  will  surely flounder and die.  Cristina Odone tired .... below is her story.

Last night, unbeknownst to me, I broke a taboo. In the middle of Question Time, I delivered a heartfelt attack on a group at whose hands I have suffered – and my mother has suffered – for over a year now. If I had chosen to club baby seals, or admitted to subscribing to the pray-the-gay-away theory, I wouldn’t have been in such trouble. But I dared attack nurses, and they are sacred. So sacred in fact that when one of the programme producers walked me off the set, he congratulated me for speaking my mind, and then added, sotto voce, “they’ll be in shock, you know: nobody ever has a go at them!”

Well, it’s time someone did. There are exceptions – and they are to be cherished. But on the whole, the profession needs reform. If any other professional made a mistake (and, mind you, the nursing professionals’ mistakes can cost lives) they would face censure from their peers and above all from their victims. This is not the case with nurses: their modus operandi, as the head of the Royal College of Nursing admitted only this week, is to sweep the infraction under the carpet. Whistle-blowing is frowned upon – as if it’s letting down the side.

Worse, the public, blindly grateful for the NHS and its free care, stoically endure the suffering nurses mete out. Many of the victims of nurses’ worst misconduct are of the generation that believes in putting up and shutting up. So they do. Even when they’ve been left in their own urine for a day, or without water for 48 hours. (Both instances have occurred to family and friends.) Anecdotes, however tragic, do not make a strong argument for change; but statistics abound to drive home the point that nurses do not deliver the care we expect of them. More than 3000 complaints were made last year alone about nurses’ negligence, attitude, and sheer ignorance. The head of the Royal College of Nursing admitted that some among the profession were not up to the job.................

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