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Legalised nurse/midwife to patient ratio

(67 Posts)
agedknees Sat 13-May-17 18:48:59

Isn't it about time that the number of registered nurses/midwives to patients on a ward was legalised?

I have just retired from nursing after 36 years. Part of the reason for retiring early was due to not being capable of doing the impossible. We used to think it was our birthdays if we got a lunch break. Management would just mumble about time management skills, but how is it possible to leave a ward/department if you are the only qualified?

Planes cannot take off if the required number of staff are not present due to safety issues. Well how safe is a nhs patient if their nurse has another 15 dependent patients also to look after.

BollardDodger Sun 14-May-17 22:46:46

Same in most jobs. Not just nursing.

Becles Sun 14-May-17 22:48:43

Vacancy rates of 1 in 5 rates in some places, so not really going to happen in the near future

opinionatedfreak Sun 14-May-17 22:50:35

It was going to happen. Then Jeremy Hunt surpassed the report into safe staffing.

opinionatedfreak Sun 14-May-17 22:50:48

suppressed

Etymology23 Sun 14-May-17 22:51:43

Well not really the same in most jobs... accountants can take lunch breaks...so can admin staff, TAs, receptionists (though they may not be meant to leave their post without cover it won't be unsafe!), plumbers (as long as they e switched the water off!), electricians. In fact almost all jobs other than the emergency services and heal can be arranged so that you can takes lunch break without risking a life...

BollardDodger Sun 14-May-17 22:54:55

Perhaps nurses should just leave their posts if they need and are entitled to a break?

Wando1986 Sun 14-May-17 22:56:47

Oddly enough that's why they're part of the 'emergency' services category. You cannot plan for breaks etc when short staffed without undermining patient care (even further) and in some circumstances not at all. This is why I have gone with an indie midwife service instead of our local hospital. 2 dedicated midwives (who left the NHS because of the risks to patients with understaffing) on call 24hrs a day and with me for the whole birth star

Blimey01 Sun 14-May-17 22:56:54

Yep totally agree with you OP. I think nurse retention would improve with an improved nurse to patient ratio.
That feeling of walking away at the end of a shift knowing you haven't been able to give the best care because there is just too much to do is soul destroying...
It started to affect my health so I left ward nursing.

Fruitcorner123 Sun 14-May-17 22:57:27

It's not the same in most jobs at all. In most jobs if you choose to work across yur lunch it's exactly that, a choice. A nurse who is the only one qualified cannot leave his/her patients to have lunch. You are not being unreasonable.

ExplodedCloud Sun 14-May-17 22:57:47

And if somebody dies Bollard? The nurse who walked off the ward will be blamed.

Etymology23 Sun 14-May-17 22:59:50

Should have said op - Yanbu, I completely agree!

Fruitcorner123 Sun 14-May-17 23:00:17

Not that this is a political thread but let's vote Hunt's party back in for 5 more years and leave the EU so we have even fewer nurses. That should solve things.

Crispmonster1 Sun 14-May-17 23:00:59

I left nursing as it didn't fit with childcare. Recently a friend with lots of experience was knocked back at a job interview purely based on her inability to always work early shits due to childcare as her husband works away. I think an element of poor retention in nursing is lack of flexibility around posts. I know there are also other massive of stress etc but surely when someone with lots of experience and enthusiasm wants a job then flexibility should be allowed!? It's a drop in the ocean I know.....

Babyroobs Sun 14-May-17 23:01:36

I'm a nurse and very lucky that in the unit where I work we almost always get breaks. very rarely on a nightshift if someone unexpectedly goes off sick or something would we have to not have a break.
We are mostly privately/ charity funded and about 30% Nhs funded.
We have had many problems with recruitment though and just can't seem to recruit and retain qualified nurses.

BollardDodger Sun 14-May-17 23:01:43

The managers in charge of the hospital would be blamed.
And nurses are not an 'emergency' service

Crispmonster1 Sun 14-May-17 23:02:24

*Shifts not shits!!!

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Sun 14-May-17 23:04:35

Totally agree OP. One of the many reasons I left ward healthcare work. Also YY crisp, the lack of flexibility. So many staff who have to leave. With no improvement in sight sad.

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Sun 14-May-17 23:06:11

Bollard, the nurse would be hung out to dry in the press and possibly by the NMC. Plus, I could be wrong but I thought A and E nurses and similar were classed as an emergency service when it comes to striking, etc.

furryelephant Sun 14-May-17 23:16:14

Absolutely sadsome areas are ridiculous in their staffing levels. At 8 months pregnant I was regularly not getting a break from starting a shift at 7am to after 6pm. The only time us nurses would even see each other was when drugs needed a double checker! Completely unsafe for anyone, pregnant or not, to work like that but it would have been even more unsafe to leave and go for a break without having anyone to hand over your patients to. There just was enough hours in the day for what needed to be done.

nakedandconcerned Sun 14-May-17 23:25:07

Honestly in most nhs wards now staffing levels for nurses are reidiculously unsafe.

I had to comfort a newly qualified last week as she came in to discover it was just her and two agency members of staff on the ward she'd been assigned to - meaning she was the most senior person there.

It's farcical and I'm heading for early retirement at this rate.

MrsMulder Sun 14-May-17 23:27:55

YANBU, I left adult nursing for that reason, qualified 6 months and kept getting left as the only registered nurse on a night shift for 31 patients. When I asked for support I was told to get on with it and made to feel like a rubbish nurse for wanting help. To be told that your time management is the reason you don't get a break makes my blood boil angry

I am in paediatrics now and the ratio is 1:4, so much nicer and manageable, can still be very busy depending on the dependency but not getting a break is a rarity

Out2pasture Sun 14-May-17 23:29:10

another retired nurse who agrees 100% with safe qualified staffing.
safe qualified staffing would decrease the use of agency nurses which get paid much more (not always the nurse herself but often with the agency fee total cost can be double that of a staff member) and decrease sick time.

furryelephant Sun 14-May-17 23:35:42

Agree 100% with problems when using agency staff too sadwhen I was newly qualified I was left in charge with 2 agency nurses and not one of us was able to do IVs! I was shockconfusedleft that job pretty quick!

Sienna9522 Sun 14-May-17 23:45:21

Bollard are you for real? I'm a nurse and I can categorically state that if I walked off a ward, as the only qualified and the only person who can hold the keys, and someone died - as the Nurse in charge, I would be blamed!

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