"My thoughts on nursing care"

About: Northern General Hospital

(as the patient),

I think that nursing care is a national problem but is probably much less of one here in Sheffield than in the rest of the UK. Starting with the worst first, there are a couple of nurses who display a subtle, aggressive questioning attitude to patients ringing for assistance. This might entail untangling the injured limb, lifting it or covering it.

The lady concerned, on the only two occasions she came to me, asked me in the afore said manner, “What’s the matter then?” The vocal impression I got was that of 'here you are, complaining again'.

I did not often call for assistance, and it was usually for one of the other patients who had urgent bowel or bladder problems in the early hours and was unable to find their own call buttons. My reply to this nurse’s question was a straight, “Nothing is the matter, I just like my leg moved (or whatever) please.” Needless to say, the same nurse or attendants approached my fellow patients in the same way and on one occasion my neighbour was moved impatiently and roughly by her, which seemed to cause him a lot of pain. However, she realised she made a mistake and apologised to him.

Perhaps the main problem for all patients is that we might ask for something, like a packet of wipes, or service, or a pillow moved and be assured by an apparently wide-awake and intelligent likeable nurse and assured that it would be done in just a minute. That person would then disappear for hours. I once requested something to five different staff before it finally arrived a day later! We don’t know whether the question they often put which is, “Are you alright then”, is genuine or merely a formality to which the reply was never mentally registered. Certainly many times a nurse would look into the ward and probably more than one patient would want to ask something but in spite of calls to the nurse, she or he would walk off.

This paragraph has nothing to do with the staff mentioned in the first paragraph. At least one third of the nurses are truly very good, they are patient, helpful, kind and have a sense of vocation, not shared by the others. I am sincerely grateful to both young and older ones.

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