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What are *you* going to do about the poor standard of nursing care in hospitals?

(93 Posts)
tirednurse Wed 28-Sep-11 09:44:38

I've changed my nickname to hide my identity I post on other areas. I am a nurse with nearly 30 years experience. Everybody needs to be aware that the standard of nursing that your family will receive if they are admitted to hospital is is at best sub standard and at worst life threatening. If something is not done soon then the situation will only get worse. Nurses have never been angels but now they are in many cases actually putting patient lives at risk. YOU the general public need to speak out because it could be your mother/father/son in hospital receiving this so called care,

breadandbutterfly Wed 28-Sep-11 10:19:36

What precisely are we supposed to do about it?

We also have jobs that need doing. That's what a nurse's job is - I viewed recent stuff in the press about how families should be taking time to go and feed and toilet their familiy members in hospital, as nurses were too busy, as unreasonable - some people can, and I'm sure we all would if we had the time, but what about those with no family members? Who is looking after them if nurses can't be bothered?

If things are that bad, tirednurse, you should be whistleblowing like mad - not telling us to do your job for you.

coccyx Wed 28-Sep-11 10:21:28

i am also a nurse who qualified 30 years ago.
need to rethink the training. Students i have had recently think they are above meeting the basic care needs of patients. All they want is to get hands on drug trolley.

tirednurse Wed 28-Sep-11 10:27:57

At a recent interview I mentioned my concern about unqualified nurse undertaking care that they have not had the proper training for and my concern that nursing care standards are falling. I didn't get the job and was told in the interview feed back that even if the system is not good I have to accept it and work with it and that boat rockers were not wanted by this particular trust. I have also attempted to whistle blow in the past when a man died unnecessarily and have been advised by my union rep. to let it go because 1. it wont make any difference and 2. the trust will then find a way of getting rid of me. At the end of the day if my family are admitted to hospital then I will ensure that they are properly looked after but you cant do this and I am trying to make the general public aware of what is going on.

ShowOfHands Wed 28-Sep-11 10:34:11

My Grandma was in hospital last year after suffering terrible nosebleeds (epistaxis is it?). She is 86yo, insulin dependent, has debilitating arthritis and is very frail. My parents were away in Greece at the time (my Dad is her main carer and she goes into a short term residential home for a week twice a year while he has a break) and there was only me to visit her. I practically moved in to the hospital to ensure she was getting her insulin, being fed and washed. It was beyond disgusting but not through lack of trying from the nurses. They were lovely and tried so hard but there were so few of them. The bays had 8 beds in them and there were 6 bays. I saw no more than 3 nurses on the ward at any given time. People were sitting in their own faeces, several old people sobbing and calling out for help, buzzers ringing interminably. When I got my Grandma home, I stripped her and put her in the shower. She was covered in blood, poo and urine and she should NOT have had the indignity of being bathed by her grandaughter. Basic care didn't even happen.

I wrote to the hospital, to my MP, anybody who would listen really. But I doubt anything has changed.

I did suggest that they buy a television or borrow one or I'd bloody give them mine as a small thing that could help. There were people there with no visitors at all, asleep most of the day, crying for the rest of it and the only form of entertainment came via hospedia which was ££ and they couldn't work it. I remember years ago when my Grandma had her knees replaced, they had day rooms with radio and television and crafts/books. And something that simple helped. Everything that isn't an essential (so a bed really) has been stripped away.

GetOrfMo1Land Wed 28-Sep-11 10:43:19

I think hospital care is frightening. I had an emergency op this spring, was in a room at the end of a corridor, nurses took ages to come, and I went ages without painkillers, and was snapped at when I asked for some. I ripped my canula out and bled everywhere, and had to sleep in the blood until DP came the next day and sorted some sheets out. I remember sobbing with pain in the middle of the night begging the nurse to give me some painkillers and she snapped that 'you shouldn't be in any pain'. I am normally very forthright and confident, but 3 days in hospital, hair full of grease because I couldn't have a bath or stand long enough to have a shower, covered in blood in dirty sheets, panicked, in pain and frightened, reduced me to someone pathetic. I felt the lowest of the low. When I was discharged they had me carry my own bags out, 3 days after abdominal surgery.

I then ended uo with MRSA which took months to go and I have ghastly, raw scars.

I came out of there adamant that I wouldn't go into hospital again. God help those who are ill.

DD had her appendix out a couple of months ago, I stayed in hospital with here the entire time (thank god this was allowed) with DP coming for a couple of hours to reprieve. They simply didn't have enough staff to care for all the kids and I felt very sorry for the children whose parents couldn't stay with them all the time.

I don't think nursing staff are cruel - but the systems seem designed to be against the patient, and there is simply not enough staff on the wards imo.

Very, very scary. Don't be sick or old.

GetOrfMo1Land Wed 28-Sep-11 10:44:06

show have seen on another thread that you have had your baby - I hope all went well and congratulations smile

georgie22 Wed 28-Sep-11 10:58:04

I'm a nurse with 20 years experience and at every level I've worked at (from student up to ward manager) I've never denied the value of good basic care and always been 'hands-on'. The cost of that is hours and hours of unpaid overtime, disregard of how difficult the situation is by non-clinical managers and a general feeling of disillusion by excellent staff, and this was on a specialist ward which was known for good care. I got out of ward work and now work as a nurse specialist in the charitable sector. I'm lucky that I can provide the care people deserve and am privileged to see some fantastic care both in the community and in the hospice setting. Incidentally I do hear many stories of great care in hospital as well as the awful stuff too. I can't imagine what some places are like and how hard it must be to work there.

ShowOfHands Wed 28-Sep-11 11:00:10

Thanks Gerrof. I did post a birth announcement over -> there somewhere. grin

When I had dd I came out of the hospital a sobbing, shaking, humiliated mess. The 'care' is one of the reasons I couldn't even countenance having another. This time around I was on a brand new ward with newly trained adequate staff and I did NOT want to leave. They were absolutely, utterly brilliant and now I know how it should be done, I'm even angrier about how it isn't iyswim.

tirednurse Wed 28-Sep-11 11:04:19

Ok but what are you and me going to do about it. True there are often not enough nurses for the number of patients but its more complicated than this. Nursing care is done by nursing auxiliaries who have had poor training they all train each other to follow a routine where the patient is not at the centre of the care they receive. Trained nurses don't believe its their job to care for patients but lack knowledge due to the ridiculous way their training is done to properly undertake the roles they put themselves in. I have heard and seen the most ridiculous things and seen patient conditions get worse and even die because of pure ignorance on the part of the trained and untrained staff. MY DH a non medical person would not have made such fundamental mistakes.
Secondly nobody actually cares in the truest sense of the word for the patient I asked one student nurse, a third year, what her understanding of empathy was and how she applied to her work she said she didn't even know what empathy meant.

GetOrfMo1Land Wed 28-Sep-11 11:05:46

I am so pleased - I didn't want to allude to it but I know from previous threads that you had a terrible time with your first baby, I am so pleased that this time is different.

My SIL had a baby last December, her third. First two births a walk in the park, this one she had to give birth on the ward as everywhere was too full, and she had terrible care all throughout. She came out of hospital looking shell shocked, and said if that had been her first baby, it would have been her last. It's terrible how widespread inadequate and humiliating care is.

ShowOfHands Wed 28-Sep-11 11:16:47

Oh the birth was shite matey. Repeat of last time but the care was exemplary. <shakes fist at crap pelvis> Birth announcement here. It was a world away from last time in so many ways.

tired, what do you want us to do? I wrote letters, I officially complained. What is there to do about it beyond this? I haven't the time to train as a nurse and offer better care so not sure what else I can do.

GetOrfMo1Land Wed 28-Sep-11 11:23:50

How lovely grin. I am so, so pleased for you (beautiful pics as well, and lovely names).

Sorry for hijack OP.

MrPants Wed 28-Sep-11 11:54:17

Hi there. Firstly, sorry to hear about your experiences - when my wife gave birth earlier this year our premature daughter we found that the delivery team and the SCBU were fantastic but the maternity ward, where my wife recovered from her caesarean, was hopeless.

Due to the unique set of circumstances surrounding our daughter we were privileged to experience both NHS and private health care. The contrast between the two is scarcely believable. The private health care, in this case the Lister Hospital in Chelsea, was flawless. Test results were available in minutes rather than days, cleanliness was unbelievable and even the room my wife was in would embarrass many hotels.

As a medical professional, what is your opinion of privatisation? What would be the consequence of separating NHS healthcare funding from NHS healthcare provision? What would be the problem with a voucher system for healthcare whereby the patient can choose which hospital they attend?

Please note, I am a firm believer in universal free healthcare for all, I am merely asking whether, in your opinion, the current system of provision (i.e. without meaningful competition by a centralised bureaucracy) is the best method of increasing standards.

niceguy2 Wed 28-Sep-11 12:39:31

I've had the experience of private care too when my son was born and I am extremely lucky & grateful my company provides this cover.

To me the problem we have in the NHS is partly that there is too much demand and because the NHS is such a behemoth, money isn't always efficiently spent.

So my suggestion is perhaps the govt should reduce demand on the NHS by encouraging those who can to go private. So for example offering tax breaks to companies offering private medical cover. That said, politically it's a bit of a non-starter. Labour would be able to push that through but if the Tories tried it'd be seen as creating a two tier system for the rich. Ho hum

tirednurse Wed 28-Sep-11 12:43:04

I work in have and do sometimes work in SCBU it is very environment from the rest of the hospital and certainly different from what the care adults will receive. I have and do work in the adult private sector as well I do not see any significantly better standards of nursing care in the private sector to the NHS. The vast majority of private patients are elective i.e. they do not have long and complex nursing needs. I have also worked in private nursing homes where the standard of nursing care is so awful prison would be a better place for these elderly people I don't exaggerate. Its not just about money, although this certainly plays a part, and will do more so as many trusts are very over spent its about the whole training and ethos of nurses which when combined together means that you and your relative will receive at best substandard care from nurses. I know that people talk about clean rooms and waiting for blood test results for ever and that this is an issue for many but I'm talking about nursing care.

GetOrfMo1Land Wed 28-Sep-11 12:45:41

I worked for a few years for a company which provided me with Bupa. I didn't fall ill during that time. I left this year and after 2 months had my op, and then dd had hers.

I am very tempted to pay the couple of hundred quid for private bupa care. I hate feeling like this as I have always thouhgt the NHS is a wonderful thing, and all previous hospital experiences were fine.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 28-Sep-11 12:54:14

Hum. Maybe on discharge every family should be given a simple care questionaire. Then hospitals (or individual wards) should be made to look at why what they doing doesn't work, when others can do a decent job - presumably with broadly similar resources.

My 93 year old MIL has been in and out of various hospitals during this year (Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Blackpool and Preston - we moved her up to a nursing home partway through) - and as far as we can see the nursing care has been good in all of them. Maybe not quite as good as in the (excellent) nursing home - but decent - not like what poor ShowOfHands granny went through at all.

There have been admin and medical cockups during all this, but that's (several) different stories.

lemonbalm Wed 28-Sep-11 12:58:09

I think Grimma's idea is a good one. In most organisations you get an opportunity to give feedback. We all know what the feedback sheets for hospitals would look like.

I also think lack of empathy is a huge and real problem. Actual clinical lack of empathy.

lemonbalm Wed 28-Sep-11 12:59:06

We could request a Mumsnet campaign to bring in feedback sheets/care questionnaires in hospitals?

GrimmaTheNome Wed 28-Sep-11 13:04:22

>We all know what the feedback sheets for hospitals would look like.

We'd have rated most of MILs care as 'good' - part of the reason for feedback is to find out where is good, or even excellent, so that failing institutions know its possible, and who to learn from.

lemonbalm Wed 28-Sep-11 13:23:25

Yes, you're right; maybe they are afraid to bring in feedback sheets because all the feedback they get at the moment is from people who have reached the end of their tether. If forms were routinely given out, I bet most people would be overwhelmingly positive.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 28-Sep-11 13:27:30

Commercial organisations welcome feedback - criticism is useful if you can learn from it. Its not something any organisation should fear.

tirednurse Wed 28-Sep-11 13:56:20

We have feed back questionnaires available on every ward. Do you really think they make a difference? The private sector only quick in and out patients not long term sick elderly people with complex requirements.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 28-Sep-11 14:21:31

'available' isn't the same as 'given to' (I've no idea if feedback forms are 'available' on any of the wards MIL has been in) and they make a difference if the culture of an organisation is that they matter.

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