"One nurse treated me with kindness ..."

About: Cheltenham General Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

One nurse treated me with kindness and actually chatted to me. Evidence of intensive cleaning activities. Swabbing of patients for 'superbugs.'

What could be improved

On admission, nurses avoided eye contact, shrugged, mumbled about not being enough beds, pointed to a seat and asked me to "wait until we've cleared a bed" There was no welcome of any kind, I was made to feel like I was a huge inconvenience to them. Later on the ward, they avoided eye contact, rarely even spoke to patients unless it was to administer a pill, and, in general, seemed more animated and chatty when standing at the nurse's station talking to each other rather than bothering to go around the ward. One nurse was an exception, she was incredibly caring, kind, and actually spoke to me as if I was a person. Well done, that nurse....a credit to your profession.

Please remember, going into hospital is a pretty frightening/un-nerving experience for most people, hospitals are not factories, those are real people in the beds and your job is to care for them psycologically as well as physically. Yes, you may not have the time anymore to sit at the bedside chatting, I appreciate you are sometimes incredibly busy, but being human instead of looking indifferent and totally avoiding eye contact just in case a patient asks you for something is not exactly being part of a "caring" profession, is it?

I spoke to a retired nurse about this and she said..."something, somewhere has gone very wrong with nurse training and I think it all started in project 2000..... "

Doctors! You too...! I am not interested in your social lives....though I had to listen to a small gaggle of junior/trainee doctors standing on the ward whining about there "not being enough action" in certain departments....the parties you've been to, and colleagues who "can't hack it"

You're supposed to be professionals...act like it. If you want to have that kind of chat, do it in the staff room, not on the wards where patients can hear. It gives the impression that you think patients are "invisible" - they are not, they are there and they are earwigging your gossip.

Anything else?

When you're in hospital, feeling a bit glum, it's easy to focus on the negative, and I am sure there are many brilliant, caring people working there, indeed during subsequent out patient visits I met some. Other people have mentioned dubious levels of cleanliness, but on the ward I was on I was impressed that they were taking swabs from patients to look for MRSA etc and there was plenty of cleaning activity going on. Excellent.

The food was dire - is this some kind of secret campaign to encourage relatives to bring in food for patients? If so - it worked.

What I would like to reiterate is that you're dealing with people, and yes I am sure some of them can be awkward, or unpleasant, (I am not one of them - believing in courtesy at all times) and it cannot be easy sometimes. But please let's not lose sight of the fact that healthcare is a person-centred activity and this should be reflected in training and above all staffing levels. A smile, a quick chat, being reassuring instead of indifferent, making eye contact, asking if a patient is ok, may, in the heat of a busy shift seem like trivialities, but to patients it's a huge boost to recovery and moral.

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Response from Cheltenham General Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments.

The Trust recognises that not all experiences in our hospitals are as positive as we would like, however we do do take the views of our patients very seriously and will be sharing your comments with senior staff. We would welcome personal contact from you, because in order to look into your concerns in detail we would need more information.

If you would like to make contact please call the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0800 0193282.

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