"Burnt out and upset nurse"

About: Wrightington Hospital

(as a staff member),

After watching Channel 4 Dispatches (Confessions of a nurse) last evening i feel i need to share my story of what it is really like to work in the nhs as a nurse on a busy ward.

The concerns raised on the programme, are concerns i raised in my workplace more than 3 yrs ago. I have been nursing for 30 yrs of my life. Nursing was my life!! I became a nurse to help people, not to hurt them, as nurses were portrayed on last nights Dispatches programme.

There are a lot of reasons that nursing care may not be up to the standard that the public expect. The main reason being, government targets and lack of properly qualified staff. It's about time that the government and trust managers were assigned some blame in what is happening in the nhs today, instead of it always being the nurse who takes the flack.

I did not become a nurse to work on dangerously understaffed wards, without the proper resources to do the job properly, i call it a job, but to me and a lot like me it is more than that. I have come home after a shift many times and cried when i got home, as i was under so much pressure and stress. Can you imagine the stress you feel when you know yourself that you have not had time to care for a patient as you should have done? I felt totally demoralised.

Many times i have had to ask patients to vacate their beds in order to make room for others at 7-30 in the morning, before they've even had a chance to wake up properly. I have worked as the only trained staff on the ward on occasions with only unqualified staff as support, because of staff shortage. I have worked a 10 hour shift without a break. Nurses are under pressure all the time from managers to get patients home, often before they are ready to be discharged.

So much of the job now is clerical that a lot of the time unqualified staff are being left to their own devices to care for patients, with no supervision, as qualified staff are busy getting blood results up, or discharging patients on the computer.

A year ago i finally cracked. I had what i can only call a complete emotional breakdown. The job that i had done for 30 yrs of my life had almost mentally and physically destroyed me. I have ended up with degenerative spinal disease, which a lot of nurses have and is "a perk of the job". I left the nhs in January of this yr, my trust retired me off on the grounds of ill health, but...surprise, surprise wont pay me my pension.

The thing that saddens me about the nhs today is that it certainly isn't anything like the nhs i joined 30 yrs ago when i was 18 yrs old. Who is to blame? Certainly not the nurses.

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