To think NHS do gooders need to realise that the patient is not always right

(647 Posts)
oggieogggie Mon 24-Mar-14 15:10:25

I've had a right few weeks of it. I'm an auxilliary nurse and my morning normally starts by taking breakfasts around the ward. Picture the scene if you will - a trolley full of cereal, bowls and milk and a pot of hot porridge.

I walk into room one = "would you like breakfast this morning?" patient (full mental capacity) says "well before all that I'd like you to fix my TV. I cant get the channel to turn over." I say "well I'll see to that after breakfast, would you like some cereal?" he says "not until my TV is fixed ... can't you just do it, it will only take a minute (so everyone else should wait until YOUR TV is functioning before they get their breakfast and you don't see that as selfish at all?) I don't say this - I remain professional.

Imagine a few more patients who decide that their TV/Slippers/Laptop chargers etc are more important and then the unfortunate patients who receive cold porridge as a result -

Next I take a tray of hot toast around = One patient demands "I want it buttering and cutting into thin strips." I explain that she will either have to press the buzzer for someone else to come and do it or wait until I have finished delivering toast before it gets cold. "But I want it NOW!" she demands. Ok, so it's fine that everyone else will receive cold toast? that's ok with you is it?

Imagine more of the same throughout the day

"I can't get my phone working!" = well I'm taking care of a rather ill patient at the moment, it will have to wait." "that's it!! I'm making a complaint!!"

"I want you to wash me." = "I will help you but you have to wash what you can yourself." = "why?? its what you get paid for!!!" no actually - I get paid to help people back to independence and to care for those who genuinely can't do it themselves ... " - "Ive had no sleep!! I want you to wash me! I can barely move I'm in so much pain!!" (well walking down the stairs for a fag 10 minutes ago must have been agony then eh?)

I'm sorry, but could it not be said that sometimes, just sometimes certain patients are not always right and that as staff members we should not live in fear of one of these people complaining that we're not jumping through hoops to keep them happy? And no I've never had a complaint against me - I do that nursey thing of taking the abuse and maintaining a smile. Just lately I can't quite shake the notion that the NHS (and Britain in general) is so bothered about political correctness and ultimate customer satisfaction that it's actually counter productive. Why are we all so polite??!

arethereanyleftatall Mon 24-Mar-14 15:15:35

Just remember that you're doing a wonderful job and the vast majority of people think you're absolutely fabulous. I do.
if people complain, then quite frankly, they're wankers and you're better than them.
Hold your head high.

Firstly "Political Correctness" has nothing to do with this, unless you want the ability to use Racist/Sexist insults, or treat people differently because of a "Characteristic".

You haven't had a complaint against you, so this is a non issue.

I worked in Care, complaints meant that staffing levels were looked at and sometimes rectified.

I worked for private companies were profit did come before people.

People can be arseholes in any situation, if that's the job role that you choose, you have to learn to deal with arseholes.

Just to add, I have had hospital admissions and made complaints about the way that Dementia patients were neglected.

I was also shocked at the quality of Care a Plans written and the lack of simple things, such as the lack of a pressure cushion.

frumpet Mon 24-Mar-14 15:21:23

Just keep smiling , thats all you can do , well you could go and kick the macirator in the sluice and have a good swear .

Unfortunately obnoxious people get ill or need surgery or what have you , there is nothing you can do about it and it will never change , ever .

NeoFaust Mon 24-Mar-14 15:21:30

We're polite because, when it gets down to it, the general state of the British population is one of resigned competence; The overriding desire to continue to be damn good at ones job despite the stupidity of the clients, the blindness of lower management and the complete mental vacuum of senior management.

Your refusal to let down the mask, your denial of their bullying and your ignoring of their harassment is the biggest, quietest F*CK YOU a public servant is permitted. You should be proud that you maintain it so well.

"s "I want it buttering and cutting into thin strips." I explain that she will either have to press the buzzer for someone else to come and do it or wait until I have finished delivering toast before it gets cold. "But I want it NOW!" she demands. Ok, so it's fine that everyone else will receive cold toast? that's ok with you is it? "

Sorry to go on, but I've seen the terrible neglect of people.

Was that person capable of eating the toast as it come, or was it going to be left for no-one to sort out and taken away again. As I have seen?

Is it your job to ensure a patient has food delivered in a way that they can eat it?

Who are the NHS do gooders?

Those that don't want patients to starve to death, become de-hydrated, malnourished on wards, or leave with 3rd degree pressure sores?

SofiaAmes Mon 24-Mar-14 15:23:59

Sounds like a lot of unhappy patients who have had absolutely no help from anyone. Is it possible that warm porridge isn't in fact the most important thing for these people? Maybe some kind human contact is also necessary. Not your job, of course. That was what I found when I was in hospital after 40 hours of labor and an emergency turned out it was no one's job. So I was left without food, without a working emergency call button, without any way to reach my newborn, without water, without instructions on how to care for my baby or breastfeed, without enough blankets, without anyway to get to the bathroom and with one grumpy nurse looking after 40 patients and obsessed with getting warm porridge to everyone.

NoodleOodle Mon 24-Mar-14 15:25:35

Be kind to yourself, remember that you are doing a good job, and don't let the bastards get you down. Would it be terribly British of me to now suggest you have a nice cup of tea? <3

ICanSeeTheSun Mon 24-Mar-14 15:27:02

The hospital you work in sounds awful.

In the hospital I work, we have patient line to fix the TV, ward hostess which do breakfast ( cook the toast collect the porridge and do teas and coffee, water jugs and collect in all the wash and trolley ready for lunches)

NA or HCA then concentrate on patient care.

Sillylass79 Mon 24-Mar-14 15:28:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ICanSeeTheSun Mon 24-Mar-14 15:28:55

Also on some wards, the hostess butter the toast and cut it up so it ready to eat. This is mainly care of the elderly kind of wards.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Mon 24-Mar-14 15:29:26

I've had several parents as soon as they arrive on the ward say 'where's my bed, where's my TV'. Strange priorities, and quite rude.

WestieMamma Mon 24-Mar-14 15:31:03

In my experience YABU. The wards I've been on have been so understaffed that I didn't see anyone for hours at a time. It's only natural that they won't want to be put off when somene eventually puts in an appearance, even if their priority is delivering porridge. The last time I was in I couldn't even get any water until my DH arrived because the staff were busy doing other stuff and kept telling me to wait.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Mon 24-Mar-14 15:33:33

I think asking for a bed is pretty reasonable.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Mon 24-Mar-14 15:34:24

That's my experience too westie of every hospital I've been in.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Mon 24-Mar-14 15:38:28

We have camp beds for all parents, not at 9am. And not the minute they walk on.

HauntedNoddyCar Mon 24-Mar-14 15:43:39

Surely this is more to do with staffing levels? If you are the first person approaching them with something routine like food then they will have a two minute thing. That happens in every workplace. If it's not obvious to them who should be responsible then they ask the first person.

Whose job is it? Presumably there isn't a fixing person they can call.

JerseySpud Mon 24-Mar-14 15:43:50

Ok on the other side. So this lady stops and does everything asked of her on the way.

She gets to the end of the ward with the now cold porridge and endures the complaints of 'but i can't eat this its cold' or 'you should have made sure it was hot for me'

The simple fact is that nurses can not win. And thats why i will not go back to it.

hazelnutlatte Mon 24-Mar-14 15:48:48

OP I do get where you are coming from, I'm a nurse and when I worked on a ward first thing in the morning was always difficult. I was expected to do the drug round on time so the patients could take their tablets before breakfast / with breakfast or whatever they were supposed to be doing, at the same time as listening to the ward round (always 1st thing in the morning on emergency surgery ward), seeing the new admissions that had come in overnight and being in charge of the ward. Whilst doing all these things patients would ask me to fix their TV's, butter their toast etc and it's just impossible! However 90% of the time the patients weren't being unreasonable - they just hadn't seen a member of staff for a while, and it's not really for them to know who is supposed to be doing what. A polite answer that I would find someone to help asap is usually all that's needed, on a well staffed ward this should only mean a short wait for the patient and they are mostly fine with this.
On a short staffed ward it's a different story of course, this is frustrating for the staff but we really can't blame the patients for wanting help!

almondcake Mon 24-Mar-14 15:49:08

I think YABU, because a lot of these aren't good examples of anything in particular. Somebody being able to walk downstairs doesn't mean they can bend and turn and twist to wash themselves without being in absolute agony. Somebody might not eat at all if there food isn't cut up for them. Someone might want their phone on because they feel trapped and isolated.

There are undoubtedly difficult patients, but there are also a lot of people who are vulnerable and scared.

I think this thread is a bit upsetting, TBH.

TheScience Mon 24-Mar-14 15:54:14

I got told off several times on a post natal ward for asking the "wrong" person for help with something. You have to remember that your patients don't know it isn't your job to help them with their toast or whatever.

ohtowinthelottery Mon 24-Mar-14 15:55:50

In my experience of hospital food the porridge won't be palatable whether it's hot or cold!
And as for toast - they should be grateful they weren't in Wales. The 2 hospitals my mum was in didn't do toast - it was bread and jam for breakfast. No chance of that going cold.
OP you have to understand that when you are ill/bedbound then a working tv is probably quite important to the patient. They've got nothing else to do all day and it is probably the only stimulation they've got. You cannot deny that the NHS is woefully under staffed and it is for this reason that patients make demands on the 1st member of staff that they see near their bed. They may not see another one for a couple of hours. Believe me, I have spent many hours on wards both visiting my elderly mother and caring for my own DD. I had to sleep next to my DDs bed and stay with her 24/7 as her health needs/disabilities cannot be catered for with the staffing levels the NHS provides - she is 19!

claraschu Mon 24-Mar-14 16:05:51

A person who is asking you to butter and cut up toast is probably not able to do it for herself. She is suffering from a physical or mental disability.

You don't sound very caring.

I saw some wonderful nurses during the 3 weeks my mother spent in hospital, but I also saw a lot of meanness: nurses asking people to wait unreasonably long for bedpans, not wanting to deal with the overweight stroke victim, and having a condescending manner of speaking.

I guess some of the nurses were overworked, but they didn't always come off well, as I sat quietly watching over the course of weeks.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 16:06:55

You can't win whatever you do.

Which is why I will never go back to that job.

oggieogggie Mon 24-Mar-14 16:07:54

Totally agree that for some, a working TV is important but it's so bloody frustrating to have a tray of toast in hand, buzzers going off right left and center and a patient screaming at you "never mind the toast, fix my TV!" - then 5 minutes later "you expect me to eat this??? it's cold!! how does it take so long to go around with toast???" and then "you promised me 5 minutes ago to give me my tablets!!!" replied with "no I didn't, I can't give medication, you need a staff nurse for that" - "well where is she???" - "I don't know, probably with another one of her 16 patients but I'll look for her and tell her you want her" - "don't bother, it's too late now!"

Jesus, Mary and Joseph. You just can't win. Fix the TV, let the porridge go cold, Mavis won't eat cold porridge which is unfortunate as she has been given cold porridge for the past 3 days. But hey, as long as the TV is working eh.

I've just had a really, really shit few weeks and I'm fed up. Of course it's not the patient's faults, it's the way the NHS is "run". But if I was in hospital I can't imagine asking the nurse with a tray full of toast or two hands full of medications to fix my TV. It's common sense when someone is busy, surely? But then yes, I can imagine it's frustrating to be sat there for hours on end without a tv because everyone is busy. God I don't know what the answer is. Ive just had enough I think.

oggieogggie Mon 24-Mar-14 16:12:10

Also, I'd never leave someone without a bed pan. Even in the case of:

"I need a bed pan." 5 mins later "I don't think I do actually." - just as I'm walking out of the room "oh yes I do! bring it back." - a few seconds later "no, I can't go on this, I need you to take me to toilet." ... in the meantime "you nurse have been faffing in that room for nearly half an hour!! I asked for a cup of tea ages ago! it's disgusting!"

This is a situation of two auxilliaries on a ward of 33 patients so maybe my judgement is clouded.

LaGuardia Mon 24-Mar-14 16:14:02

OP, do you work on a private ward? Those patients who pay are much more 'entitled'. We have housekeepers on our ward who give out the food so I am fairly lucky there. I agree with what you say about the smokers. It amazes me how many people maintain how very poorly they are but manage to nip out for a fag every hour. I love it when they miss the doctors' rounds, and the docs discharge them when they find out the patient is outside smoking. Love, love, love it. And if a patient is well enough to watch TV, they can bloody well go home and free up the bed for someone who is actually ill. It isn't the bloody Ritz. YANBU.

cory Mon 24-Mar-14 16:15:10

I don't see why your awkward patients who ask unreasonable things have anything at all to do with NHS do-gooders who try to ensure that patients do not die from dehydration or wet themselves for lack of a bedpan.

Or is it really changing TV channels that the do-gooders worry about?

MIL believes that FIL's death was hastened by dehydration and malnutrition; the nurse used to just dump his jug on the table- FIL was deaf and blind and wouldn't have known it was there, let alone been able to reach it. MIL herself was being treated for cancer and couldn't sit with him all the time.

Are you saying do-gooders shouldn't worry about this situation because you have unreasonable patients who grumble about the TV channels?

hazelnutlatte is spot on: patients don't know who is supposed to do what.

neverthebride Mon 24-Mar-14 16:24:47

This is what happens in any sector who are working with the 'general public'.

I'm a nurse but don't feel that people should be grateful for whatever they get on the NHS despite me knowing precisely what is going on 'behind the scenes' in terms of low staffing, lack of resources etc.

I have seen ridiculous complaints investigated. One particular sticks in my mind of a gentleman complaining his personal property was confiscated on an acute MH ward. His personal property being a knife which was returned to him on his discharge (because it WAS his property which had to be returned).

These complaints do take up time and resources but we HAVE to have a system where complaints are taken seriously and investigated.

I have sadly seen shockingly bad care and events at times which have led me to almost beg service users or carers to make official complaints and they have declined to do so.

Unfortunately in a very stretched service with limited resources (MH services particularly suffer) it is often only through complaints that senior management will take notice and effect change.

I see some posts on MN where people are talking about MH services 'refusing' to admit someone to hospital. I don't know the individual case that they're talking about so it may be that that individuals care team don't think admission is appropriate but I do know that sometimes there are literally NO mental health beds in the entire UK!.

I was seriously physically attacked by a service user last year who felt I was ' withholding' a hospital admission. I was not. That day there were no beds anywhere and that includes in private hospitals who will hold NHS patients at a cost for the local NHS trust of thousands of pounds a week.

The short-sightedness of hospital trusts closing NHS beds over the last 3 decades and building new hospitals with less beds but at enormous cost through PFI has led to this.

People complaining is the only possible way that things MIGHT change. If we have to waste time on 'non complaints' while doing so; so be it.

lottiegarbanzo Mon 24-Mar-14 16:28:31

I don't quite understand. You don't have to think or act as if 'the customer is always right' in this role, you do have to be calm and polite while you get on with your job, as you are being.

Where has the idea in your mind, that 'the customer is right' applies in this situation, come from?

If your bosses have told you that this is the case and indulging people's whims while ignoring medical priorities is what you should do and what your performance is being measured against, then there is a problem.

If not and you and your bosses are clear on your job role and priorities, complaints won't be a problem, as silly ones will be dismissed for the nonsense they are.

So yes, people can be selfish and demanding, especially when they feel powerless and uncomfortable. Grin and bear it while getting on with job. Yes, it must get very wearing some days, for that, sympathy.

But railing against political correctness is meaningless nonsense in this situation. Political correctness in real life = acting with consideration and lack of prejudice = good manners. What you are complaining about but haven't made a case for, is the idea that the NHS management has made a decision to prioritise indulging patients' whims over treating them. I don't think I believe you.

zzzzz Mon 24-Mar-14 16:29:43

I've spent a lot of time in Nhs hospitals over the last few years. I think you are underestimating just how totally terrifying being "cared" for by some nurses is. Some people are mean and thoughtless. I've met many fantastic nurses, but also some frankly terrifying ones.

The lady who needed her food cut up, was presumabley not able to eat it unless you helped. So you thought it was a good idea for her to sit and look at it going cold while you ensured everyone else could tuck in to a nice hot slice? At best she could hope to sit and wait till someone came back to enable her to eat her cold toast. angry

Surely changeing the channel wouldn't have taken more than pressing the right button for him.

I don't know what a DO GOODER is in this context, but most people get judged on there performance at work. Most people put up with criticism.

You sound utterly lacking in the will to make your patients comfortable.

CrohnicallyChanging Mon 24-Mar-14 16:35:57

if a patient is well enough to watch TV, they can bloody well go home
How well do you need to be to watch TV though? It's certainly easier than reading a magazine, doing puzzles or chatting- all of those require you to do something, whereas with TV you can be passive and just lie there. It's boring in hospital, you need something to pass the time even if you don't remember anything about the programme you just watched. Watching TV is something I only really do when I'm not well and can't be bothered with any sort of interaction!

ChestyNut Mon 24-Mar-14 16:36:50

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

In my 15 years I've learnt what I can do will never be good enough until someone enforces adequate staffing levels.

sad sad

zzzzz Mon 24-Mar-14 16:39:34

Watching TV is infinitely preferable to listening to the ailments of the other patients shock

horsetowater Mon 24-Mar-14 16:40:00

Just lately I can't quite shake the notion that the NHS (and Britain in general) is so bothered about political correctness and ultimate customer satisfaction that it's actually counter productive. Why are we all so polite?

I think this is the nub of your post - why the NHS service culture has not moved on since the War and acknowledged that some people aren't needy gratefuls, they are greedy ungratefuls.

It's YOUR NHS. You, as a worker, need to sort this out, tell your bosses, tell whoever you need to to get this to change.

I recently sat in a renowned hospital while a surgeon spent hours to-ing and fro-ing between a child who had no consent from his parents to have the operation and the 'back office'. Why didn't they just say sorry - come back when you have signature and parental ID. No. They sat there chattering politely making jokes with his carers who thought they could swan in and over-ride all the protocol because of their 'exceptional circumstances'. It must have cost the taxpayer hundreds if not thousands of pounds and wasted a hospital bed.

If the NHS didn't waste so much money on health tourism and fraud perhaps you, dear nurse, would be a little more willing and able to butter someone's toast for them and fix their telly. I can't stand this pseudo martyrdom that the NHS feigns, when they are perfectly capable of changing things.

The amount of times I've had people say 'your dd isn't poorly enough, there are many more worse off than her' etc etc and use that as an excuse not to provide support. 'It's terrible, there just aren't the resources to go round'. Well make sure there are then but please don't turn round and tell me you won't help my child, whose care has been paid for by generations of her family paying national insurance for decades.


justkeeponsmiling Mon 24-Mar-14 16:43:04

Hahaha, I'm a nurse, I know exactly what you mean.

I usually say to the really unreasonable patients something along the lines of "well I guess you won't be coming to this hotel again, will you?" (nicely and with a laugh - no need to be rude or nasty, even if they are!)

expatinscotland Mon 24-Mar-14 16:45:08

A lot of people don't understand that a hospital is not a fucking hotel.

AgaPanthers Mon 24-Mar-14 16:47:33

It can be. If you are willing to pay.

Understaffing is the reason why I spend my days at the hospital when DD is relapsing. When relapsing she is often immobile from the neck down, so unable to do most things for herself. The ward staff are often too busy to help and in some cases they couldn't give a shit. If I am not there to help then her only choice is to lie flat on her back looking up at a ceiling until someone can spare the time to help her.

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Mon 24-Mar-14 16:49:50

YANBU - I'm astonished by how rude and entitled some people are. I think worst example I saw was the time I was in A&E with DS, everyone got bumped back because of a major road accident, yet a woman with a broken finger made a complaint because she wasn't considered a priority.

MexicanSpringtime Mon 24-Mar-14 16:50:42

You sound overworked. It is the nature of things that some people are bad patients, but they still need loving care and attention, unfortunately there are just not enough nurses, etc. to go round.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 16:54:20

You see OP, you will never get your point across on MN. There will always be posters justifying bad behaviour of service users, even when they know nothing about that patient, because, you know, they've seen evidence of poor care so the patient must have too.

Didn't you know the TV is your fault? If you report it or fix it yourself, your doing a good job.

You should cut up that piece of toast, because, you know, someones relative didn't have their toast cut up. Even if the patient you're referring to was doing a crossword 5 minutes ago, her hands must be too painful to cut it up herself.

Do you know, that you, yes you can change the whole culture of the NHS all by yourself if you just tell your ward manager?

Why didn't anyone think of that before?


I know exactly what you're talking about OP, but this thread will not end well for you, because you must be doing something wrong in some peoples eyes.

horsetowater Mon 24-Mar-14 16:56:19

I still think the NHS can do a lot lot better at saving resources. There could be a lot better preventative healthcare for instance, more therapies. Mental healthcare is abysmal and crises could easily be prevented by better more timely care.

And all the faff about A&E. Give people a GP then, if they need help they need help, they can't wait for two weeks while the GPs shuffle their waiting lists to meet targets.

And please don't fill childrens wards with TVs (and no headphones) so nobody gets any rest. And why bother with TVs at all? We're not all going to suffer some kind of brain failure if we don't have a screen in front of us.

Cookiepants Mon 24-Mar-14 16:58:06

OP there are awkward buggers in every walk of life, and they don't get any less awkward because they are ill (probs more).

It's not very politically correct to say but I think being ill gives everybody the mindset of a 5 year old and nurse is "mummy". They are tired, hungry in pain and frightened and that tv/phone/toast IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD. They aren't aware of the other patients needs / your workload and so don't consider it.

All you can do is apologise for how busy you are and say you will be back as soon as you can.

As for meal times our ward has a 40 min meal service (no ward hostess), you have to pass out, help feed and collect in at this time. If there is one of you and you have 4 -6 people to feed - someone's getting cold porridge aren't they? hmm

On another note people who ask for cups of tea / extra blankets/ a breakdown of auntie Mabel's day during another patients CPR (true story and not just the once). I'm afraid they can sod right off and the complaint they put in against me for (politely) telling them so was thrown out.

Nennypops Mon 24-Mar-14 16:59:19

YABU to suggest that this is anything to do with "political correctness". What is political about any of this?

ICanSeeTheSun Mon 24-Mar-14 17:02:54

I am only a hospital cleaner < hides we always gets the blame>

I see stressed out nurses and NA who try their best but juggling everything they need to do, people do have to wait.

I suspect that part of the problem is that (at least in our local hospitals) patients are charged to have TV facilities -- £3 a day at ours. And if they are paying for a service they expect to get it, and it's not at all clear who they ought to be asking in order to get it fixed. Pretty much any time you see anyone official on a hospital ward they are in the middle of doing another job, so if there's a fault with your TV then in order to get the service that you are paying for you need to interrupt someone who's doing something that is, in the grand scheme of things, more important than your television service. If there were no televisions or we went back to the days of free TV then patients wouldn't care as much.

"if a patient is well enough to watch TV, they can bloody well go home" -- being able to open your eyes and point your head in a particular direction is a pretty low bar, but it's encouraging to hear that the awesome power of television can apparently heal wounds, clear up infections, perform diagnostic tests and monitor O2 sats, among a host of other things. The last relative of mine who was watching TV in hospital was suffering from terminal multiple organ failure, but it's interesting to hear that he was actually well enough to go home. Perhaps someone should have told them that before they cremated him?

RedToothBrush Mon 24-Mar-14 17:05:00

So because you get patients not knowing or understanding why something isn't possible then and there (bearing in mind at home they would be able to just do something so being dependent on someone else can be a shock and they don't necessarily know the correct channel to get the assistance they require), you think they are just arseholes?

By mentioning 'NHS dogooders' you are very much suggesting that people who complain or are fighting to improve services don't have good reason to and the culture should be to ignore patient requests as they are simply too demanding or rude.

That attitude is not constructive in encouraging legitimate and important complaints. In fact it encourages a put up, shut up and be grateful for what you get culture. Its not healthy and this is what people are fighting to change because legitimate complaints have been found to be systematically ignored.

Nor are you employing even the slightly ounce of empathy at why patients may be frustrated or whether there may be something more to why they are asking for certain things which you should do before you go round bitching about patients on a public forum.

I very seriously question, if you are in the right job, if you can not cope with these requests and can not appreciate that your comparison between patients who may be rude has nothing whatsoever to do with people who are trying to improve the service and ensure that basic levels of care, respect and dignity are being met.

You MAY have a case to say that some patients are being over demanding, but the problem is you loose your argument by also throwing the 'NHS dogooders' comment into your debate, as its is belittling to those who should complain.

JerseySpud Mon 24-Mar-14 17:07:05

Patients don't have to be private to be like this.

I remember 10 years ago when i was an auxillary i was helping a lady to the toilet and a man came to the door demanding that i fix the phone for him at his bed. I politly told him i would be there as soon as i had assisted this lady to be told 'I fought in the way for people like you and you don't even want to help me now do you?' and stood and watched and glared at me the whole time i was assisting another patient. When you have worked on a ward with 4 auxillaries to 3 staff nurses in a 36 bedded ward dealing with mainly elderly you understand.

And you are told to "ask a nurse" about TV services. Obviously when management introduced this policy they increased nursing staffing levels accordingly, because... no, sorry, I can't keep a straight face and deliver that line.

You have a patient body who are increasingly being charged for "extras" to raise cash, and a management structure that's decided that nursing staff have nothing better to do than to administer those schemes. And you, stuck in the middle. Which is shit, but not entirely the fault of the patients.

frumpet Mon 24-Mar-14 17:09:58

The people who get me are the ones who are rolling around in 'agony' demanding pain relief , so you go to get them some morphine and whilst you are doing it, they wander past to walk 1/4 of a mile to the front of the hospital to have a fag .

I always try to see things from a patients perspective , i know i annoy a lot of my collegues with my endless ' yes but if you were them imagine how it would feel ' . There are people though who are not very nice , they tend to be the sort of people who are equally obnoxious to waiting staff in resturants , i tend to judge people by how they treat waiting staff , i think it says a lot about their character .

frumpet Mon 24-Mar-14 17:10:31

Gah ! at my dreadful spelling !

expatinscotland Mon 24-Mar-14 17:14:55

When DD1 was in paed once unit, there was a kitchen for patient food they wanted that we brought in, and someone (another parent) ,ore than once, stole food brought in for the children.

Some service users are arses.

kilmuir Mon 24-Mar-14 17:18:09

Blimey, would have taken seconds to cut up toast. Surely that comes under an auxillarys remit

expatinscotland Mon 24-Mar-14 17:20:18

When you have 30 patients, those seconds add up to the person at the end of the line miffed their breakfast is now late.

Buttering and cutting it to requirement when everyone has a special order adds up.

And no, it's not anyone's job if you are capable of doing it yourself.

It's socialised healthcare, not a hotel.

meddie Mon 24-Mar-14 17:31:44

I have endless sympathy for my patients and their relatives. but when you have spent 30 mins cleaning a side room to turn it into a makeshift bed for parents who arrived during the night. When you are understaffed and actually you dont have a requirement to provide somewhere to sleep or can afford the time.You just thought it was the considerate thing to do.
Then the same parents come screaming onto the ward disturbing some very sick children, demanding to see the chief exec because " there are no tea or coffee making facilities in their room" then its hard not to come to the conclusion that actually some people are just arses.

ElleMcFearsome Mon 24-Mar-14 17:32:15

And this is why I always thanked the auxiliary nurses who were managing my (recently deceased) FIL who had dementia and paranoia. Because they were the ones he was swearing at and being unpleasant to. They looked tired, stressed and rushed off their feet, yet somehow (heaven only knows how) they did have patience with him. thanks

ConferencePear Mon 24-Mar-14 17:33:48

"Surely that comes under an auxillarys remit"

I think this goes to the heart of the problem. I have no idea of who is who in hospital. Thankfully, I've only ever been a visitor and I can't really tell the difference between the different responsibilites or level of qualification of the staff. Perhaps we could devise an easy way of telling the difference or knowing who is responsible for what.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 17:36:08

May take seconds to cut up a piece of toast, the same amount of time it would take the patient to cut up the toast. Staff usually know the patients that need assistance, and they know the patients that don't.

The OP is referring to patients that who are quite capable of doing things themselves.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Mon 24-Mar-14 17:38:58

I agree with zzzz. Hospital is a terrifying place and you have to grab who you can to help. Last time I was in the man who brought round the teas went to demand I got some pain relief as no one was helping me. I put a complaint in and the matron said she was leaving and taking early retirement as things were so awful.

Yes there are fantastic nurses but my God there are some shocking ones who shouldn't be anywhere near the general public.

ICanSeeTheSun Mon 24-Mar-14 17:39:36

This is the colours in the hospital I work in.

Grennie Mon 24-Mar-14 17:41:21

I have also been spoken to sharply for asking someone to do something, when it was not their job. I don't actually know if you are a nurse, ausiliary, etc and I don't know what you will see as your job, and what you will refuse to do because it is someone else's job.

horsetowater Mon 24-Mar-14 17:44:57

I think one of the things is that patients don't actually know what the limits are. An innocent request to cut up some toast shouldn't be seen as insulting or inconsiderate. We still assume that nurses are 'on call' as it were, there to help if we ask for help. If we ask for help with the telly or the toast what is wrong with that?

If auxhilliary nurses are there to simply shift plates of food from the kitchen to the bedside then that should be made clear. If their job entails more actual care then they should be given the time to do that. Perhaps they should have the job titled changed from nurse to service operative or some such then no-one would be under any illusion and won't bother asking them for help.

madhairday Mon 24-Mar-14 17:46:44

I see both sides really. It does seem a no win for all around.

I spend a lot of time as an inpatient in NHS hospitals. I have seen entitled arses in the next bed demanding the most petty things, but also seen and experienced things for myself that still make me weep now. And it's usually no ones fault. It's the fact that it is short staffed.

I've been left overnight on a trolley with double pneumonia, severely dehydrated with no drip and no water jug despite asking any adult coming in the room, all who said they will ask someone.

I've been left to wet myself when asking for a bedpan and none materialising, then left in damp bedding for hours.

I was that patient who asked the auxiliary first thing in the morning if she could help me wash a little, because I had not been washed at all for 3 days and could not even lift my top to get changed.

It's desperate sometimes. You feel so desperate and you feel so very helpless when you cannot do these things for yourself. You ask someone and while you are asking them you are saying to yourself that they are busy, they won't want to know, and then they look at you like they are fed up of you asking because they have other more important things to do. Including the time I was due for IV morphine and left a further 4 hrs with no pain relief, screaming in pain, lungs full of fluid, and asking everyone in sight could I please have morphine, and some of them seeming to care and saying they would ask, others ignoring, others looking fed up of me.

It's demeaning you know. You feel such a burden, you feel as if every request you make is just piling on someone's workload. I am too polite for my own good and don't ask for half the things I really need eg clean bedding. I only ask if I am desperate because I know I am putting people out. I have actually learned that you only get if you are pushy. Perhaps the people you describe have learned this and act like arses to get what they need. I couldn't do this, because despite being so very ill I do actually care about the staff, and think they do a great job, and do tell them that when they do. But when someone comes in, pushes an IV through in 20 secs that should be pushed over 5 mins, and makes me lightheaded, dizzy and sick, then proceeds to get cross if I dare ask for a little water, it's so hard to stay nice, you know?

I sympathise. But the 'do gooders' are simply trying to do something about the great injustices people really do suffer every day.

As for watching TV - in my last admission I couldn't even manage that for a few days but after that it was the only thing I could manage. Sometimes its the only thing that keeps people sane and gives them any kind of positivity. If Patientline didn't break down every 5 minutes it would doubtlessly be easier all round.

BUt I feel sorry for you.

No one can win really sad

almondcake Mon 24-Mar-14 17:50:57

I've never even heard of an auxiliary nurse before, much less what it is that they are or are not expected to do. Most of the stuff described sounds like the role of what used to be called a health care assistant. I don't really get why the NHS is paying professional nurses to routinely hand out toast and porridge.

WandaDoff Mon 24-Mar-14 17:53:59

Well I think you are doing a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances & am very grateful to you & others like you.

Thankyou very much. thanks

Put your feet up & have some biscuit brew cake
(that's a dunky biscuit, not a judgy one.)

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 17:55:02

Auxillary is the old name for healthcare assistant or support worker.

They usually wear bottle green uniforms (wales), but can sometimes be mixed up with OT's who wear bottle green trousers and a white tunic.

Lottiedoubtie Mon 24-Mar-14 18:08:56

It's impossible to know who's job it is to do what/what the overall caseload of the person you are asking is. Eg, if you ask for your tv to be fixed and you are the last person on the toast round anyway that may be totally reasonable etc...

It should be ok to ask, but equally ok for the staff member to say 'sorry, you'll have to wait half an hour, or I'll get the 'whoever' to do that for you soon.

Is that what you mean OP?

horsetowater Mon 24-Mar-14 18:37:14

madhairday that's the saddest post I've read for a very long time. thanks I hope things get better for you.

shouldnthavesaid Mon 24-Mar-14 18:39:52

Oh dear God. I've been applying to do this job all day, writing out lots of applications and phoning wards.

Suddenly, I'm rather reluctant! Please tell me there's a good side?!

shouldnthavesaid Mon 24-Mar-14 18:43:30

I did have a horrible woman working on a ward when I'd had surgery. I had 35 stitches down below including some in the most sensitive area (not going to spell it out) and was pretty much unable to put my legs together at all. She insisted I sat up on a plastic seat for breakfast. No painkillers, nothing. Had to sit and eat otherwise I'd be kept in and would "take up valuable space".

I wound her up as I sat on the bloody chair, in my pyjamas, with a leg over each arm rest..

tulipsaredelicious Mon 24-Mar-14 18:43:34

Of course some people are arses. That's the same everywhere. But part of your job, OP, is to understand that the people in your care are stressed and therefore may be acting out of character. As other posters have said, the system is shit, but it's not your patients' fault.

TBH I think it's shocking that our NHS and education systems are so poorly valued by the govt. I'd love to see a huge show of faith and solidarity in the form of massive investment in both areas.

PunkrockerGirl Mon 24-Mar-14 18:53:36

No, Bridgewater, at no time during our 3 years of training were we taught how to fix tellies. I will willingly contact patientline to report a fault on a patient's behalf when and if I have time. It cannot take priority over patient care.

NurseyWursey Mon 24-Mar-14 18:56:47

YANBU - we're expected to do everything and anything, all at the same time. Some patients will NOT accept that someone else's medication is more important than their cup of tea at that minute. Some patients will not accept that having their tv blearing at 11pm is disturbing over people and you daren't say anything because its 'I WILL REPORT YOU'. Or you take someone to the toilet and they ask you to leave them in peace, aprox 3 minutes after they have another nurse with them who is complaining you've let them for HALF AN HOUR ON THEIR OWN.

I handed my notice in today.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog has it spot on

RevoltingPeasant Mon 24-Mar-14 18:57:16

Wow, this is making me super grateful for the excellent nurses in my local hospital!!

However despite their excellence I think there are communication issues and people don't always seem to get told things. Last time I was in, a nurse accidentally wrote the name of the wrong consultant above my bed. As I was in as a emergency due to messed up surgery I wanted to ensure I was with the right person but it took ages to change this. Then a HCA assistant very kindly insisted I should have breakfast. It was a good thing I felt too sick to, because an hour or so later another nurse came and said she hoped I'd been fasting like I was supposed to, because the theatre was ready now.

You do just sort of end up telling everyone everything because you never know who knows or who does what.

NurseyWursey Mon 24-Mar-14 18:57:33

and they're complaining I mean, not the nurse.

RevoltingPeasant Mon 24-Mar-14 18:58:22

I'm sorry about the Nursey. Are you leaving altogether?

capsium Mon 24-Mar-14 18:58:23

I think the thing is they just don't know the demands of your job. They do not know how long you get to spend with each person etc. All they know about is their own needs and what they are, which does not necessarily go hand in hand with patience and consideration.

A lot of the requests are understandable, eating and washing which might be difficult. Even a bit of help with the TV, if they assume the problem is quick to fix and one which you'll know how to do.

I can't think of a job I've had, where there has been too much work and not enough staff, where others have not made extra demands on my time, often needlessly.

NurseyWursey Mon 24-Mar-14 18:59:25

I'm sorry about the Nursey. Are you leaving altogether?

Thankyou Revolting. I don't want to leave the profession altogether but I;m going to take as long as my health needs (and as long as I can afford) and then see where I can go

frumpet Mon 24-Mar-14 19:00:01

Shit , nursey have you really ? are you going to be ok ?

NurseyWursey Mon 24-Mar-14 19:01:03


I think so. I've had a breakdown coupled with depression i've had for years. They were going to take action about my sickness, so I saved them the job and handed my notice in because I can't cope.

I'll be okay, I've got a very supportive DP thanks

Latara Mon 24-Mar-14 19:08:08

shouldn'thavesaid there is a good side, most patients are ok and so are colleagues, depends where you work and depends on the team you work with.

I'm a nurse but working as an HCA at present, it is ok but we are expected to do the job of a ward hostess as well as of an HCA. So we have to do the breakfasts and meals and put people on bedpans at the same time literally (due to short staffing) - all gets a bit confusing at times!

I wouldn't say it's the patients' faults at all - people have all their faults and flaws and you know this when you go into the job or you wouldn't do it (hopefully).
No such thing IMO as 'NHS do-gooders' - not sure what OP means by that.
What is the problem is short staffing AND poor management.

frumpet Mon 24-Mar-14 19:09:52

So sorry to hear that , i was in the same place as you not so very long ago and i think you are probably doing the right thing for you , its not an easy job to do at the best of times and if you are any thing like me , its difficult to switch off even when you are at home , especially when bad stuff happens .

Hope you get the rest and recuperation you need and deserve , big unmumsnetty hug and a big bottle of wine

shouldnthavesaid Mon 24-Mar-14 19:14:01

Phew. I spent 75 minutes doing the last application (for a 38 bed GP led hospital) - was going to phone and say 'Noooo! They're all going to ask me how to fix televisions and ask why their toast isn't cutted up!' grin

I suppose you develop a thick skin pretty quickly.

madhairday Mon 24-Mar-14 19:14:41

Thankyou horsetowater - unfortunately it's a degenerative condition, but I do have 'better' times thankfully smile

Nursey I am sorry to hear that. I hope you are OK.

It is the system - it stinks sometimes. Patient care sacrificed to management structure and targets. All down to finance in the end of course - simply never enough.

BrianTheMole Mon 24-Mar-14 19:14:46

Why did the patient want the toast cut up op? Is it because they couldn't eat it otherwise? Surely if they could have cut it up themselves then they would have done so.

expatinscotland Mon 24-Mar-14 19:16:55

You'd be surprised, Brian. Some who are perfectly capable of cutting it up want someone else to do it because, 'That's their job.'

frumpet Mon 24-Mar-14 19:17:46

You would think so wouldn't you brianthemole , but this isn't always the case .

Kudzugirl Mon 24-Mar-14 19:19:40

Talcott Parson's role of the Patient, Nurse and organisation is something to consider here.

Certainly stripping patients of their other lives, rendering them passive through their donning night clothes or patient gowns means they may relate often to nurses as not adult-adult but rather more as a dependent child does to its Mother.

It is important as a HCP to prevent yourself from falling into the parent role in response. The organisation can help by having clearly delineated roles and a system that educates patients about who does what, where, when and why. It doesn't take a lot of time to help patients understand what the priorities are at a given time (drugs round/ward round etc) and why they are priorities.

The worst thing you can do in circumstances such as this is say to a patient 'I'll be back to do it' in a non specific way. The wait for them is ages and the only way they will interpret it is as 'I am not as important as everybody else'.

MiaowTheCat Mon 24-Mar-14 19:23:01

So many staff here who seem to actively resent the patients they're dealing with - that's the whole attitude at one of our local hospitals and it's absolutely and totally terrifying to be at the hands of a bad-un - lying there in pain or need of something and not physically able to get it yourself (which is a shite enough feeling at the best of times) and terrified of asking the "wrong" person and getting your head bitten off.

I have PTSD as as result of some of the experiences I had with the NHS - and the anger toward patients in some of the posts on here actually brings a lot of the feeling of powerlessness, terror and dreading each shift change in case certain staff were on back.

I was left hungry for days on end as I was having to do NG tube feeds for my daughter who couldn't be left at all so I was utterly unable to leave the ward - got shouted at if they weren't delivered at bang-on the specified times... which clashed with ward meal times. When I quietly mentioned it, just in a "I don't know if you know this is an issue - just something to pass up the ladder" way... I got told that "we don't care about the mothers on here (this was a post-natal ward with an element of transitional care for prem babies moving out of NICU... the feeders and growers basically), we're only interested in the babies" and told "sometimes being a mum means you have to miss meals" - at this point I had been totally unable to leave the ward for about 4 days (expected to be with the baby 24-7... fine, but in the real world you can walk to the fridge and whack a kettle on) and had missed every single meal time for having to do tube feeds.

They just seemed to actually HATE their patients and it was awful. Some of them still haunt my nightmares 2 years later.

PatrickStarisabadbellend Mon 24-Mar-14 19:23:13

My was headbutted by a patient and he came back for more so she pushed him away. He was removed from the ward but my mum was brought in for a disciplinary. Pathetic.

Latara Mon 24-Mar-14 19:23:56

We can't do toast on our ward, only bread and jam.

It does take ages because many elderly patients can't butter their bread or open the sachets of jam.
The pats of butter are always too hard to butter the bread without it falling apart so you have to stand there holding the butter in your hand to warm it up (for each patient for several minutes!) or you have to cheat and use margarine which is easy to spread but not so nutritious.

I like to make jam sandwiches for my elderly patients cos they're easier to eat but it all takes time and often the more 'well' patients complain that breakfasts are taking too long.

Kudzugirl Mon 24-Mar-14 19:24:40

And of course theory into practice is another thing altogether

<hollow laugh>

oidoyoumind Mon 24-Mar-14 19:27:27

Surely it's not a question of who is right (as in ..." the patient is not always right")? A small drop of human kindness goes a very long way towards helping people get better. Is buttering a piece of toast and cutting it up for a patient really too much to ask?

Your post has made me very sad and says it all about the state of "care" today.

Latara Mon 24-Mar-14 19:27:37

Miaow when we have relatives helping with feeds (of elderly patients) then we always offer them food as well if there's any available. And cups of tea, cos we're very grateful for their help.

shouldnthavesaid Mon 24-Mar-14 19:28:11

It must be hard having to tell people you can only do it later? I want to do the job because I really, really want to be able to help people (alongside gaining proper experience for a degree I want to take) - I think I'd find it hard having so much to do and constantly saying that I'll have to do xyz later.

I did ask someone who works in primary care - said I wanted to do the job to help people, to talk with them, make them comfortable etc. She half laughed and said I'll have barely 2 minutes to stop, never mind sit and talk or make them comfy beyond basics. I half hoped she was exaggerating. From this it does sound like that's the case, though.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 19:34:53

The people where are talking about Brian are the same people who are difficult in any situation. The ones who kick off in restaurants, shops, in the street etc. The problem is, because our wages are paid through their taxes, we should just suck up the abuse and do whatever they tell us.

It's not the ones who ask for help. It's the ones who, despite being told we are busy with a patient or a drug round, give us abuse and threaten to report us for not passing them their box of tissues.

Or the charming wife of a patient who had a meeting arranged with the doctor regarding discharge planning. The Doctor was attending a cardiac arrest opposite her husbands bed. Even though it was behind the curtain, you could clearly see it was an emergency. She was told the meeting would have to wait. The 4th time she shouted at me that he was 10mins late (yes, 10 mins) I did snap at her. Not only because the above, but because her ranting and behaviour was making her husband anxious (he had dementia).

It's those people who are a problem, and there are many of them.

I have noticed though, in the 13 years I've worked the wards, it seems to be getting worse. The abuse.

I still do ward work, although now admin and in mental health rather than general. So far it's not as bad, but only time will tell......

Kudzugirl Mon 24-Mar-14 19:36:18


There are ways in which you can transmit a caring attitude and professionalism but probably not in the manner you imagine sadly. One of the most important ways HCPs can show this is by using good active listening skills. When you have very little time allocated for direct time with patients, this becomes even more important. People want to feel listened to. People like to think they have all the time they need to tell you what they need. Managing precious and short time without making patients feel harried and 'processed' is a great skill that is hard won, over time.

There is a reason why some HCPs are better regarded than others yet they all work within the same system. Study the ones that are good, work out what makes them good and use them as role models. You will find people who can inspire you. But cynicism and dark humour is a therapeutic tool for staff- it bonds us together and it sees us through. Despite your friends cynical comment, there will still be something about the job that keeps her there I hope other than fiscal factors.

ICanSeeTheSun Mon 24-Mar-14 19:50:32

I don't see why the toast can't be buttered and cut as it comes out of the toaster. To me it seems quicker. That way breakfast gets done faster.

simple things like that can improve patient care so much.

Why is the porridge and toast getting cold, perhaps the trolleys need looking at..... Perhaps a hot plate.

CrohnicallyChanging Mon 24-Mar-14 19:53:00

I have had experience of being an adult inpatient three times now- twice were as a result of my then undiagnosed Crohn's, and the other was after my c section.

The latter one was a stay from hell. Probably due to the fact that DD disturbed everyone the first night, we were put in a private room the second night (just over 24 hours after delivery). I was incapable of getting up to reach DD on my own, and had a horrible midwife who moaned every time I rang the bell for assistance. She told me I shouldn't have been put in a private room if I wasn't mobile, as she had further to walk than if I was on the main ward- fair enough but I wasn't consulted about it, I returned from a compulsory shower to find they had moved all my things (and DD- resulting in me panicking that she had been kidnapped). And I was told I shouldn't be in pain (bear in mind I can't take the painkillers they usually prescribe due to Crohn's and had to manage on less effective ones).

So yeah, miaow is right that some staff seem to resent their patients.

Oh, and I still don't know what colour uniform goes with what role, and what each role actually is (is a staff nurse higher or lower than a charge nurse) so if I need pain relief in between medicine rounds, who should I be asking? Or if I'm hungry due to missing a meal due to being off the ward having tests done, who do I speak to then? And how do I actually get to speak to them, seeing as ringing the buzzer means that the same person that brought the toast round answers it?

ICanSeeTheSun Mon 24-Mar-14 19:53:25

Something like this

Slinkysista Mon 24-Mar-14 19:56:50

I think the title of this thread and the op's obvious resentment of her/his patients is absolutely horrid. Time to
Look for a new job for the patients sake. You sound like a right misery!

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 19:58:22

When you have 30+ patients on the ward, 1 person can't take individual orders of all those patients.

You have to make the toast in batches while sorting out the breakfast trolley (cereal, hot drinks etc). When that batch is done and the tea pot is still hot, you go to the first set of patients while another batch of toast is in the toaster (the smell of burnt toast is very common on a hospital ward grin) and then start over again.

If you went round taking individual orders, you'd never have the time to get anything else done. Don't forget, a lot of patients may need feeing or need help taking medications.

NurseyWursey Mon 24-Mar-14 20:02:22

It's like I've said previously, there was a lady going mad because the nurses couldn't get her 'expensive coffee'. She was offered coffee. But no, because it wasn't 'expensive coffee' she was furious.

Or if we don't have the right sort of biscuits

Or if the bread is too thick or thin

etc etc.

But on the flip side there are the lovely patients who make your day worthwhile. Like the woman who helped me calm another patient down and she did it tremendously. Or the man who who grabbed my hand and said thankyou. Just one thankyou and it brought tears to my eyes.

horsetowater Mon 24-Mar-14 20:03:34

Nursey - Some patients will not accept that having their tv blearing at 11pm is disturbing over people and you daren't say anything because its 'I WILL REPORT YOU'.

I had an altercation with a nurse who I had to ask 3 times if she would ask someone to turn his TV off (midnight on a children's ward) and instead of complaining to him she spoke to me in a really menacing way telling me to back off!

The lad with the TV on was a teenager and quite loud and aggressive with a big family that was always around. She said he couldn't sleep without the TV on. I think she weighed up her chances and chose to make me the problem and not him as I was less likely to complain. If this is the attitude prevailing you might as well let the bullies win. Staff should be in charge regardless of who threatens to complain or sue.

IamInvisible Mon 24-Mar-14 20:05:11

When my Nan was in hospital, she had Alzheimer's, there was a lady on her ward who kept asking what time the bus went. (She, also had Alzheimer's, infact most of them did). I was visiting my Nan one day and the nurse said to the lady " will you shut up about that bloody bus!"shock She then turned to me and say "ignore her, love, she's got dementia!" shock hmm

I was flabbergasted, and said " yes, as has my Nan! You'd better not be talking about her like that!" I did complain about that nurse. She had no right, regardless of what had happened that day, week, month or year to say that about that patient. Those elderly people were extremely vulnerable and needed looking after properly.

I have, also, been an in-patient far too many times over the past years. Yes, some patients are hard work but some nurses and HCA are in the wrong job. Only last month one had me in tears when I phoned up and asked a perfectly reasonable question about my operation. She snapped "FGS you silly girl, we deal with this every day!" I am 43 FFS!

Grandemama Mon 24-Mar-14 20:05:12

Crohnically I had a really bad experience after my EMCS too, I have coeliac and they forgot to give me gluten free food. Luckily I had brought some food with me, but I couldn't move so I had to wait until my DH came to visit me to get food.

I could feel the lochia everywhere and wanted someone to help me clean. It did happen after some hours and the midwives laughed at me when I said I had to wait hours to get them.
The Bell was left where I couldn't reach it for this reason.
My bedsheets were bloodstained and I didn't dare to complain.
When I asked for help (first night after EMCS) to change my baby's nappy I was given a bowl and asked to go to the toilet and get some water and cotton wool and change my baby myself (I still had the catheter in and couldn't move below my waist).
No help with getting baby out of the cot to feed him (he was breastfed).
My nipples were bleeding by then and I was screaming in pain every time I fed my baby. Every midwife gave different advice regarding breastfeeding and one forced my baby to have some formula which he vomited afterwards.
Long, long story... so, after this lovely 'experience' I have decided that, if I can and if I have the money, I would go to Switzerland to finish my days when I am old... I dread to think what would be of me old and unable to get better...I think suicide sounds better.

NurseyWursey Mon 24-Mar-14 20:07:23

That's not on at all, I'm sorry you had to go through that horse. To be honest I've experienced it myself. Full ward, 1am and a woman with all her family around and they were cackling and keeping everyone awake, plus music on the TV. This was a post surgery ward so some very poorly people who needed their rest. The ward lights were also on because of this one family.
I spoke to the nurse who reacted like the one you had did.
I said to her that I'm also a nurse, and if something wasn't done I would speak to the family myself and report her.

I then heard her say to the family 'i'm sorry but SOMEONE has asked for you to be a bit quieter'

I ended up switching the lights off myself grin and ended up with the woman next to me whispering a 'thankyou'

It's beyond a joke sometimes.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 20:07:45

I suggested we put up an orientation board in every room on our ward, to let the patients know who we were by colour coding our names by our uniforms, and also how many staff were on shift to how many patients they had to look after.

Yes, to the colour coding name board, no to the patient to staff ratio of individual areas. We could display the actual staff numbers, but because of the set up of the ward, it is very misleading.

In the 6 bed acute area, there is 1 qualified & 1. HCA.
The two 12 bedded wards 1 qualified and 1 HCA.

It looks like there are 3 qualified with 10 patients each, when in reality 2 nurses have 12 and the other staff nurse has 6 very ill (often dying) patients.

Apparently we couldn't be too truthful as the management didn't want the complaint hmm

ICanSeeTheSun Mon 24-Mar-14 20:09:24

I have worked in my current role for 11 years, I have never snapped at a patient asking the same question.

I always think what if it was my family/ friend in that bed.

NurseyWursey Mon 24-Mar-14 20:09:32

Iaminvisable I think this highlights the increasing need for ALL nurses to have dementia training. I was lucky because I worked as a carer for the EMI for a couple of years before becoming a nurse so I got good experience.

I'd often have to take my residents to A&E and the staff just didn't know how to deal with them, thinking they were being dramatic and violent for no reason.

Grandemama Mon 24-Mar-14 20:11:34

Nursey I had someone like that in the ward, a Somali woman who was allowed to have more visitors than the 3 we were allowed. All very loud.
Another one I told to shut the f... up, because I really needed to get some rest... and yes, I am sure some nurses are afraid of their patients because no one dared to say something to the loud people.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 20:16:09

I should also add, this is a care of the elderly ward with very frail, or very confused patients with dementia. Quite often needing 2 members of staff to carry out personal care.

Kudzugirl Mon 24-Mar-14 20:20:29

The thing is you don't need 'specialist' training to know that-

1) You don't tell one patient what is wrong with another. I don't care if it is 'obvious' that patient A has Dementia. You don't discuss it in the manner given in the example above.

2) Talking to patients with respect, not telling them to shut up, not calling them 'silly girls' -this is all explicitly covered in HCP training and if it is not being adhered to then that is a disciplinary measure. I would NOT tolerate any of my staff talking to patients in this manner. I would hope that it is always reported.

I have never snapped at a patient or visitor. I have never spoken about a patient in the manner of some of the accounts above. I do not breach confidentiality.

I treat myself badly sometimes because of the stress. I snap at my family. I judge myself harshly. I sleep poorly, worry incessantly and feel constantly stretched beyond my endurance. But i do not take it out on patients. That is why so many nurses become mentally ill and burn out because the level of suppressed anger at the system, the government or whatever.whoever you blame can be so very hard to bear.

horsetowater Mon 24-Mar-14 20:20:35

Apparently we couldn't be too truthful as the management didn't want the complaint

Horsey that's exactly what I was afraid of and that's what's behind threads like these. Management refuse to see things as they are and use double speak and glossy statistics to make things appear differently. Everyone else knows different but this has lead to a bullying who-shouts-loudest mentality which leaves a lot of people suffering in silence.

horsetowater Mon 24-Mar-14 20:21:17

Sorry not Horsey, *HotDog

fiverabbits Mon 24-Mar-14 20:25:58

My DS who is type 1 diabetic and has 4 injections a day was admitted to hospital last October with D & V. It is the largest hospital in Wales. When it came to his 4th injection no one could find the key to the medicine cupboard at his bedside so he didn't get his injection. The next day he medication was sent to the pharmacy, no idea why so when it came to do his injection nothing was on the ward. He asked 3 different nurses for his injection, no one didn't anything so he had to wait to be discharged and do his injection at home, luckily we live 10 minutes from the hospital. I complained straight away but as I type this I have only had a letter to say that my complaint is being looked into, I rung 3 weeks ago to ask when I am going to hear something but nothing has arrived. When my DS didn't feel well recently he said please don't put me into the hospital, he is 33 years old and has been in hospital lots of time and has never said that before. I dread the future for the whole family.

shouldnthavesaid Mon 24-Mar-14 20:27:13

IAm if you don't mind me asking - you weren't in Aberdeen by any chance? Because I witnessed something very similar with a lady who had Alzheimer's. Saw her when I was visiting my mum once on a ward.

I was upset for her, as she actually pulled her own catheter out which must have been terribly sore, and kept asking to go home. I was visiting my mum like I say, who had to go see another doctor in another room, so I was left alone with this lady. I at first went to get the nurses - I presume, an HCA by uniform, and she actually tricked the lady by telling her she'd missed the last bus and would have to wait all night, which only upset her more. She didn't want to get the bus with her catheter in, told me it was embarrassing and disgusting and unladylike.

I went and sat with her, and asked her gently why she was so desperate to get the bus, where was she going? She explained that her father would be waiting for her, and it was tea time. Now she was 90 + , and her father was obviously long dead. I told her he wouldn't mind waiting a while longer, and asked her to tell me about him. What stories she had - she had seen the start of the very hospital we were in, had worked there as had her husband, she was a radiographer.. Her bracelet was from her gran, her rings were her wedding rings passed down from others.. She'd gone to school in what I knew as a shopping centre.

I sat with her for two hours, slowly tucking her into bed, sorting her nightdress as it was half off, etc, and thoroughly enjoyed her company - she'd had such a normal life, in every way, but to me it was fascinating. She seemed comforted by being there, in her earlier years, no longer confused. I left her much happier than earlier, as I left she was happily telling me to join the home guard as I had the body for it!

Have never forgotten all that she told me. I kept an eye on the announcements in the paper for over a year, and when she died, thankfully having been sent to a care home for her final months, sent a message to her family telling them what a lovely woman she was.

The lady next to her (who had been in and out a couple of times having tests in these two hours) asked me if I would go for being an hca (hence, two years later...)

That's the sort of thing I'd love to do every day, and what I would hope any nurse or HCA would want to do - but I suppose, as has been said on here, it has to be balanced between bedpans, toast, bed baths, discharges and broken tvs. And all those things are such a huge part of getting anyone to better health, or in ensuring someone experiences good palliative care.

I've tried to understand why the nurse would want to trick her like that - I suppose, her upset was relentless and I have no doubt it returned once the distraction of me had gone, but there are ways she could have helped I think without doing what I did, and without mocking her and being cruel as well. I'm no saint, I think if I was actually working there I may well have reacted entirely differently but I'd still not see it as acceptable or right.

Meerkatwhiskers Mon 24-Mar-14 20:28:30

Wow OP I think you need to change job. You clearly are not enjoying it.

Yes patients can be demanding. You are lucky, they usually chose the drug round to ask all their questions lol. Just to get us nice and distracted wink.

With the toast, that would have taken you seconds to do. Tv's I wouldn't do but food needs to be able to be eaten.

And are the ratios really 16:1? shock Ours are 7:1. That seems incredibly scary to me. I couldn't even imagine having that amount of responsibility on my shoulders.

JerseySpud Mon 24-Mar-14 20:33:35

shouldnthavesaid that is lovely what you did it really is

I always found i never had time to sit with a patient like that because there was always so much that HAD to be done, especially in the mornings sad thats one reason i won't go back. You don't get time to be a nurse anymore to patients and really take care of them due to understaffing and paperwork

JerseySpud Mon 24-Mar-14 20:34:46

when i was an Aux/HCA it was 12 patient to one trained and one HCA. And they were bed bound, confused and often very ill. Or wanders. Very sad sad

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 20:37:49

horsetowater I agree. The staff tend to get frustrated with other staff or sometimes patients (not acceptable IMO) the patients and visitors get frustrated with the staff (not always acceptable IMO).

The only ones not getting the daily abuse are the ones cutting the staff budgets. Yes, their job may be stressful too, but I bet they're not subjected to abuse daily.

The advice we get is to write an incident form.

I'm sick of bloody incident forms. They don't actually achieve much in the grand scheme of things. It's just to protect the Trust from being sued I guess, but doesn't prevent the abuse (verbal & physical) in the first place.

There are repeat offenders. They are known to most hospitals, but they are never banned. You can't ban someone who is in need of medical attention. So you just have to take it I guess.

Wantsunshine Mon 24-Mar-14 20:40:11

I think op needs to consider a job change.
I have been visiting in hospital and had to complain about how a couple of nurses were speaking to an elderly patient in the next bed. It was horrifying. I doubt much came of it. They told me to mind my own business when I commented that really isn't a way to speak to another human being only to get a rant at how hard working they were and how he had been a nightmare all day.

ICanSeeTheSun Mon 24-Mar-14 20:40:46

This poem has been passed around for decades, some nurses say they saw it back in the 70's. However, it's a great reminder especially with the new year near approaching.

as the story goes...When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this 'anonymous' poem winging across the Internet.

Cranky Old Man

What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you're looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . ... . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .'I do wish you'd try!'
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . ... lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you're not looking at me.
I'll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don't mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. ...Babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future ... . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I've known.
I'm now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It's jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. .... . Me

This is one of my favourite poems

frumpet Mon 24-Mar-14 20:40:59

shouldnthavesaid , i honestly dont know any HCA or nurse who has time to sit with a patient for two hours during a shift . What you did was provide a service that the NHS cannot . Although i do find if you sit quietly with a lot of people with dementia for a few minutes and have a chat it can make all the difference , i also try to draw them into conversations with other patients as like you say , some still have fantastic long term recall .

NurseyWursey Mon 24-Mar-14 20:44:28

frumpet Your post is partly why I wish I could go into being a HCA again, but the pay isn't good enough. I had time to actually talk and engage with the people I worked for. We'd reminisce, I'd go through photos with them, have a chat whilst painting their nails, put some songs on and have a sing with them. I also had one man who liked me watching Emmerdale with him so I'd work at extra 30mins past my shift end so I could do that.

Nursing.. pah. Never even get the chance.

ICanSeeTheSun Mon 24-Mar-14 20:44:42

Perhaps that what we need, volunteers to come into hospital and just sit and talk with the patients.

Meerkatwhiskers Mon 24-Mar-14 20:44:50

shouldhave that's exactly how you should talk to a person with dementia. Unfortunately, ward staff just don't have the time to spend with them. They, as patients, are seen as difficult, uncooperative and often violent when really they just need time spending with them. They are disorientated, away from their norm and don't understand what is happening as they have poor short term memory. As a student, I have valued the time that I have been able to spend with patients especially the specialised patients such as those with dementia. I'm about to head into my management placement and just won't be able to anymore.

I'm not trying to put you off being an HCA. Honestly, it's an amazing job. I am bank HCA as well as a student and I love both roles (it's nice to not have the responsibility sometimes). It sounds like you are the perfect person. But beware, it's a hard job to get into without experience too. I tried for 10 years before I started my training hoping to be sponsored with no luck.

shouldnthavesaid Mon 24-Mar-14 20:47:50

It was so hard at the time, because I knew she needed more than I could give - she needed a wash, turning and I think different blankets/bed. She had no proper leg muscles (atrophy?) and I worried about what continually lying on them might do. But I couldn't drag the nurse through and say, hey what's going on with her legs, is this safe for her skin, etc. Wasn't my place.

She couldn't understand the tv, obviously, couldn't read (didn't even have books), the radio up there isn't much cop.. I did see a visitor go to her one day (the day before, mum was there 3 days) and I appreciate her visitor must have known all her stories but they sat in silence. It was hard to see.

The woman next to her did admit to offering her chocolate sometimes.. She kept getting tea cakes and kept offering them. Poor lady (I do know her name but won't type it) kept getting marshmallow goo everywhere. I worry even now that for days on end that might have been the only nice thing that she experienced. I mean, she was very obviously dying, slowly. I don't think she was in pain but she was just tired I think, like a machine coming to an end. I hate to think of the fact that she could have spent precious time just lying there distressed and waiting for the next face to give her meds, or wash her. I wish they'd had more time to sit with her - I hope they maybe did in the evenings, but I doubt it. I know day to day she wouldn't have remembered but she would have been upset, lonely.

You can thank God they often get transferred to nursing homes, patients in her case, but really are things going to get better there..

And then you must get the patients who WILL remember, who do know, who aren't confused - and who are probably left in the same manner, especially if no one can visit.

It's difficult. But what I'd aim to do, is even balancing all those other tasks, is make people smile at least once if I could.. I can't imagine how hard it must be 12/1 or even 7/1 though.

Meerkatwhiskers Mon 24-Mar-14 20:49:38

hotdog you say you can't ban someone from getting medical help but when I was on my a&e placement we had a patient who was bought in by ambulance that was banned from being bought to our a&e as she came all the time and just wasted their time. She was allowed to other hospitals as she was on dialysis (ours doesn't have a kidney unit) but not allowed to come to us. She got sent to another hospital by us.

shouldnthavesaid Mon 24-Mar-14 20:50:17

Meerkat that's what I thought - all I can offer is stuff I've learnt from caring for mum (still, I'm going to be the same with most jobs as have never had a job worth remembering apart from low level volunteering). Have filled out the application(s) as best I can though. Spoke to a charge nurse today about the job and she said I can but try, and see what they think of my application.

Piscivorous Mon 24-Mar-14 20:51:46

I can see both sides of this as I work in the NHS (though different role) and have seen some instances of appalling and negligent nursing in which the patients were quite right to make demands for better. However I see, on a fairly regular basis, dreadful, unreasonable and self-centred demands from some patients.

Unfortunately we seem to be in a cycle of each of those things making the other worse and justifying it. Some nurses get impatient and demoralised in the face of apparently unreasonable demands and patients get more demanding as they see their needs as not being met.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 20:52:07

It makes me so mad hearing stories like yours shouldnt

The ward I worked, we had regular dementia study days given by psychiatric liaison nurses. We had these because any medical patients coming through admissions with a history of dementia or presenting with confusion due to infection, were admitted to our ward. We were not mental health trained (we would have gone up a pay band hmm but they provided on day a year for a study day.

It's actually quite shocking the number of HCP's who think caring for someone with dementia is like caring for an adult baby shock angry

I hate that way of thinking. I would challenge anyone if I ever heard that.

Patients with dementia are people with a lifetime of memories. They are individuals and should be treated as such. We are taught to allow them to be open and talk about whatever it is they want to talk about. If the patient wants to find their mum, we distract them from finding their mum with a conversation about their mum IYKWIM?

It takes a hell of a lot of time and patience. Unfortunately, not all HCP's are cut out for it. They may be great at other aspects of the job, but dementia care is a speciality.

Trying to get rid of the bad staff is a big problem.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 20:55:41

you say you can't ban someone from getting medical help but when I was on my a&e placement we had a patient who was bought in by ambulance that was banned from being bought to our a&e as she came all the time and just wasted their time. She was allowed to other hospitals as she was on dialysis (ours doesn't have a kidney unit) but not allowed to come to us. She got sent to another hospital by us.

She may have been banned from A&E, but as you said at the end of your post, she was still sent to another hospital, to another ward. Other staff in another hospital deal with it thats all.

Meerkatwhiskers Mon 24-Mar-14 20:56:32

shouldnthave I find the best time to spend with a pt is when you are washing them. It is very intimate but also you can usually have a laugh and a joke and really get to know someone. It's often the longest time you will spend with someone (it's really sad that's the case but it is).

Also we have 2 hourly paperwork that has to be filled in. Some is done by the hca's but some is nurse only so often I make sure I have a chat with patients then. It's not a lot of time but I think it makes a difference. We are lucky we have the lower ratio (although the HCA ratio can differ depending on ward).

shouldnthavesaid Mon 24-Mar-14 20:57:14

iCan I asked that one, hospital refused. They fund play workers for children (rightly so) - I would gladly support a similar scheme for general/adult hospitals.

expatinscotland Mon 24-Mar-14 20:58:11

Looks like dementia is becoming a really big problem sad.

Meerkatwhiskers Mon 24-Mar-14 20:59:00

From what you have put here shouldnthave I would love to work with you

IamInvisible Mon 24-Mar-14 21:02:57

No, it wasn't Aberdeen shouldn'thavesaid, it was a lot further south than that. You sound lovely, it is such a shame that there isn't enough time , and people, for nurses and HCA to devote to the patients that they need. No patient should be made to feel frightened, or to feel like a burden, or to not be fed, or the HCPs shouldn't be so frazzled they don't know which way to turn.

frumpet Mon 24-Mar-14 21:05:22

It is hard , i can tell you now the biggest complaint you will hear a nurse say when a shift is finished is that they didn't have time to care properly , that they walk away feeling inadequate because what they should do and what they can actually physically do are polar opposites .

There is a lot of research to suggest that the 1/8 ratio is the best for patients , they get better care and are less likely to die from preventable causes especially post op .

I dont mind the people who shout or get snappy with me when they are in pain / are upset / have a legitimate complaint , i accept that i am their first port of call and it is horrible being in hospital as a patient , been there done that . To be fair i would say that only about 1% of people i look after are just complete arses , i just keep smiling sweetly because it annoys the fuck out of them grin

deakymom Mon 24-Mar-14 21:05:30

there used to be two people doing breakfast when i was in hospital that way if there was a toast needing cutting up the other lady did it personally if its fix my tv just say i will send someone in xx

ive seen really bad nursing in my time but its not the norm despite what the government would have us believe competent staff do exist

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 21:07:34

It is expat sad

Our hospital has many, many patients with dementia on most wards.

I started a monitoring form once. Done weekly to try and get our staffing levels increased. Most of the time I counted between 20 -25 patients with dementia out of 30.

We requested a HCA for 1:1 for the highest risk patients, quite often refused by senior management because there was no budget for it.

When we did get the authorization, we'd have 1 HCA to look after up to 3 aggressive patients. It's shocking actually.

horsetowater Mon 24-Mar-14 21:11:31

I think as others have said, volunteers would be extremely welcome. You do get some that do a tea round sometimes, but it would be great to have people with a little more autonomy that could go and buy a magazine for someone, or help them use the phone, or chat with them for a while. I can only assume that the NHS Dinosaur doesn't want voluteers with autonomy as it wouldn't fit in with their system.

horsetowater Mon 24-Mar-14 21:15:43

I think most of us, patient or staff, will agree that it's the system at fault, not the people working within it.

That's why I get so angry about it - the system can be changed but only if the staff are listened to and that's why the NHS will never change, because it's a top-down system and those at the bottom suffer the most.

And that's why it will meet its demise over the next few years.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 21:17:07

I do have some reservations about the volunteer thing.

In theory it would be great for the patients and the staff.

But they would have to be vetted, supervised by the staff. Someone would have to take responsibility for them. There are too many vulnerable people on hospital wards. The qualified staff are already overseeing the HCA's, the ward sister already overseeing the qualified, HCA & housekeeping.

I suspect they would then become too relied upon and do away with HCA posts.

Why pay for it, when you can get it for free eh?

I don't trust any government not to do that.

Kendodd Mon 24-Mar-14 21:20:42

Some people just like to complain about everything.

A friend was working in A&E once and said they had a man in with some minor injury who just kept on ringing his buzzer constantly demanding stuff, wanting to know why he was being kept waiting every ten minutes. He was just waiting for test results to get back and so couldn't be discharged. It was a particularly busy shift so nurses were all busy treating 'real' problems. On that day a two year old child died in A&E, of course nobody was attending to his buzzer will trying to save this little boy. My friend told me in tears though that nobody was able to sit with the mother afterwards because of this man. Okay, the mother was medically fit, and wasn't even a patient, but she needed care a lot more than he did.

This was in France so you can't even just blame the NHS, it even happens in France despite the UN saying it has the worlds best healthcare system.

NurseyWursey Mon 24-Mar-14 21:20:45

Loads of hospitals won't even accept volunteers, it's a joke.

My local one won't, except in the tea shop

archshoes Mon 24-Mar-14 21:30:17

Another vote for you to leave.
An ill patient cannot hope to think about you and everyone else, when they are quite or very ill themselves.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 21:32:48

Nursey Even our 'tea shop' which is staffed by WRVS volunteers (elderly ladies) close on occasion because of abusive visitors.

It's situated in the outpatients department. I know people working there. I've heard of some disgusting behaviour directed at them. For the price of the tea, not having the right sandwiches, not having enough change in the till etc.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 21:34:37

archshoes If all staff who were fed up of daily verbal abuse and threats of complaints took your advice, the hospitals would have no-one working in them hmm

meddie Mon 24-Mar-14 21:36:30

The difficulty with volunteers is they would need to be vetted, supervised, have some basic training so they dont do stuff like feed betty the diabetic some sweets etc. They would need infection control training so they didnt go from patient to patient cross infecting etc. They would need clearly defined roles, risk assesment etc. Who would take ultimate responsibility for them if they caused or had an accident etc.
In this currently litiginous society I think its just too much hassle for hospitals

Misspixietrix Mon 24-Mar-14 21:47:38

Sorry I'm with Birdsgottafly on this one. Also the phone chargers thing - as silly as it appears - actually helps some patients. DM very ill last year with trachy in situ. A certain Nurse had left her buzzer out of reach closed the curtains - only thing my mum could do to get attention was bang her toothbrush on the table. She was ignored. It was only because the night staff had kept her phone charged for her that she was able to text family and friends and tell us that she had been left in her own mess for over an hour. Of course I complained. actually went apeshit at the ward manager first. I understand that it's hard and you all do a fabulous job. I just think patients need to be cut a bit of slack - especially when they've been in a while they will complain about the most monotonous of things. Also agree that patients might not be able to cut toast up etc. Most won't ask for help unless genuinely needed (believe me DM is just like this). So although trivial I can understand and think they must have been genuine reasons for wanting it done. Ie. DM has Muscle wastage in her hand. She physically can't cut simple things like cheesecake up. Or they are too worked up/fed up etc.

(Not a nurse but NHS HCP)

I've treated patients with dementia (mainly in Residential/Nursing Homes) and they ask over and over about going home.
Or when is their husband coming?

I have no idea if they are Respite (so maybe they are going home tomorrow) or if their husband is dead.
But all I can say (over and over) is "It's nearly lunch time/ tea time. Have something to eat first then I'll ask "

But for entitled behaviour? One patient who was enraged because there was a car without a Blue Badge in the BB Parking. And demanded that I find out who and get them moved.
And, yes, they expected me to go round every room in the health centre and GPs surgery to find them hmm

I said "No".

frumpet Mon 24-Mar-14 22:11:09

Have to say when i was a patient i found it very interesting . I had a crash section , never had surgery or GA in my life , so it was a whole new experience . What i did notice is the care you recieve following surgery for childbirth and the care you recieve for abdominal surgery on a surgical ward are very different . There definately seemed to be a ' your a mother , get on with it ' attitude . Which is quite difficult when you are struggling to get up from a lying flat on your back to any other position without help in those first few hours following surgery . You cannot reach the call bell because it is attached to the wall behind the bed , to let someone know that whoever put the catheter in forgot to inflate the balloon , so it has fallen out and you are lying in a giant puddle of piss , so you have to shout out to whoever wanders in wearing a uniform , except still woozy from the GA you actually mistake a visitor for a nurse and share your news with them !

difficultpickle Mon 24-Mar-14 22:18:02

In some circumstances patients are right. I've just spent 5 weeks in hospital. During that time I questioned various nursing staff regarding the administration of the many drugs I had to have. Sadly every time I questioned I was told that they had been a nurse for X number of years and knew best even if they were administering the drug in a different way to their colleagues. Even more sadly I was told by the ward matron on each occasion I queried this I was correct. There are some fab nurses who provide excellent care but there are some who should find another way of earning a living.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 22:44:42

I don't think anyone is saying the patients who receive poor care shouldn't complain difficultpickle

There are patients who are definitely not right. They are the ones who make the job difficult.

archshoes Mon 24-Mar-14 22:50:00

But you either do it or you dont. [a rant is ok every so often]. But this sounds more than a rant.
If it is getting to someone like the op, she could get ill herself.
There are other jobs.
And I dont remember there being a current nurse shortage, so someone else would take her place?

uselessidiot Mon 24-Mar-14 22:51:30

I kind of see where you're coming from OP. Some people have unreasonable, impractical expectations. I had an official complaint made about me because I washed my hands before I got someone some more water. He had been given a drink 30min earlier and had half a glass when I finished washing my hands. I got him another glass as soon as I'd washed my hands so I hardly left him to dehydrate.

horsetowater Mon 24-Mar-14 22:53:33

Perhaps just more trained staff then, instead of volunteers. They could be paid for by... let me see...

Cutting consultants wages? Surely they can't really be worth £300 an hour?

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 22:57:33

And I dont remember there being a current nurse shortage,


But you either do it or you dont. [a rant is ok every so often]. But this sounds more than a rant.

I think she is just having a rant sorry.

Nursing staff are leaving in droves. So lot's of good nurses don't want to do it anymore, because nursing staff can't nurse properly anymore.

horsetowater Mon 24-Mar-14 22:57:40

Actually, really, hospitals would be better run by nurses, and they should hire and fire the specialists and consultants. The care staff should be in charge and bring in clinical staff as they see fit.

archshoes Mon 24-Mar-14 23:00:45

If she is just having a rant, fair enough ish. Though I think her rant consisted of stuff that must happen daily and has been happening daily for 50 years to nurses up and down the country.

There may well be problems with the system, I dont much doubt that.

So is there a nurse shortage? When there has been one in the past, it normally makes headlines pretty quickly.

archshoes Mon 24-Mar-14 23:02:56

Perhaps though, the complaint part is newer.
And that is what may be at the heart of the op's post?
A constant fear of possible reporting?

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 23:03:29

horse I've no idea what our consultants earn tbh, but they are at breaking point too. They have patients on multiple wards, in A&E, they run outpatient clinics, they do lectures, over see numerous medical students, their own medical teams, attend various meetings throughout the hospital. They are ultimately responsible for the decision making and treatment plans their junior doctors implement, they are involved in research etc. The responsibility is huge.

I have a GP friend, who has sworn never to go back into a hospital.

I don't think I would want that level of responsibility to be honest.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 23:09:10

It is about the constant fear of being reported archshoes.

I think it would be easier to ignore if it was just someone having a general moan.

The problem with official complaints, where a complaint is not justified, is that the nurses will then have more form filling to prove they are doing certain jobs.

There has to be proof of doing essential jobs. If it doesn't get documented, it hasn't been done kind of thing, but what happens is that even though someone is just being an arse, it's the nursing staff that get the brunt of it. The workload then increases taking you away from sick patients.

archshoes Mon 24-Mar-14 23:13:32

The op has not yet been reported.
But my guess is that most nurses have?
So the op, perhaps, could look at it that way? [not sure if that helps?]

BobPatSamandIgglePiggle Mon 24-Mar-14 23:17:04

I dont think you're bwing unreasonable op, although I think maybe your thread title doesn't reflect your rant.

I've only had dealings with the nhs when ds was a baby - but saw lots of entitled people.

1 man refused to leave the comfy waiting room next to a&e even though a nurse asked him to so we could wait whilst baby ds had a third attempt at a lumbar punch - they asked us to leave resus. He told the nurse he'd paid his taxes and was there first (waiting for his pissed up mate)

I overhead a mum on the phone in the children's ward arranging to meet her bf in the pub. She was allowed to stay with dd on the ward but tolld her mate she'd say she'd been sick and that the nurses could look after her kid as that's what they were paid for.

My mate was a hostess in a hospital for a while. A bloke in getting something done to his foot shouted her back to stir his tea!

archshoes Mon 24-Mar-14 23:17:51

I think that if I was you op, I would have to say to myself, well if I get no more than 5 complaints in my nurse working life, then I have done well.
That way, it means you can phyocologically [sp] breathe iyswim.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 23:28:46

No I don't think most nurses have been reported because when someone threatens to report you, you usually just do it what they ask. That's what most HCP complain about. It's doing these trivial things for able patients which can take them away from patients who genuinely need help.

It's not easy to stand your ground with people like that. You do, and then get constant snide remarks whenever you in the room, you get verbally abused even more, making you feel so uncomfortable just trying to do your job.

It's even worse when you don't have the support from senior management. You're just told to get on with it, told to just do whatever they want as they don't have time to deal with them, or IME, the manager just hides in the office because she diesnt want to be shouted at.

I remember one incident about 3 years ago, where my manager called me in the office to ask me to tell a relative to leave the ward because she was scared. All the doctors were there but chose to hide by the nurses station.

I was a HCA.

I was threatened by 2 men and 3 women.

Lottiedoubtie Mon 24-Mar-14 23:32:17

^ that's the problem hotdog.

It's not actually the petty complainers... It's ineffective support.

There needs to be a robust system for dealing with complaints, but if they are totally ridiculous (eg, I'm in for a minor foot operation, but that HCP didn't stir my tea twice, clockwise before fixing my tv quick enough...) then there needs to be proper reassurance for staff that they aren't in trouble with their boss.

archshoes Tue 25-Mar-14 06:45:53

Unusually, I have gone from one point of view to another on a thread. Though I dont think the op wrote her op very well.
But we all dont explain things very well every time.

Are minor complaints dealt with the same in every hospital?
Is there a proper procedure that is standard across the NHS for minor matters?
How do other nurses cope with complaints - learn from them if they deal with them well.
How many complaints does the average nurse get?

Kudzugirl Tue 25-Mar-14 07:52:32

I've nursed for close to three decades and I've never had a complaint. Many of my colleagues haven't either.

Interesting comments about the post op care on Post Natal wards. I had acted as mentors to a fair few student midwives and this is the comment that quite a few make-

'I'm not sure why we need to do this mental health placement and a surgical/medical placement. We're not nurses'.

I remember the student MWs in my own training cohort saying this repeatedly during the practical classes 'we're not nurses, we don't need to know how to make beds/wash patients/selected other practical bedside actions'

No you aren't nurses but you DO have to provide nursing care. I have been astonished that so many of them cannot quite grasp this. Many women have complex medical and/or surgical needs before, during and after childbirth and to dismiss the requirement for you to develop an understanding of the nursing care that these may well involve might go some way to explain some of the issues posted on here.

maggiemight Tue 25-Mar-14 08:02:20

Gawd, relatives, and no doubt patients too are awful. But it is hard to get your head round the work done in hospitals or care homes until you are in the position of using them and can think it through.

I assumed my DM would be aided to shower each morning when in hosp or care home, then when I thought about it realized, if allowed to go at her aged speed, it would take prob 40 mins min, x 40 patients in the ward so 26 man hours a day just to do showers for all the patients in the ward, so fat chance of that happening.

One relative was complaining to staff that her confused old DM had cold feet. Confused old DM would kick her slippers off and shake off any blanket put over her feet. So relatives seemed to think nurses should be on permanent guard next to the DM's feet in case her cover came off. In theory not a lot to ask, 'pop a blanket over her feet', but in reality not going to happen.

But staff aren't often kindly imo. More often brusque but if understaffed what can you do (though personally I always felt nurses should strike to get the required staffing levels, a few days striking might change the hospital experience for ever more but they are too caring to do strike supposedly )

Kudzugirl Tue 25-Mar-14 08:08:09

We should strike because in reality, after three minutes of a national walk out we'd have what we want grin. No government could cope with the fall out.

Fluffy40 Tue 25-Mar-14 08:47:08

On each wArd should be a poster saying how much their operations costs.

That might shut some of them up !

capsium Tue 25-Mar-14 09:50:12

Not you personally paying the money out though Fluffy.

Don't get me wrong some people can behave horribly, especially when ill. However I do not think people should be made to feel a burden to the State or guilty for being ill.

Kudzugirl Tue 25-Mar-14 09:53:41

The problem with that argument is that it leads to HCPs behaving as if the cost is personally coming out of their pocket and all kinds of value judgements about who 'deserves' care and what kind of care they 'deserve'.

I have worked with many people who act as if they personally finance the ward/unit/service and pass this attitude onto patients.

Grandemama Tue 25-Mar-14 10:08:55

Kudzu You should strike, it's obvious you are understaffed.

lainiekazan Tue 25-Mar-14 10:09:46

In Italy you have to provide personal care for your relatives in hospital - feeding, washing, shaving etc.

If you can't manage/don't want to - you pay for someone.

This actually works quite well as you are not relying on overstretched nursing auxilliaries/volunteers and making it a professional transaction rather than imagining that someone will get "angel" treatment.

When fil was in hospital for a hip replacement I saw how bloody rude some of the patients were. Unfortunately then of course it takes a great deal of personal strength by the nurses not to be rude in return, and then I suppose they might adopt a cross defensive stance to deal with everyone, even the polite patients.

Grennie Tue 25-Mar-14 10:23:45

Yes some people are rude and entitled, being ill does not make them behave better. But being in pain for days or weeks, having a head injury, dementia, lack of oxygen, all make patients behave less polite than they would normally.

I think you can just tell from some of the young staff, that they have no idea at all what it feels like to be ill and incapicatated, and reliant on others for the simplest of things.

And some nursing/care staff do behave really badly. Like the male HCA who was constantly sarcastic to my mum because she read a broadsheet, and so he called her a snob.

Simple things that are commonplace seem to show a lack of concern for patients too. Nurses routinely talking at a normal level of voice in the middle of the night about routine stuff, keeping patients awake for example.

Personally, I think the medical care in hospitals is usually very good. I think the nursing care is often lacking. When my gran was dying, it was the Dr who showed concern and care. Most of the nurses just seemed to see her as a nuisance because she was confused, and not easy to manage. Routine stuff like her mouth care, was very poor. We had to ask for supplies to do stuff herself.

Latara Tue 25-Mar-14 10:39:28

That male HCA sounds shocking Grennie if he was my colleague he would get told sharpish to get his act together! Nasty!

Sometimes I get a bit paranoid when I hear patients talking 'behind our backs' about us (but then I'm prone to paranoia anyway).
I try to remember that the patients feel vulnerable and being 'bitchy' is the only power they may feel they have. (OK maybe some patients are just horrible but I try not to think that).

For example one lady in her 40s was in for her 2nd admission for COPD in a week. She was picking on every single thing she could find wrong within earshot but behind the nurses backs but was nice to our faces.
I tried to think that maybe she just has an awful life - being that ill so young must be horrendous.

I try to think of reasons for patient's bad behaviour so then I don't feel so bad about it. If someone is particularly rude I ask them if they are ok and often it turns out something is upsetting them. There's always a reason for people's behaviour.

I will say that most patients are lovely, and even when they are ill they ask after the nurses if they think you look a bit tired for example. They don't have to do that.
They love to be involved in any gossip about nights out, boyfriends etc and ask all kinds of questions about the nurses lives - I think it takes their mind off their problems.

I've only ever had one complaint and that was when I was the only nurse around on a night shift - I couldn't get to a patient in time to help her to the loo because I was stopping a man from falling out of bed. I asked her politely (I'm always polite) to sit herself on the edge of the bed while I got the commode and she complained about my tone of voice (I was worried about the man so I must've sounded stressed).
The complaint didn't go far because sister realised that more staff should have been on the ward.

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Tue 25-Mar-14 11:00:26

Being in hospital is usually very stressful and can make people more rude than they would normally be. It can be horrible being in hospital at the mercy of the staff. Please try to show a little compassion- it's not the patient's fault you are overworked. Complain to the management! If patients get on your nerves that much you are clearly in the wrong job!!

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 25-Mar-14 11:07:38

Complaining to the management does nothing. We get told to get on with it. It's always down to money.

Kudzugirl Tue 25-Mar-14 11:38:01


I would carpet any member of my staff who insulted a patient in that way. I wish you had have reported that but understand that when you are unwell, it is just too much hassle. I would have reacted immediately and directly had that have been brought to my attention.

I overheard one of my student nurses comment in front of patient that her pressure sore smelled worse than soiled cat . I removed her from the room, called in her Nursing school and had her on a disciplinary. Her general conduct hadn't been all that anyway but that was it. Had we ignored it or given a mealy mouthed 'naughty naughty' I have no doubt she'd have been one of these casually cruel staff that do walk the wards sadly.

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Tue 25-Mar-14 11:38:12

Not sure it is all down to money. When my son was in hospital the lower grade nurses rushed around whilst the staff nurses spent all day talking at the nurses station. Again, not the patient's fault!

Kudzugirl Tue 25-Mar-14 11:38:27

Soiled cat Litter that should have said.

Grennie Tue 25-Mar-14 12:22:31

Kudzugirl - The HCA never said it in my hearing, and my mother refused to report it. She told me much worse that happened on that ward to other vulnerable patients, so I doubt anyone would have cared anyway.

horsetowater Tue 25-Mar-14 12:23:33

Not sure it is all down to money. When my son was in hospital the lower grade nurses rushed around whilst the staff nurses spent all day talking at the nurses station.

I see this a lot. It seems to be more important to tick the boxes, show boss that they are doing the admin and have achieved targets, than actually putting a smile on the face of patients. Staff and management alike need to ask what is more important.

Kudzugirl Tue 25-Mar-14 12:23:59

That is terrible Grennie and some of us do still care and would not tolerate that. I am apologetic on behalf of my profession when I hear things like that. I feel ashamed.

Grennie Tue 25-Mar-14 12:31:10

You have no need to feel ashamed.

All I want is healthcare staff to realise that some of us on threads like this do complain about nursing staff because they know about real issues from personal experience.

I have personally experienced good and bad nursing care. My mum said the kindest person in the hospital to her was the Sister, and one older HCA. The rest on the ward seemed to see patients as a nuisance and there was no basic good manners there, never mind compassion. My mum actually refused to go into hospital for another operation as she couldn't face being on the ward afterwards.

Kudzugirl Tue 25-Mar-14 12:36:32

Maybe we should feel ashamed. Because denial and defensiveness clearly is not working. When people are frightened about going into hospital not because they are frightened of being unwell or by the medical treatment but because they are frightened of how the staff might treat them......There are no words....

Meerkatwhiskers Tue 25-Mar-14 12:38:03

Regarding post surgical maternity care, I plan to do my midwifery training. I am passionate that I should become a nurse first as I feel I need a nursing background to underpin midwifery training.

It's all fair enough having a stand-alone midwifery course but pregnancy and birth isn't just about pregnancy and birth. There are other things to take into consideration. With my nursing background I can look at the whole woman holistically and looks out for other non-pregnancy related conditions that can occur. If a woman has a c-section, I know about how to care for a post surgical patient. I know what expectations can be made of them (especially from my experiences on a gynae ward with ladies who have had hysterectomies - they are lucky and get morphine on tap for a day or so after too).

I can't wait to start my midwifery. Got to finish this course first though grin

horsetowater Tue 25-Mar-14 12:38:06

I've no idea what our consultants earn tbh, but they are at breaking point too.

Consultants choose to do all the extra lectures, the committees and boards. They do it because it earns them money and because it increases their careers. They charge huge amounts of money for doing so and it is largely ultimately paid for by the NI payer.

Consultants can earn a basic salary of between £75,249 and £101,451 per year - that's BASIC. Responsibility is not their strong point either -a nurse is at as greater risk of loss of earnings if someone reports them as they come into contact with more people. Consultants have professional indemnity insurance etc and it takes a lot for them to get struck off.

horsetowater Tue 25-Mar-14 12:38:36

Sorry that was @ Hotdog

Meerkatwhiskers Tue 25-Mar-14 12:41:37

The trust I bank again has the cost of all the equipment in all the stock cupboards to try to guilt the staff into using less. Not sure if it works.

My training trust has just started publishing staff ratios daily on each ward along with who is in charge that day. We have always had boards saying who is working in which bay each day so have always really had that anyway but it's a more obvious sign by the entrance.

Kudzugirl Tue 25-Mar-14 12:42:34

Good for you Meerkat. A relative of mine is doing her MW training and I am always banging on at them to really know their Anat/Phys and to not do the 'I'm not a Nurse' thing to the point where it can impact negatively upon what they leave their minds open to experiencing and learning.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 25-Mar-14 12:43:03

MeerKat, you do know that they teach you all of that stuff on the midwifery course? IV maintenance, recovery care, etc as well non applied a&p.

The women I trained with who'd been nurses first reckoned that their nurse training didnt give them any advantage. In fact they said they thought it was a lot harder as they only had 18 months to do it. So they were just starting as we were already fairly confident with supporting women in labour, etc.

In 8 years I've never felt that been a nurse first would have helped.

Meerkatwhiskers Tue 25-Mar-14 12:44:38

Bear in mind consultants also practice privately too... So in reality earn a hell of a lot more than that.

Meerkatwhiskers Tue 25-Mar-14 12:48:53

Every midwife I've spoken too, including one of my best friends mum, and some I've met on my nursing course have advised me to do my nursing first. I also feel I would benefit. Plus I have a lot more grounding to do more with my nursing as well. I do love nursing and would be more than happy being a nurse for the rest of my life, however, my heart is in midwifery. I have no idea where my career may lead. I'm doing at least a year to consolidate. I may find my dream job and stay. Who knows lol.

Galaxymum Tue 25-Mar-14 12:49:57

Reading the OP's post, I transferred all the "patient complaints" to being small children all asking for help in a nursery. To me, that's the job. If you're dealing with ill elderly people, people who have dementia or suffering from side effects then elderly patients will seem "needy". They're ill and in hospital.

I think the main issue is under staffing. My mum (termed elderly at 75) died as a result of understaffing in 2012. At night she needed to go to the toilet, the nearest nurse said "Wait there, there is some spilt water and I'll get this patient to the toilet THEN come." My mum told her not to worry, she'd be ok. She slipped as she got up and fell and broke her hip and femur.

Her experience after that pure accident was appalling. On other wards she was treated cruelly and with neglect. I sent a long list of complaints of neglect (things like her not having had a wash all day including hands when she had diarrhoea to falling in the bathroom when sent on her own.) But then when she was in a care home I had to put in complaints......she was left at a sink balanced against it, another time they just forgot to give her some tea, and finally whenever one staff nurse was on duty she didn't receive her pain killers - they said she used to refuse them which was frankly b*****s.

My experience of seeing through the complaints procedure was unsurprisingly that the staff wouldn't admit anything, covered up and ALL accused my mum of lying or misunderstanding or being confused. Sorry OP - I am just giving one experience of four wards, and three homes in several months. Well my mum died - and the inquest found it was actually the illness she was admitted with that killed her......except when she fell they stopped investigating that as she was moved from medical to surgical. Our NHS suffers from a lack of communication, understaffing and people's low morale so that many nurses seem to have lost the compassion of basic nursing as they meet their targets.

Meerkatwhiskers Tue 25-Mar-14 12:55:02

And viva they can't teach you everything about being a nurse on a 3 year midwifery course. Most is learnt in placement and in fact so we are being told now (with less than 6 months until qualification) after qualification. I presume you are not nurse trained so you can't really say if you thought it would help or not.

It is personal preference really. I feel it will benefit me and is actually better for me career wise. I wanted to be a nurse as well as a midwife. I'm not that young (am 36 now, 37 when I qualify as a nurse) so am doing it the long way round and am actually taking as risk as the 18 month topup may not be around in the next couple of years.

horsetowater Tue 25-Mar-14 13:00:22

Galaxymum what's terrifying about your experience thanks is that there is this 'blame game' going on, where whistleblowers / people with complaints are not treated with full on attention in an attempt to improve the service, they are silenced and 'gaslighted'.

As I mentioned earlier, nurses and carers should run hospitals and employ who THEY need to make their service better. My guess is they would rather employ three more nursing staff than one more consultant.

Hopefully the new shakeup will improve things, it really can't get much worse than this.

NurseyWursey Tue 25-Mar-14 13:03:40

Nursing and Midwifery are completely different job roles with completely different mindset. People tend to group them together when they're not the same at all.

Nursing, most of the time we're there for medical intervention when a patient is ill.
Midwifery is to guide a woman during a natural process and to try and prevent any needless medical intervention. The thought processes between the two are completely different, and you can often tell a midwife that has first been a nurse

I have loads of midwifery friends and actually thought of becoming a midwife but chose nursing as I wanted to concentrate on ICU. Because the midwifery course is so competitive loads of people chose to do the nursing degree first then use the 18 month conversion, not realising the conversion is even more competitive. And the 18 month conversion comes and goes, there's always rumours that it's going to be stopped - but it's a case of supply and demand. When the NHS is in quick need of midwives it'll open up the conversion course again.

NurseyWursey Tue 25-Mar-14 13:04:53

And if you want to be a nurse and a midwife it'll be difficult as you have to put a certain amount of practice hours in each

SybilRamkin Tue 25-Mar-14 13:09:02

"I have worked with many people who act as if they personally finance the ward/unit/service"

Yes! This! It really narks me when people claim that because they pay NI contributions/tax then they should receive anything they damn well want! The reality is that most people's NI contributions and tax come nowhere even close to paying for their care - we actually rely on big business and higher-rate taxpayers for most of what people think that they, personally, have paid for.

And for those who say that resources should be available - great, wonderful, but from where? Are people willing to pay higher taxes? Even if they were it wouldn't necessarily make economic sense on a macro scale. And we already have a massive budget deficit.

The NHS is doing its best in a climate of austerity - people have to learn to accept that there just isn't the money to pay for the service they feel they're entitled to.

Kudzugirl Tue 25-Mar-14 13:11:28

The mindset might be different but a MW needs to be competent in nursing sick patients before, during and after delivery. People with complicated health needs have babies too.

And the mental health components of MW training are appalling (if you can call them that). You should see how scantily the main student MW textbooks cover it and using the excuse that the textbooks are 'a jumping off point' for further study is not relevant. They are a jumping off point for all study yet manage to cover other pertinent subjects pretty well.

I am actually involved in developing a year three module in conjunction with a large MW school nearby. We are looking at how we can improve MWs awareness of MH issues through modular content and practice.

SybilRamkin Tue 25-Mar-14 13:11:35

Oh, and for those bashing consultants - they've worked for decades, putting in 90-hour weeks and hours of unpaid overtime every day to get to where they are. They are certainly not lazy, and they do not owe the NHS/you anything.

Grennie Tue 25-Mar-14 13:13:46

Sybil - There is the money actually to pay for basic nursing care. And people should expect rightly to get basic decent care.

Kudzugirl Tue 25-Mar-14 13:14:56

Not actually insulting patients is free. it costs nothing more than a rigorous system of recruitment and a robust and fair system of investigating such breaches of common decency.

boschy Tue 25-Mar-14 13:23:31

my 83 yo DM was released (as she puts it, rather than discharged) from our local hospital a week ago. she spent a week in there, after a week of toing and froing via GP, A&E twice, scheduled CT scan and then finally emergency admission by ambulance.

she is still in extreme pain, her pain control is not adequate, but she lied to the doctors rather than stay on the ward one second longer. she told me things she saw - like an elderly lady with both legs in bandages being slapped at night because she wasnt ready to get off the commode. comments about dementia freely thrown around - eg, "you're not allowed to use the bed control because you're on the way to dementia like the rest of them in here". also some male nightnurses standing round in the ward, laughing at the old ladies and saying scary things (she is still having nightmares). the last incident could be a drug induced fantasy, but I believe her about the slapping, and I clearly remember when we arrived on the ward at about 6pm a nurse saying to a colleague "we just get rid of one and another one arrives" - I did point out that this was my mother she was referring to, but no apology or acknowledgement.

DM says she would rather die than go back there, and I think she would actually do that. SOME of the nurses were lovely, but SOME of them should not have been in the job.

I agree with the PP who transposed the setting to small children in nursery - but staff: child ratios at nursery are more strictly imposed I beleive.

Kudzugirl Tue 25-Mar-14 13:28:39

Boschy PM.

NurseyWursey Tue 25-Mar-14 13:29:19

Friggin hell boschy that's horrific. Please report it. These horrible people giving nurses a bad name infuriate me. How dare they treat someone like that. Why are they in the job in the first place angry

Grennie Tue 25-Mar-14 13:31:28

boschy - The last incident may be a drug induced hallucination. But not feeling safe, and with good reason from the sounds of it, would surely help to create such hallucinations?

notnow2 Tue 25-Mar-14 13:31:30

I am a nurse and have been for 15 years

It is the pits right now. The general public hate us - they have been encouraged by the media/ francis inquiry report to scrutinise every ounce of contact they have with us.
Nurses are lazy, selfish people who enjoy nothing more than gossiping whilst neglecting the patients that are supposed to be in their care. They love nothing more than to watch a helpless person waste away and sustain pressure sores.

Nurses do not just have to administer medications and blood products, ensure patients are in a stable and pain free condition by performing temperature taking blood pressure, pulse, o2 saturations, counting resp rate, neurological obs and maintaining fluid/food charts, change dressings and wash and meet the needs of patients that are unable to carry out the activities of daily living themselves

They have to
Report broken tvs, phone, equipment
Take and collect broken equipment to medical physics to be repaired or organise a porter
Organise a porter to collect patients and take them to some procedure/scans (sometimes the patient may need accompanying for up to 2 hrs)
Source equipment that is not available on the ward ie infusion pumps
Source and order medications and food supplements if they are not available on the ward
Check the controlled drugs cupboard
Cannualtion and blood taking
Order blood products
Ensure patients are on the correct medication
Chase doctors to amend prescriptions, prescribe things they haven't but should have.
Check blood results are within range
Handover and refer patients to dieticans, OTs, physios, specialist nurses, palliative care
Organise transport out of hours
Admit and discharge patients on the computer system out of hours
Restock the treatment room/ sluice
Deal with enquires about patients condition from relative, other member of MDT
Attend ward rounds and MDT meetings
Arrange patients' discharge, referring and liasing with social services,
Tidy the notes up endlessly
Endless form filling

Much more

It is a thankless job right now and everybody is looking to complain or accuse. There is not much time to care.

If i was younger and didn't have kids so had more time and money to retrain I would get out it pronto.

boschy Tue 25-Mar-14 13:43:34

notnow I appreciate it is a thankless job in many areas. but none of that is the patients' fault is it?

most people will be quite calm if they are given information, if things are explained to them, and, let's face it, if their drugs turn up on time or are not withheld (as my DM also says happened).

the lack of any sense of control over your environment, the fact that it's always"someone else's" job to do something/answer your question is a very dis-abling situation for many people, and they become afraid.

boschy Tue 25-Mar-14 13:46:13

got it kudzu and replied, thanks. thinking about my complaint now - and other stuff that's emerged since, like the fact that one thing that showed up on her CT scan has never been mentioned since - could be something, could be nothing, but they seem to just be able to focus on one issue at a time with elderly people.

notnow2 Tue 25-Mar-14 13:50:05

I understand how it must feel to be a patient (i have been one too) and I am calm and polite, detailing what i am currently doing and a timeframe for the request

But it is how another poster described it - like being at mummy at home with a toddler trying to get on top of things - you're in the kitchen, head in oven getting out a hot casserole dish - your toddler comes up behind you with a broken toy and demands you fix it - you say not now i am holding a burning dish - cue tantrum. It is very frustrating and EVERYTHING that does not have a designated person to sort out in a hospital become the nurses remit.

lainiekazan Tue 25-Mar-14 13:53:33

I really think it's imperative that geriatric hospitals are reintroduced. Most elderly patients do not cope well on a hospital ward. They have needs in addition to "broken hip" or whatever they are in for.

On fil's orthopedic ward every single patient except one was over 80. They were mostly confused. They were shouting "Nurse!" every five minutes for very non-urgent matters. Fil was blathering on about his toenails to anyone who would listen, including the consultant.

Also, this was a brand-new hospital, but it already seemed to be in tatters. Most of the nursing staff could not speak very good English. If you rung up they often couldn't understand at all and would put the phone down. This created even more chaos with elderly and confused patients.

I sympathise with many of the nurses. There are a few bad apples but I can see that the system is buckling.

Gen35 Tue 25-Mar-14 14:08:00

Having been through all the thread, it really sounds as though there is a huge staffing problem at the bottom of all this, and the post c-section 'care' and dementia stories are terrifying...

MrsSippie Tue 25-Mar-14 14:24:58

I'm afraid I behaved very badly when I was in hospital recently. Short backstory. I had surgery in January and was sent home far too soon, with no instructions on how to care for one of my wounds. A week later the wound was so infected it exploded' and I was rushed in, in a very very scared state, put onto a strong drip and admitted. By day three, I was vaguely told I could possibly go home by a harassed doctor but that it 'may get infected again'. She then rushed off, leaving me absolutely terrified...I kept trying to get more information, but no-one wanted to speak to me. eventually I caught a nurse and just screamed my head off at her to get someone.

An extremely junior doctor appeared about an hour later, after I had lay there doing the sobbing hiccupping thing and had No Idea what I was on about. I screamed once more and eventually the same doctor who had rushed off returned. It took her 15 minutes to explain things to me. that was all I wanted.

I'm not a young scared person - I've had over 30 operations in my life and never ever been left like this sad I know it was the lack of staff and the pressure (the excuse for me being rushed home an hour after major surgery, which caused the problem in the first place) but it was horrible.

I apologised to every member of staff I had yelled at and felt terrible about my behaviour, but I was just desperate.

Lottiedoubtie Tue 25-Mar-14 14:28:02

I don't think that falls into the category of patient whinging, that sounds pretty scary. And I think NHS staff have to accept that very scared and ill people will not always behave rationally.

horsetowater Tue 25-Mar-14 14:31:49

I have also heard a lot of stories about people coming home from hospital early and then be put in a position where they have become more ill than they were before.

Or sometimes catching an infection IN hospital. A lot of these problems are completely preventable.

There is a point at which they should simply refuse to take people in if they know the haven't got the resources to do the full wrap around care package. If it means longer waiting lists then longer waiting it will have to be.

But it's self-defeating to clog up hospital beds with people with septicemia from poorly healed surgery.

monicalewinski Tue 25-Mar-14 14:36:01

I've been an adult inpatient a few times now, for a variety of operations. Overall I have had good care by the nurses when they were available, which quite often they aren't as they are so understaffed.

It is obviously not the ward staff's fault that there are not enough of them, but that isn't my first thought when I am physically incapable of doing something for myself (which I would usually take for granted).

I have also been a private patient on one occasion and the most noticeable difference is that there are enough staff to look after you.

I think patients should be encouraged to complain, because if the nurses keep on just getting on with it and nobody complains, nothing will ever change.

horsetowater Tue 25-Mar-14 14:37:43

*Notnow The general public hate us - they have been encouraged by the media/ francis inquiry report to scrutinise every ounce of contact they have with us. Nurses are lazy, selfish people who enjoy nothing more than gossiping whilst neglecting the patients that are supposed to be in their care.

I don't think anyone on this thread has said or heard anyone say, or even implied anything remotely like this. Your defensive attitude is not helping anyone, and nurses would do better to fight the system and insist on changes than assume the public are the enemy. Look at the problems within the system and deal with them - like the targets, like unequal pay, like unqualified imported staff, like lack of preventive services, like fraud and theft.

difficultpickle Tue 25-Mar-14 14:38:39

I agree that understaffing is a huge problem. The unit I was in had mostly fab permanent nursing staff but had to also rely on agency staff. Some of them were truly awful. One was so awful that the ward matron refused to have her on the ward again (after she had administered a drug to me completely incorrectly despite saying her permanent job was in another unit similar to the one I was in).

horsetowater Tue 25-Mar-14 14:40:46

But how does that happen - how do 'truly awful' staff get recruited (via agency or otherwise)? No other 'industry' would tolerate it.

Grennie Tue 25-Mar-14 14:41:30

Staffing is obviously a big issue. But why would a woman who has just had a masectomy be sent home without any painkillers late in the evening, as they had none in stock?

horsetowater Tue 25-Mar-14 14:49:32

Weighing up the pros and cons (I have to go soon) what we do receive is free healthcare, we get treatment and surgery and whatever we need generally, to make us better. As a system, it does work, in a basic way. However the thing that would make it work 10 times better would simply be to enhance the patient's experience of their service. Of course that can't happen without frontline staff having what they need to do the job to their best ability.

Surely that's where the resources need to be focussed - a massive frontline staff improvement programme, including getting rid of the less than adequate ones. Decent pay and conditions will encourage healthy competition and ensure only the best get the job.

A more holistic preventative health and care system will also save a lot of money and heartache.

MrsSippie Tue 25-Mar-14 14:51:45

I feel that I was expected to have know how to deal with my wound - it was left open (after having been opened in surgery an hour or so previously), no dressing on it, and a nurse vaguely waved her hand at me and said 'if white stuff comes out see your doctor'. I was off my head from the anaesthetic and had no idea what to do! One night in hospital and some advice would have saved them a lot of money and me a lot of real fear and pain.

difficultpickle Tue 25-Mar-14 14:52:18

I've no idea. When I queried what she was doing she told me that she worked full time in another hospital doing the same job. It was only later I discovered that the ward matron wouldn't have her back because of what she had done to me.

MrsSippie Tue 25-Mar-14 14:53:18

final point - in the 60's and 70's, I had really major surgeries and was kept in for days on end. Didn't like it then but never ever was a there a single infection, problem or re-admittance. It's so sad what's happening.

Grennie Tue 25-Mar-14 14:55:47

Yes MrsSippie, this isn't about money because some of what is happening actually costs more money.

Contrarian78 Tue 25-Mar-14 15:05:47

My contribution - for what it's worth......

Nurses are given a really hard time by the public. There are some that aren't up to the job and should consider doing something else. For the most part though, nurses work hard and in difficult conditions. Most really do care. The press (the Telegraph and Mail in particular) seem to really have it in for nurses, which is a shame. I take the Telegraph every morning, so I'm not some sort of sandal wearing hippy

I despair when it's suggested that we should go back to the good old days of "matron" Today's nurses undertake all sorts of tasks which the nurses of yester-year would not have done. It's a very different proposiiton nowadays.

I do think that the move to an entirely degree educated workfoce might prove to be shortsighted. I'd like to see the training move back "in-house" with post-grad degrees introduced for specialisms. I probably wouldn't be adverse to seeing all midwives first train as nurses (though it's not a big deal I guess)

Most nurses do a great job. Keep up the good work! I'm married to a nurse and know how hard most of you work!

NurseyWursey Tue 25-Mar-14 15:13:16

There are going to be changes, HCA are going to be able to train to be nurses in house.

I'm not sure how it's going to work, but if they don't do the degree they're going to miss out on a lot of knowledge that is the ground on which we build our nursing models, the foundations on how what when were why, A&P, prevention etc etc.

It's all well and good having basic care skills, but learning the knowledge in an academic environment is really important too IMO.

We learn a lot of indepth stuff which is why I always get frustrated when people say 'they're just nurses'.

I think that it would be a good idea if all people wanted to go into nursing, first did a year or so as a HCA. But then there's just not enough jobs for this and the turnover would be massive which isn't good for patients.

lainiekazan Tue 25-Mar-14 15:15:40

I was in hospital for two weeks after ds was born. I was put in a private room - I think so ds and I didn't traumatise the other mothers... Anyway, the staff would talk to me quite a bit and one student nurse came to do her work in with me.

All the doctors complained about the nurses, the nurses complained about the porters, and all the porters were really cheerful!

Contrarian78 Tue 25-Mar-14 15:18:21

Nursey It's not an either/or things though. The first year of formal training should be as an HCA. Years two and three should then be a 60:40 mix of practical and theory - in an academic setting as you suggest.

NurseyWursey Tue 25-Mar-14 15:27:48

It's currently 50/50 in all 3 years and I think that's the way it should be. Most of us in my cohort already had previous experience as HCAs, either because it got us wanting to be nurses or because it gave us a better chance of getting into university.

Hunt has already said he wants people to do a year as a HCA before applying for university, which I think is correct

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 25-Mar-14 15:29:46

Good point mrssippie. The rate at which they discharge you is frightening. When I was in hospital the second time I was opposite a young lady with appendicitis. She was taken (sobbing as she was so petrified) for her operation in the afternoon and I was transferred to a different ward before she returned. The next day I popped down after lunch to see how she was, and she had already gone home less than 24 hours after her appendectomy.

I was told I would need to be in hospital for a minimum of 3 nights after my c section. I was actually discharged after around 40 hours- not even 2 full days- DD was born in the evening, I stayed one full day and was discharged on the second morning even though I could barely go to the toilet by myself!

Contrarian78 Tue 25-Mar-14 15:34:53

Hunt has my support then.

Chronically I'm actually in favour of enhanced recovery regimes. The outcomes are (I'm told) generally better. I certainly wouldn't want to be in hospital for any longer than was necessary.

My wife was also discharged "early" having had an emergency c-section. The staff reasoned that they wouldn't do anything for her that I couldn't. I imagine it'd be different if you were on your own.

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 25-Mar-14 15:46:43

I think a middle ground sort of is needed though. I think in the 'olden days' you probably were kept in hospital too long, and probably contributed to my grandad's death in the 90s. However, 24 hours after an appendectomy, when you've probably only just been weaned off the morphine pump seems just too early to me.

With my c section, I was originally told I wasn't a candidate for early discharge due to my health conditions- some which were pre existing and some which came about as a result of pregnancy. But I was sent home early, I think due to me having baby blues, and was in agony during the car ride as I felt every little bump. I couldn't bath or shower at home because the shower is over the bath and I couldn't get in or out, even with support from my DH, I needed a walk in shower like at hospital. I hadn't even had my first postnatal poo (which again I struggled with as our toilet seat is lower than the ones in hospital). Oh, and my daughter wasn't feeding effectively and ticked several of the warning boxes on the assessment sheet in my red book. So really neither of us should have been let out so soon.

MrsDeVere Tue 25-Mar-14 16:04:34

I have jumped forward a few pages because one post jumped out at me.
'I have had patients come on the ward who say 'where is my bed, where is my tv'.

Yes, that would be me. I would have been very polite about it but you wonder about priorities?

My priority was getting my DD and myself settled in for yet another horrible, distressing and uncomfortable hospital stay and making the best of it.

So that meant sorting out her bed, my bed and her tv. It usually meant having to justify yet again why my neutropaenic DD couldn't share a ward with 10 children and why she needed to go into one of the cubicles with a toilet and shower.
Finding bed linen and making up her bed. Getting her comfortable and having to make myself unpopular for asking for her blood to be cross matched sooner rather than later because the blood had to come across London and I didn't want her to be on 15 min obs all through the night.

Sorting out a tv for us both to watch because we spent most of our lives in hospital and my capacity for sitting staring into space had diminished by that point.

Then I would clean the room with the cleaning products that were kept in my bag at all times.

And yes, asking for a bed because if I didn't I wouldn't' get one because it was not a priority. So it would keep falling down the list until shift change and I would find myself with no where to sleep. This is no fun when you are a full time carer and you spend two weeks out of four in hospital.

A lot of the nurses were wonderful and let me get on with sorting what I needed to sort. There were always some that felt I needed putting in my place and that my priorities were wrong.

I remember the faces of every single one of them. They made the hell we were living in that little bit worse.

zzzzz Tue 25-Mar-14 16:15:13

Yes the TV and bed to create a small place that is for your child is a bit of a priority for us. It's about making the time bearable.

I am suddenly reminded of the nurse who felt moved to turn all the lights out because dd "should be in her cot". We were the only one on the ward and had the telly on quietly and dd was snugged up in my lap. She had been in for 50+ days and it was a rare moment of calm. She started shaking and cried for hours.
I still feel the rage whenever I think of her.

Kudzugirl Tue 25-Mar-14 16:16:20

All you have as a patient is your bed. Your whole life is in that bed. So why wouldn't it be a priority to ask where it is?

Getting a patient settled into bed, clean, assessed and in possession of the knowledge about what might happen and when is part of the nursing process.

It is not basic care. It is fundamental care.

Sillylass79 Tue 25-Mar-14 16:18:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bonesarecoralmade Tue 25-Mar-14 16:20:10


When you are the patient, help with "small" things is very important because you can't get them any other way. It's not like expecting people to bring you a glass of water instead of saving someone's life when you could just get it yourself or wait half an hour. It's that you just won't get the water, you can't get up, you can't do anything, and you will get so thirsty that after getting very uncomfortable you will get ill.

When I had babies I was quite shocked at how horribly you can be treated when you ask for things. I hated being treated as such a nuisance. it made me very ashamed as I am usually the one getting on with things and looking after myself and other people. It is humiliating to have all capacity to be doing things taken away, and then people being snotty to you for asking for things, when you would otherwise be completely ignored.

Kudzugirl Tue 25-Mar-14 16:24:43


I don't know what to say to you other than that I am very sorry that happened to you and that not all MH staff are like him. Sadly that doesn't help you because nobody stood up for you. Please, in future, ensure you have all the details of your nearest patient advocacy service and contact them if you feel you are not getting the treatment you deserve.

I know it is hard to complain when you are tired and ill (especially with mental health problems because they do so much damage to your self esteem and volition) but please do so and don't be put off by this event. It may not be the same next time. There are some appalling Psychiatrists in the NHS and some very very good ones. I am sorry you got the former.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Tue 25-Mar-14 16:36:05

All these stories have got me thinking.

Without outing myself completely (I've already said too much confused)

Leadership is the key here.

I've gone from one extreme to the other. I've recently moved job. Gone from one service to another. My old manager was amazing. She turned the ward around from the previous manager, who was only really interested in securing a senior nurse manager post.

The great manager was highly skilled, dedicated to the ward, supportive of the staff, just really genuinely cared about delivering excellent care. She made huge changes to the way we worked. There were a few grumbles from old staff but she stood her ground and enforced the change. She worked as hard, if not harder, than the rest of the staff. She showed everyone what she expected of them. Ask her a question, she would have the answer, or if not straight away, she would find out within 5 minutes.

I really miss her. I always said, if I knew my family would be in her care, I'd be happy they were being looked after properly. The staff who couldn't hack the pace left. Thank god.

The only problem now is, although the standards are as high as they've ever been, management want the same standards while they continue cutting staff levels.

In my new job?

My manager is a nice enough person, but quite frankly, he's lazy. I've been stunned by the lack of direction. I'm lucky enough to know the basics from my old job, but because it's a different directorate, I need additional training. I've been there 8 weeks and still no training.
You ask him to do something for you i.e get important information, you have to hound him for weeks.
There was a meeting recently where he said he wanted the staff to start doing X,Y,Z with the patients. Nothing has materialized. He hasn't once made the staff do anything!

Every day I get angrier and angrier at this so called 'care'. The staff are frustrated. We can't implement anything without his say so, but we can never find him.

Poor leadership leads to poor care IME.

I don't know how much longer I can take before I walk tbh

Morgause Tue 25-Mar-14 16:48:46

My mother (wise woman) said many years ago that it took a special sort of bitch to be a nurse and I have found she wasn't wrong in 80% of the cases.

Both DSs had extended hospital stays when they were young and I have been in 3 times myself. Plus both my parents were in and out of hospital a lot before they both died. The arrogance and sheer cruelty of some nurses beggars belief. The way they speak to patients young and old when they think no one can hear is sometimes horrific.

I feel so sorry for the dedicated, compassionate 20% having to work with such dreadful people.

Confusedintercity Tue 25-Mar-14 16:50:37

The treatment my son received when he was in scbu was an absolute disgrace. His charts were falsified because the staff couldn't be bothered to do their jobs meaning I took a very poorly baby home thinking he was getting better. He was supposed to have a normal feed and then a tube feed but through the night when I was tending to his twin sister the staff just gave him tube feeds to save them a job and wrote them up as normal bottle feeds. One of the other mothers who spent day and night on the ward told me that they did not give him one bottle feed through the night despite them writing and ensuring me he had. Basic care and attention was nowhere to be seen, I went down one night to find my son hysterical covered in vomit and choking and pulling out his tubes. I went to find a nurse and found six of them sitting round their nurses station tucking into cream cakes and heeing and hawing about their weekend escapades, when asked if someone could give me a hand, one flung her magazine down and stormed to my sons bed muttering under her breath, she couldn't even be bothered to change his sheets. She went to walk away without even looking at me or saying a word until I asked her if she would like to lie in her own vomit. Only then did she change it after drawing her eyes off me.

Overworked? Don't make me laugh.

FraidyCat Tue 25-Mar-14 16:57:44

I'm fairly apprehensive about ever having to go into hospital, given some of the stories I've read.

When DW was last in hospital, for about a week following planned CS, her mother stayed with her 24 hours a day for the whole week to help look after her and babies. (NHS gave DW a private room, for reasons I can't remember.) MIL slept on a mattress on the floor, the nurses supplied the mattress.

Given the liberal visiting policies of modern-day hospitals, I suppose if I went into hospital I could pay someone to stay and look after me in the way MIL did for DW? Has anyone heard of people doing this?

Misspixietrix Tue 25-Mar-14 17:16:16

I think that NHS Staff need to accept that very scared and ill people will not always behave rationally lottie This ^!! Was certainly the case when DM was in for so long sad Then again I think anyone who had had to have 3 life saving operations within 5days (one performed at her ICU bedside because she was too ill to be moved) wouldn't be thinking right neither. ICU nurses understand the pressure and how patients are feeling though - only have to focus on either one or two patients at a time. The difference in care she received from ICU to the General ward was very telling. I'm a big supporter of the nhs but there was a couple of people who looked after DM who clearly didn't like their jobs confused. As a PP said I think the child to nursery ratio depiction was correct. I think this is the problem on the wards too.

MrsDeVere Tue 25-Mar-14 17:33:03

Being in hospital with DD has made me think a lot about older people who have to face hospital alone with no parent to fight for them.

I honestly love the NHS and would be so proud if any of my children became medics but being in hospital without an advocate and protector must be bloody horrendous.

I was constantly on alert when my DD was in the general hospital (as opposed to the specialist unit). I had to stand up for her, stand in front of her, clean her, feed her, change her bed, catch cockroaches, remind staff of her allergies, keep cleaners with their filthy mops out of her room, find her food when she was admitted too late to be fed, chase up her drugs, her bloods and more.

I rarely left her. I tried to give her a bit of time on her own every day but when I left her I ran the risk of someone coming in and doing something to her. Nothing sinister but it got to the point where I had to be with her in case they tried to give her something she was allergic to or carry out a procedure in a way that distressed her.

I once let DH take her in for an NG tube replacement and they persuaded him she shouldn't have sedation because it was easier without and they told her she was a big girl and shouldn't make a fuss.

After 18 mths of intense chemotherapy they had the fucking cheek to tell her it was too much trouble and she should suck it up.

Never left her again.

manicinsomniac Tue 25-Mar-14 17:34:50

well, YABU but I can totally understand why.

Those patients are just desperate and struggling but so are you and there's only so much even the most patient can take.

I couldn't handle being an auxiliary nurse if you paid me. That you guys do this voluntarily to even try and make patients lives a little bit easier is incredible and you should be very proud of yourself for giving up your time in this way. I hope it gets easier. Maybe not all the patients realise you are a volunteer.

maggiemight Tue 25-Mar-14 17:43:02

I think there are people trapped in their jobs, if you have been in the job for years and need the money to pay the mortgage you aren't going to leave. What career change could you make after 20-30 years a nurse?

But nursing, when someone with that length of experience was first employed, was a completely different job, and so much easier in some respects. My DM was a nurse during the war and, yes, the job was exhausting and demanding but patients didn't move on at the present rate, patients were in for weeks on end, everyone knew their role and there were adequate staff.

Now nurses are too busy to be 'caring', it is more like a production line of mostly elderly ill people who aren't going to be cured, just made well enough to go home, so little satisfaction or reward. And exhausting work, physically and mentally, for staff who are ageing themselves.

Last time I was in hosp the overworked staff nurse in charge worked a 12 hour shift, but really it was 13 hours as she had handovers to do. Exhausting and unfair imo.

The first year of formal training should be as an HCA.

I think this is a bad idea, personally. Think about it - HCA's would only ever be experienced for a year. Every September there's a whole new influx of new HCA's who have no experience - a lot of them all at once. Patient care would suffer dreadfully. People already worry about changeover day with the new doctors, but imagine knowing you're going onto a ward where both the doctors and HCAs don't know what they're doing because it's everyone's first week (and the second year student nurses are on their first academic semester in university). The already over-stretched experienced workforce will be stretched even further.

It also really, really devalues the role of HCA's - lots of them are excellent at their job. Really excellent, but have no desire to become registered nurses (for lots of reasons - less paper work, more basic care, more patient contact are just a few), but suddenly they're just either failed wannabe nurses or pre-student nurses. Why would you stay in a role like that if you feel so undervalued, on all sides.

It seems like a good idea in theory, but the practicalities of it don't seem workable. The government will probably adopt it though - it's a great wheeze. Imagine instead of paying for HCA's they'll actually have to pay to work (through student loans)

lainiekazan Tue 25-Mar-14 18:34:01

I heard on the radio that at any one time over 70% of hospital patients are the very elderly. As I said upthread, a general hospital just isn't the place for them and cottage hospitals should be brought back.

When bil had cancer the nurses were falling over him because they said it was so frustrating just facing elderly people every day whose real illness was being "old".

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 25-Mar-14 19:07:56

*I have jumped forward a few pages because one post jumped out at me.
'I have had patients come on the ward who say 'where is my bed, where is my tv'*

Parents, not patients. Parents. Parents who arrive on the ward when their child is in surgery and say before they even say hello, ask where their TV is. Not for their child. For them. In a 'well where's my telly' way.

We show every family round, where to get drinks and where they'll be sleeping. What we don't like are parents who make their demands as soon as they walk on, it's quite confrontational. Along with 'I want a room'. Not everyone can have one, for all sorts of reasons. But it just gets our backs up a bit.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 25-Mar-14 19:08:21

Gah, bold fail.

SybilRamkin Tue 25-Mar-14 19:20:02

"nurses would do better to fight the system and insist on changes"

Horsetowater I'm literally laughing my arse off at that comment - how exactly are nurses to 'fight the system'? If they go on strike the general public lash out at them for neglecting their patients, and the Department of Health don't have the money to pay them more in any case - they'd just get in more poorly trained locums who don't give a shit.

Get a grip on reality.

horsetowater Tue 25-Mar-14 19:29:30

If they go on strike the general public lash out at them for neglecting their patients,

Um no they don't. And if they did is that a reason to not go on strike? If they want things to change they are going to have to make it happen.

horsetowater Tue 25-Mar-14 19:35:38

When bil had cancer the nurses were falling over him because they said it was so frustrating just facing elderly people every day whose real illness was being "old".

Really? They said that to him? They find it frustrating because people are too old? What a pants attitude.

I agree about more 'cottage hospitals' though, as long as they're not a place in which to dump the elderly.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Tue 25-Mar-14 20:14:26

horsetowater - That's another frustrating attitude we deal with.

If you think it's so easy for 'nurses to fight the system' is as easy as what you're saying, it would've happened by now.

Frontline staff are fighting the system every day. They don't hold the power or the purse strings. To think otherwise is naive.

If you think it's a simple task, I suggest you do your training, get a job on a ward and do it.

No? Didn't think so hmm

swooosh Tue 25-Mar-14 20:25:26

I've worked as a HCA for the past 7 years, 4 years frontline A+E and the past 3 in a private hospital. I was on the ward but for the past 7 months have worked in theatre (blood, yay! gore, yay! asleep patients, double yay!grin)

I loved working in A+E, but we simply did not have time to spend with patients who weren't on the brink of death. Staffing numbers were so low that I was often left in charge of triage - AS A HCA - triage patient, do their bloods/cannula/ecg (easier to do myself whilst taking history rather than delegate to a qualified bank staff nurse - most couldn't do it anyway) and that would be it. No time to pop back and ask how they are, if they were feeling better sad

In my private hospital we have a LOT of choose and book NHS patients, around 60% I guess.

ALL patients whether NHS or Private get FREE parking, FREE TV, amazing 3 course lunch and dinner, breakfast (NHS not AS good as Private menu but still lovely), FREE wifi, their operations done by a consultant, their own room and bathroom and great staffing. Yet the NHS patients would still moan about ridiculous things. Like buzzing to ask for their tray to be removed, when they know the pantry staff will be round again "but I've finished!" etc etc.

The thing I miss about the NHS though is the elderly. I tried to spend as much time with them as possible, always asking about their family and marriage. I really do miss that.

Jellymum1 Tue 25-Mar-14 20:32:29

Worked in the nhs for twelve years. I leave a week tomorrow ive had enough. I understand you op. All I hear is complaints and its not that I dont understand its just that patients are complaining about the wrong things to the wrong people. Also very very rarely come across nurses with compassion any more they are all so stressed and ground down if its not the patients shouting at them its the managers. Unpaid overtime, thankless work and neglecting your own family to go to a job where you get bitched at all day and its absolutely impossible to complete tasks and provide the care that yes you actually do want to provide! I actually do care! I actually do wish I had time to help with all the little things that mean a patient is comfertable in what is more than likely a stressful and worrying time. But it is impossible and the state of affairs means that people like me and probably this op actually end up leaving a job we went in to because we wanted to make a difference and we wanted to care. But with management, executives and the money being whittled away on external consultancy and employing managers, trackers, paper shufflers, to meet government targets instead of being spent on providing the hands on care we have no chance. Decent staff are ground down until they cant take anymore. You have absolutely no idea what goes on behind the scenes in a hospital and I cant take it anymore. You get shit all over if you give a ball crap! The only people who are going to be able to stomach working in the nhs in ten years will all be psychopathic abusers and narcissistic ass holes. Any decent human being just cant take it. It makes me physically ill every day and its because I actually stupid is that! Listen trusts spend millions of pounds on private companies. The pot is full not empty! They only put a tiny amount of their budget into patient care but trusts are raking in million plus surplus and then get a big bonus for doing so and that money goes straight back into the private sector! Its being sold under your noses and purposefully run into the ground so that everyone complains until the nhs is no more. Thats what mr I want my tv or mrs cant eat cold toast doesnt realise

zoemaguire Tue 25-Mar-14 20:45:26

I've never been incapacitated in hospital without an advocate and helper there for most of the day, and I live in fear of ever being admitted to hospital where that isn't possible. After c section last month, if dh hadn't come in at 8am, I'd have wet the bed. Nobody available and willing to help me get out of bed for the first time after surgery, despite someone having cleverly removed my catheter but left drip in in middle of the night. 6 hours later bladder was about to burst. And when dh asked for help the midwife said 'can you manage please we are very busy and I have to go and weigh this baby' hmm.

In an ideal world every hcp would have experience of being helpless and bed bound (I know, the practicalities would be tricky grin ) and know exactly how scary, humiliating and painful it is to have basic needs like going to the toilet or getting pain relief dismissed as an annoyance. I sympathise with how bad the workload is but I don't like the underlying attitude to patients that shines through in the op.

almondcake Tue 25-Mar-14 21:00:47

One of my elderly relatives came home from hospital to die recently. The nurses in the hospital were great, as were the nurses who visited at home - community nurses and Marie Curie nurses. We never felt she was at risk in hospital and she was cared for well.

I've had other experiences of a younger family member being treated terribly, and feeling that their life was in danger if I left them on the ward. I would be terrified to go into hospital having seen that.

And that's the difficult thing. I can see nurses doing an amazing job, but it only takes one awful experience to give someone a real fear of what may happen, particularly when that one experience seems to be tolerated by the culture of the NHS. The number of horrendous experiences mentioned on here is worrying.

MrsDeVere Tue 25-Mar-14 21:45:39

Pobble yes, me, a parent.
Trying to sort out our home for the next week. Knowing what was in store for us and just trying to make the best of it.
So yes 'can we have a tv please' would have been one of the first things I would have said. How nice that nurses would be having a good old judge about that.
Their child is in surgery, do you not think they might want a distraction?

Sorry that demanding parents get your back up. If people were doing their jobs properly I would never of had to demand a room for my DD. Why should I have to ask for isolation for a immunosuppressed child? I mean, the fecking cheek of it!

Do you know what it is like to have to constantly stick your neck out to get the things that could mean your child stays alive? Bed sides for a child with epilepsy - yes TWO please even though it means you roll your eyes at me and huff and puff. A simple request was often treated as a demand by some pissed off nurse. I still had to get on and ask though, however much I wanted to hide away. I didn't have the luxury of clocking off and going home.

I don't know any hospital that doesn't have tvs over the bed anyway. Do you still have portable tvs in your hospital? They were removing them almost 10 years ago.

Your job is not to make value judgments about parents. If there are no safeguarding issues its not your business.

Parents should be polite and respectful to staff. They deserve the same consideration but they certainly don't always get it.

MrsDeVere Tue 25-Mar-14 21:58:30

Actually I am just going to hide this thread.
This is the wrong time of year for me to be getting into these conversations.

Parents, not patients. Parents.

As a paed nurse, parents are as much your patients as the child is, surely?

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Tue 25-Mar-14 22:32:41

mrsdevere really well put.
When my 18mth old son was in a famous london hospital, they brought him his lunch and dumped it on the bed without a word. It was 6 chips on a dinner plate. I chased after her with the plate- turns out it was supposed to be lasagna and chips but the lasagna had run out. So a member of staff had seen fit to give a child 6 chips on a dinner plate. angry
Until fundamental errors of common sense like this are eradicated, I can see no hope. Nurses have a hard job, but it's the PATIENTS that have it worse.

expatinscotland Tue 25-Mar-14 22:43:44

Could spin your head with how an older child can be treated in ICU.

Let's just say, I have never come as close to hating another human being as I feel about a couple of the people we met in there. I wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire.

BrianTheMole Tue 25-Mar-14 22:46:06

Good post MrsD.

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Tue 25-Mar-14 22:48:28

Oh, and my toddler had a cannula in his foot- the bandage on it was black from walking around on the floor. A HOSPITAL floor. The mum of the ill premature baby in the next bed was terrified to leave her on her own because every time a nurse touched her, the mum had to ASK them to wash their hands even though the baby already had MRSA. These things are completely indefensible and all the staff involved should be ashamed

BrianTheMole Tue 25-Mar-14 22:55:16

I couldn't handle being an auxiliary nurse if you paid me. That you guys do this voluntarily to even try and make patients lives a little bit easier is incredible and you should be very proud of yourself for giving up your time in this way. I hope it gets easier. Maybe not all the patients realise you are a volunteer.

Eh? An auxiliary nurse isn't generally a volunteer. Are you a volunteer op?

MintyCatLeaf Tue 25-Mar-14 23:16:42

Doctor here.

I have the utmost respect for what you guys do and I honestly feel your pain. In fact, I resent the fact that sometimes I get a rude patient address me as "nurse" and demand this, that and the other and suddenly they're lovely once they hear I'm the doctor.

I wouldn't like to have nurses hire or fire me, though. For example, the other night, a nurse thought her patient needed antibiotics. I took her request seriously, assessed the patient, sent a septic screen. The bloods and vitals were perfect, clinically he was well. He was mildly confused, but I had known him from previous visits and previous wards, and he wasn't off his baseline (established dementia). He was new to this ward. I didn't start antibiotics. As usual for him, he became un-confused once morning arrived.

Since that night, the nurse in question has been extremely hostile towards me. She's a more senior nurse than I am a doctor. If she had that power, I'd genuinely be quite afraid she would try to fire me. I'd rather my job not be that precariously balanced!

But back to my original point, I love my job and most of my patients. I assume most of you nurses are the same, and I really, really understand your frustrations.

Latara Wed 26-Mar-14 00:45:57

Part of me is wondering if the OP is a wind-up to provoke everyone.

Also I'd just like to say that MOST of my colleagues HAVE been bedbound patients for one reason and another in the last few weeks / months / years and understand exactly what it's like.

Also we've ALL had close relatives die in hospital and been frustrated with some of the care.

The staff on our ward have a good reputation and I'm proud to work with them.

Grandemama Wed 26-Mar-14 00:55:41

I said it before and I will say it again, I would happily commit suicide (if I am able to) than end up in a ward again (and I have only been in a post natal ward of a well know teaching hospital).

Misspixietrix Wed 26-Mar-14 02:02:44

My Grandma was an auxiliary nurse for many many years. Believe me, she did indeed get paid!

Jellymum1 Wed 26-Mar-14 06:27:44

I have been a patient and so have most of my colleagues we know how awful it is we have all experienced lack of care and that is exactly what im trying to say in my other post. The DECENT people are leaving the nhs! They just cant hack it so your left with uncaring nurses who dont give a shit im afraid you can complain until your blue in the face. ASK WHERE THE MONEY GOES! next time you or a loved one have an inpatient stay and you have complaints put it in writing! Dont just moan to an un listening HCA. And ask where the bloody money goes because the nhs is in the black! there is enough where is it?

frumpet Wed 26-Mar-14 07:56:24

I work with a lot of very clinically competent nurses , degree educated , very knowledgble . But i do sometimes despair at their attitudes towards our patients . They see things in black and white , can be immensely judgemental , i do pull them up on it , because i was taught that every person you come in to contact with you should treat like a loved family member , regardless of anything .

I have to say though that the worst comments that i have heard being said about my patients have come from other patients and relatives .

Shonajoy Wed 26-Mar-14 07:57:39

The problem is there are so few "nice" nurses that its falling to you as you seem approachable and polite. My dd (20)is doing her nursing training and is shall we say not impressed by some of the staff behaviour.

If she complains she will get a bad report. Her plan is to work really hard, and change things from within. I'm glad she's so enthusiastic but it's not realistic I feel with this sort of behaviour becoming so entrenched.

I recently spent three days in hospital and I'm a mobile 46yo. They were leaving cups of tea and toast beside elderly people's beds, I was admonished for asking for my medication (4 hours late) and given NOTHING to eat for two days - nothing to do with my condition. When I did finally get something it was in edible- really, I'm not being fussy but some kind of meat/fat covered in glutinous grey gravy stuff with a scoop of mashed potato.

I was then transferred to a private hospital where they took more scans and said they couldn't believe the NHS hospital had missed that because I'd been on morphine for cancer, I was so constipated my bowel could have ruptured. I spent three days there, got meds on time, night and day.

manicinsomniac Wed 26-Mar-14 08:45:16

My Grandma was an auxiliary nurse for many many years. Believe me, she did indeed get paid!

Oh blush - I thought 'auxilliary' meant 'helping out' - as in volunteering. When I was at school 6th formers who were applying to do medicine used to work as auxiliaries in the hospital down the road from the school I always thought that was really nice of them but either it's changed now or they were actually they best paid part time working 17 years olds ever and not so caring and lovely after all! Oops!

As you were ....

Grandemama - that's a fairly ridiculous and offensive thing to say!

Kudzugirl Wed 26-Mar-14 09:02:42

There are plenty of nurses who understand sundowning Minty. Unfortunately for you most of them work in psychiatry and not on general medical wards.

There is a very poor grasp of knowledge regarding Dementia and its symptoms within general nursing. The inpatient assessment and respite beds for people with Dementia are being closed rapidly (a whole two wards in our trust) meaning more and more of these patients will be shifted inappropriately onto other wards and nursed (and doctored) by those with very little grasp of their needs.

Nursing management is just as good as that of doctors. Or just as bad. The bigger picture should not and need not be about professional protectionism but more about clinical staff (whatever area) meeting the needs of other clinical staff as opposed to those with no idea about life on the wards.

zzzzz Wed 26-Mar-14 09:10:35

The lack of food and hygiene is awful.

When my twins were born I had NO help caring or feeding them for the first three days on the ward. My Dh was home with my other children and my Mother was ill.

Despite only being able to walk a few feet, no one would help me get food so I didn't eat for days. The cleaner put the breast pump/bottles etc in the bidet when she spread her mop around the bathroom. The shower plug backed up. We had the heating up because one twin had jaundice and needed to be naked under a light and the water was turned off. I was offered one can of fizzy pop to drink for a whole day, even though I was breast feeding.

The birth was well managed, but the ward <shiver>

frumpet Wed 26-Mar-14 10:18:51

minty i would have been delighted that you had taken my concerns seriously . I feel for the Drs too , especially on nights and weekends when their workload is huge and the support is minimal . But the powers that be in the NHS believe that all patients go to sleep at 9pm and only get sick between 9 and 5 hmm

frumpet Wed 26-Mar-14 10:19:44

Monday to Friday !

horsetowater Wed 26-Mar-14 13:08:12

Grandemama please don't talk about suicide in such a flippant manner, especially on a thread with lots people who work their arses off to save other people's lives.

horsetowater Wed 26-Mar-14 13:18:59

Listen trusts spend millions of pounds on private companies. The pot is full not empty!

Jellymum thanks this is why people have to mobilise and seriously strike. We all know there is money in the pot, it's been increasing over the years, there were massive boosts went in during the last government.

It's not enough to say 'we can't afford the staff'. They bloody well can but refuse to appoint more care staff in favour of their other priorities.

NurseyWursey Wed 26-Mar-14 13:41:08

We're not allowed to strike for things like that though, can only strike regarding pay and pensions I believe.

horsetowater Wed 26-Mar-14 13:59:38

You can protest though, whenever you like. They can't stop you doing that.

It's clear nurses are the brunt of both the management's bad decisions and the public's needs/expectations and are taking the flak from both. This is unacceptable and is an unviable way to run any kind of organisation (though the same could be said of teachers and social workers). But it is precisely for this reason that you have to protest and mobilise.

In the good old days, there was a form of kindly protectionism going on. The clinicians looked after 'their own'. There is no mechanism left to replace this and that's why you are being crapped on. The very worst thing nurses can do is to take it out on patients, blame the 'TV demanders' and the 'people that shouldn't be there / dementia / foreigners' for being the cause of the problem.

Management is the cause of the problem and they are not being held accountable because we are all busy attacking each other. (staff/patients)

Yanbu. I dont think anyone who doesnt work in a hospital can truly understand what its like, even if they think they do, even if they spend time there, etc.

horsetowater Wed 26-Mar-14 14:44:51

Is it any better in private hospitals?

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 26-Mar-14 15:16:02

Is it any better in private hospitals?

Depends what you define as better. You get a room, better food and a bigger TV. Doesn't mean the standard of care is any better. There are more staff yes, but private hospitals rely a lot on agency nurses and the standard is very variable.

Some agency nurses are brilliant. Some I feel like I might as well be on my own, the amount they do. Don't forget the consultants you see are NHS consultants too.

I wouldn't want to work in a private hospital personally. I don't like the 'I'm paying for it, therefore I want it' mentality. It goes against any clinical judgement. I'm not sure I could deal with that.

maggiemight Wed 26-Mar-14 18:21:47

Surely in private hosps they depend on patients attending for their income so bad nursing would result in bad publicity and fewer patients so is less likely to happen.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 26-Mar-14 18:55:07

Not really. If the nurse is really crap, they just don't hire them again. It's easier to get rid of people in private hospitals.

frumpet Wed 26-Mar-14 18:59:55

I have a friend who was an inpatient on the ward i work on and i found her view of what it was like very interesting , in the most part she had a good experience , but it was also beneficial to hear about the bad parts of her stay . I always read the complaint letters aswell , i think it is important to listen to people's experiences , that way you can make small changes to the way you work for everyone's benefit .

I think a lot of the time people become defensive when there really isn't a need . Before i trained to be a nurse i worked in a customer services role for a very big company , i worked out with very little training that allowing people the time to have a good rant , gave me the opportunity to work out what i could do to make it better for them , it is all about listening . I know this is hard when someone is literally inches from your face screaming blue murder and accusing you of a myriad of abuses against their relative , but all the times this has happened , and there have been a fair few , once that initial outburst is over , the person who is screaming apologises and i apologise for anything that should or shouldn't have been done and then we can all move forward .

floppyfanjo Wed 26-Mar-14 19:53:27

I have spent the last decade working for the NHS in a non clinical role.

I have unfortunately come across many staff who's attitude has been beyond belief and who clearly felt that they were doing the public a favor by turning up for work each day.

Having previously worked in the private sector in a customer service orientated role I found it shocking that (some) fellow colleagues couldn't understand that many patients not only have a physical condition that needs treating,they are feeling extremely frightened and vulnerable are stressed about everything from the car parking to worrying about who's going to feed the cat and maybe,just maybe,they may not come across as nice polite people !

My role now involves facilitating hospital discharges for "older people" and I'm proud to say that I haven't come across one instance where the staff been anything but caring and compassionate. I do feel this is down to good ward level and senior management and the general ethos that anything less will not be tolerated.

The following is displayed on one of our consultants office doors :

^A Patient is the most important person in our Hospital.
He is not an interruption to our work.
He is the purpose of it.
He is not an outsider in our Hospital, he is part of it.
We are not doing him a favor by serving him, he is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.^

Every single member of NHS staff needs to remember the above.

frumpet Wed 26-Mar-14 20:01:17

Is that a geriatric consultant floppyfanjo ? you can always tell those who are going to go into looking after the elderly amongst the junior doctors because they tend to be lovely smile

frumpet Wed 26-Mar-14 20:02:47

Can i just apolgise for my awful spelling on this thread , am on hardcore painkillers , did actually give my son the dogs dinner tonight blush

floppyfanjo Wed 26-Mar-14 20:13:48

frumpet Yes !!

I'm less than 6 months in of working within HCOP but I agree with you.

NurseyWursey Wed 26-Mar-14 20:16:35

I've now left the NHS for a while because I can't cope. I wish I could. I hope I can go back to it with an open mind, and perhaps find a place where I can use my skills and do what I went into nursing to do.

I am so so sorry to those who have experienced bad care, and I'm sorry for those nurses who feel let down, run down and abused.

I wish someone would help us.

But no-one is listening.

frumpet Wed 26-Mar-14 20:43:38

There will always be room for you in the sluice , nurseywursey .

Take good care of yourself .

NurseyWursey Wed 26-Mar-14 20:47:21


The thing is if the auxillary isn't going to butter the toast who is?

I was on a short staffed ward after ds2 was born. It was hideous. No-one would empty my catheter (I did ring the bell as it looked like the bag was about to burst), luckily my mum appeared and did it for me as no-one else would. I also had a drain and was expected to walk with catheter and drain to a shared table for breakfast. I just didn't bother - didn't think it was very nice for the others. On one occasion when the midwife was emptying the catheter she spilt it all over the floor and left it. I cleaned it up hmm Also on that stay my drug rounds were missed - ended up in agony - a midwife found me and hit the roof with her colleagues.

I've also been visiting on geriatric wards where an old lady of 96 was screaming in agony with a broken hip and no-one was dealing with her at all. It was horrendous. She was upsetting all the other oldies as well. My mum (again my mum- she is a nurse) ended up going over and holding her hand and talking to her to try and calm her and give her some care, then tried to find someone to give her some drugs.

I've seen chaos. I don't blame the frontline staff, but the patients were receiving substandard care. The politicians and hospital managers should do a month of shifts each.

expatinscotland Wed 26-Mar-14 21:17:04

I think post natal wards are a special circle of hell, tbh.

I have a daughter and really don't countenance the idea of her being in one of those. I'd rather she went abroad.

My only experience is as a live-in parent/carer to a child with cancer, and I mean, live-in, as she had a form of leukaemia that meant all in-patient treatment and months of strict isolation and as a result, she was never in a shared bed bay or any place else but onco unit besides a private room in ICU.

We parents took nappies, bed pans and paper urinals to the sluice room unless the patient was in source isolation, fetched meals, changed bedding, learned infection protocol, all sorts.

On the whole the care was good in the onco unit and we parents learned how to do a lot of things if we wanted but again you developed a longer relationship with staff due to circumstance.

Some of the juniors, gawd, I honestly felt sorry for DD1's consultant.

IMO they are too young and medicine should be a postgrad degree with a minimum age to be in contact with patients unless some extraordinary maturity is shown.

horsetowater Wed 26-Mar-14 21:34:05

I'm sorry Nurserywursey that you've had to leave your job because of incompetent politicians and management.

It really is criminal what they have done, institutional neglect on a massive scale. I can only hope things get better as it can't get much worse now.

horsetowater Wed 26-Mar-14 21:35:25

And after what I've read on here I'm grateful that my mother is in one of those pilot scheme areas where they are encouraging the elderly to get care at home (and funding it).

NurseyWursey Wed 26-Mar-14 21:36:23

You're right, I am just questioning how bad it actually has to get before something gets done.

Didn't they learn anything from the Francis Report?!

I honestly thought when the recommendations were made there would be changes. The government ignored the ones that really mattered.

A recent whistleblower had to go into hiding because she was going to tell all about the coding in hospitals, they were being told to document things to show the hospital in a better light. The whistleblower got no support, was dragged through the mud.

This is what happens when people speak up

NurseyWursey Wed 26-Mar-14 21:37:11

And after what I've read on here I'm grateful that my mother is in one of those pilot scheme areas where they are encouraging the elderly to get care at home (and funding it)

That's brilliant, I hope it works out. Will she be having home carers do you know? <sorry if I'm being nosy>

My mum whistleblew about patient safety in the community. She had a very hard time of it nursey. The person complained about was promoted (and is causing chaos in her new job - presumably she'll carry on being promoted until somebody dies). hmm

The NHS management is toxic to the core imo. They didn't hesitate to cover up - it was laughable.

NurseyWursey Wed 26-Mar-14 22:04:41

I wish I could say it was a rare occurrence, that's absolutely disgusting saintlyjimjams. Someone like your mum has the strength to stand up and speak out, and gets shot down.

It's no wonder people bury their heads in the sand and try to ignore. Then the bad care gets that ingrained it's set as a standard.

magso Wed 26-Mar-14 22:26:56

Whilst in hospital seriously ill, I saw some upsetting episodes of neglect, unsafe practice and simple unkindness. However I also saw the best of human kindness and this was very often from the porters and auxiliary nurses. I think if you are getting fed up regularly and unable to rise above or use gentle humour and kindness to manage seemingly demanding patients it is either time to discuss staffing, have a break or change jobs. Working in an hospital can make even the very best jaded after a while, especially if it is understaffed. I hope you are OK.

horsetowater Wed 26-Mar-14 22:27:28

Nursey - If enough people blow the whistle it will eventually become obvious who the bullies are. They can't keep passing the buck forever.

Grennie Wed 26-Mar-14 23:33:53

Are private hospitals better? Depends

A friend had a hysterectomy in one. She was in a private room and after the operation they brought her water on her request. The nurse put it on a table out of reach and left. My friend was left for hours with nothing to drink, unable to reach the water, and nobody coming near her.

Nursey it wasn't just my mum - 3 colleagues spoke up & were supported in writing by a doctor. Doctor complained to the chief exec. Doctor was told to keep his nose out, all 4 nurses were bullied and - well you wouldn't believe it. I wouldn't if I hadn't been there. They did think that raising concerns as a group would mean they were listened to. They weren't. The person complained about & promoted was caught lying in writing about my mum - she told her bosses 'she didn't mean it' & they accepted that. Similar things happened to each member of the group.

You're right it's not unusual. My mum has had quite a few people come up to her & tell her that they admire what she did, they agree, they have their own concerns, but having seen what happened to her & her fellow whistleblowers are too scared to report themselves.

As my mum says she older, she's near the end of her career, but if the younger nurses raise concerns they risk losing their whole career & livelihood.

My mum says she would do it again - even with all the personal stress & the non existent change. If anything happens she will know she tried. Funnily enough recently one of the things she complained about made the paper - someone there now obviously blabbed to the paper - and another nurse has now become a whistleblower. They tried the same shite on her but she is married to someone fairly powerful & has hit back. Had they acted on my mum & colleagues complaints then they wouldn't be in the paper & they wouldn't have another whistleblowing case to try & cover up.

Sorry all a bit off topic, but just to add support really to the frontline staff & to say that I'm well aware the rot comes from above & that most people are doing what they can & are aware & upset when patient care is not what it should be.

Horsetowater - it's obvious who the bullies are in my mum's case. My mum & colleagues raised a grievance after the bullying that arose after whistle blowing. It was a whitewash. The investigators had to work hard to make it one, but they did.

Often people come & tell my mum when they're about to leave as they can't bear working for the person concerned anymore. She asks them all to write to the RCN with their concerns when they do. The RCN have been fairly useless as well - but they can't keep ignoring the same management name being raised. She also asks them to fill in anonymous feedback forms (which did work as those made their way to the paper... Would love to know who blabbed).

Kudzugirl Thu 27-Mar-14 07:49:27

The RCN are useless. They didn't protect me when I blew the whistle and I was stitched up like a Kipper by the then male heavy corrupt ward management. Theft of drugs, assault and racial abuse of patients, manipulation of the shift enhancements to favour their cronies, dissappearing to the pub holding the bleep, sleeping on duty, rostering supernumary student nurses, using the locked door policy to manage staff shortage even though it was unlawful -all reported, all witnesses and ultimately covered up.

Three of the male charge nurses actually broke into one of the others office and pissed all over his chair, blaming it on a patient.

That was what we were talking about- that level of behaviour.

horsetowater Thu 27-Mar-14 08:35:27

This is draw-droppingly shocking, it truly is.

It's happened in social services as well. Anywhere where the victim is vulnterable - a child, or a sick person. Their needs aren't met due to poor management/politics and those who fight to defend them, the victims only defence, are simply bullied out by the people desperate to keep their jobs but with a higher tolerance of incompetent work.

It's completely dysfunctional

Kudzugirl Thu 27-Mar-14 08:40:39

If I told you the rest you'd have a conniption Horse and it'd probably out me.

It has taken me 14 years to get over what happened to me because of whistleblowing- well 14 years to stop having thrice weekly nightmares that is. What happened to some of the patients was much much worse including several suicides that happened directly because of staff not bothering to do checks, enforce risk management and then going on to alter records and cover up.

horsetowater Thu 27-Mar-14 08:51:14

Hopefully things are changing now Kudzugirl.

Not sure what a conniption is though, best leave that to the experts.

Whenever I read stories like yours kudz I know you're not exaggerating because I saw what happened to my mum. The management culture in the NHS is rotten. And these things will keep happening until it changes.

horsetowater Thu 27-Mar-14 09:10:30

I think we've lost our way with the concept of 'public service'. That terms is something old people like me understand but it seems to be completely missing with the world of targets, gradings, star listings and outsourcing.

You can't call something a public service when shareholders are involved. The two don't go together, and you can't call something a public service when individuals put their status or income before their duty.

Kudzugirl Thu 27-Mar-14 09:12:38

No I am actually underplaying it Saintly. I ended up very unwell for a long time because of the way I was treated. I had my work sabotaged (whole records and CPA documents removed) in an attempt to frame me for 'failures' in my care but fortunately I anticipated this and kept copies of everything which in itself makes you so anxious. One other nurse made an anonymous report backing me up and saying they had recorded the ward manager say 'they were going to get that cunt' (me) on their mobile phone. That nurse is somebody I will be eternally grateful to.

I am sorry that happened to your Mother too. It was hell, still is sometimes because all people see you as is a grass, not as somebody adhering to her code of conduct and reporting the abuse of patients.

I will call that helpline Horse as I would like to talk to somebody who understands what it is like. I will never really get over it. Never.

Yep. And spending millions on management consultants. I saw one report from a management consultant comparing the 'best' & 'worst' district nurses. The 'best' saw 18 patients a day, the 'worst' saw 6. Their logic was that if they could turn the 'worst' district nurses into the 'best' then they could lay off a load of them & save money.

BUT there didn't seem to have been any consideration given to the jobs the so called worst & best were doing. It wasn't mentioned in the report I read. The so called worst might have been doing complicated dressings & syringe drivers. The so called best might have had a list of diabetics & flu jabs.

This is how stupid the people making decisions in the NHS are.

BoffinMum Thu 27-Mar-14 09:24:30

I think you have a point oggie, but I too have had medical problems because of inappropriate or unsympathetic care. And I have witnessed auxiliaries routinising their jobs leaving people unfed and in one memorable case, quite literally starving. It's very difficult from both sides.

Kudzugirl Thu 27-Mar-14 09:34:31

I had a run in with a staff nurse who wanted my stepdaughter catheterised because it was easier than getting three nurses to log roll her onto a bed pan. We refused and told her she'd be getting three nurses to log roll because catheterising a young pubescent girl is very embarrassing for that child, was a clinically inappropriate use of a catheter and a temporary situation anyway. She actually stood there and rolled her eyes at us. My stepson couldn't actually believe a nurse had just done that. He was incredulous.

I took her aside, told her that I was a senior nurse and perfectly aware of the protocols for catheterisation and asked her why she felt it apropriate to make such dismissive facial gestures.


I have also had wonderful care from nurses who have given of themselves to help me. I will never forget them either.

horsetowater Thu 27-Mar-14 09:39:38

Kudzu the helpline I think was set up by Mind. The 'team' isn't huge considering the amount of work they are taking on.

I hope they can help. Good luck.

BoffinMum Thu 27-Mar-14 09:40:59

The good nurses greatly outnumber the poor ones, but the damage one or two poor nurses can do in a short space of time is incredibly serious.

lainiekazan Thu 27-Mar-14 09:53:14

And after what I've read on here I'm grateful that my mother is in one of those pilot scheme areas where they are encouraging the elderly to get care at home (and funding it)

You wait until you have elderly dependents who are doubly incontinent, cannot move themselves and have senile dementia. No amount of care in the home can deal with that.

The pil are in what looks on the face of it to be a pretty grotty care home (still £7K/month though). However, the staff are lovely. Really kind and so patient. The qualified nurses are really top notch - and all the care workers take their lead from them.

Kudzugirl Thu 27-Mar-14 10:28:23

Thanks Horse flowers

BoffinMum Sat 29-Mar-14 07:25:27

I am posting while lying in a Spire private hospital after an operation.

The team in the recovery room decided to ignore the anaesthetist's instructions regarding pain relief, so I suffered a lot unnecessarily despite my efforts to protest (I have just had a jaw operation so it's hard to speak).

I then discovered they had made no arrangements to feed any of the jaw patients (full list yesterday evening) with medically suitable food. I was offered toast or sandwiches, when the consultant specified soup and scrambled egg. Clearly I can't be expected to chew right now. Eventually I was given a sugary yoghurt (I am supposed to avoid sugar) which was all they had, and at 11.15 I was offered soup by the nurse but by then I was too tired to eat. I have therefore only had one yoghurt in 24 hours now and nothing else.I feel just dire.

So it's not just the NHS. Crap nursing exists everywhere .

Kudzugirl Sat 29-Mar-14 08:43:12

Sorry to read that BoffinMum. We often get mop up patients transferred from the private sector and their complications due to poor care would surprise a lot of folks who have a very rose tinted glasses view of private medicine.

I hope you feel better soon and can find somebody to advocate for you raise hell. I would advise you to ask for a full written clinical justification for their off piste recovery decisions. After all, nurses MUST be able to justify their actions - according to their own code of conduct.

horsetowater Sat 29-Mar-14 08:47:18

Oh dear Boffin - I guess you could email them your complaint from the hospital bed...

Why on earth would they want to give jaw patients solid food to eat?

BoffinMum Sat 29-Mar-14 08:54:01

I know, it beggars belief. This place is like a badly run Travelodge, except Travelodges are cleaner and have better amenities. It used to be a BUPA hospital and a lot kinder.

NearTheWindymill Sat 29-Mar-14 09:00:49

BoffinMum But you have the ultimate weapon, upon discharge you can either withold payment or write to your insurers with a copy to the CEO noting why you feel all or a proportion of the payment should be withheld. I'd just write a note now and ask for it to be taken immediately to the duty manager.

BoffinMum Sat 29-Mar-14 09:01:45

I have been fed now, though, although they tried to give me toast again. Food arrived at 8.30am, 2.5 hours after we were woken up.

BoffinMum Sat 29-Mar-14 09:03:54

I will raise it with BUPA, who already have the contracts team involved because I am covered for a single room but they tried to put me in a shared room of four and charge BUPA the same price. To be fair BUPA were absolutely excellent and very sympathetic, could not do enough.

BoffinMum Sat 29-Mar-14 09:04:40

This must be what US medicine feels like.