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The End Of My Nursing Days.

In my twilight days of nursing there saw an introduction of a laptop computer. We all had one provided and training on how to use it. Those days had seen our area of work extend and staffing cut. The laptop had one very important function: to record data. This is what we all had to do. My area of work was then in the community, so I travelled a lot, covering many miles sometimes between two surgeries caseloads and in all weathers.

Every detail and work entry had to be recorded on a system called System One. So that meant that every phone call, procedure, paper work, (EG, if it involved an referral or assessment), was logged. This had to be done for every patient visited. The time we took to do each thing and how long it took to get from one patient to the next. This was logged in our work dairies and then onto System One. You still had all the patients personal records of care to do in the home as well, I might add. This was asked for to help see where the workload was, for accurate records of patients, and to prioritise resources.

You can imagine that this was a lot of work and when we could not get it done in the days schedule, it had to be taken home to do it. We were all given the appropriate connections to the data base to get this done. At the same time, my e-mail box was forever getting fuller. New policies, training, forms, referrals and memos. I personally was finding it harder to keep up. Sometimes, my brain was a fog and the effort to juggle the balls was becoming harder. My own personal stress levels went up and I felt vulnerable. Vulnerable that I would miss something, forget something. I had a note book and wrote everything I needed to do down so everyone got seen, every task and communication done. My tick list was ticked off at the end of the day and shredded. I worked incredibly hard but the passion and the enjoyment went to a very low point.

It was like being a hamster on a wheel. The harder you ran, the harder the wheel turned and it just went round and round, always to the same place, never to finish. Because the hamster was always running and the wheel just ended up at the same point for you to run all over again. It felt like you were getting no-where.

Sometimes, a ray of energy would emerge. A really excellent job was done, you had made a difference to someone’s life and job satisfaction prevailed. You were happy and pleased and felt it was all worthwhile. But, like the hamster, the next day you were back to just running, eventually you burn out and that is what happened to me.

In the end, I had had enough. I had done all that I could do. I knew that there was no end in site to any of it, if anything it was going to get worse, and I have been told that since then it has got worse and I am well out of it.

But I took 28 years of care with me and it was brave decision but I just said no-more. I thought, as it had been my identity all my working life, it would be hard to let go. But it hasn’t been. Now, my new life working in a school as a teaching assistant has made me so happy, opened up so many new doors. I have never looked back. I go to work each day never having the dread or the worry. There is no stress and if there is it is very minimal.

I had some wonderful times, happy memories, really dark days, sadness and some regrets. But I did something worthwhile and I did it well and for that I am proud. I have written these blogs to defend my former profession. I could not just sit back and let the recent press hound us in such a way, without trying to defend those still brave enough to work in nursing.

I would say to the general public one thing. Come and do a shift. Put a uniform on for a day and live it with us. See what it is like. I am not defending shabby care, hostility and I am not minimising the pain that bad care has caused to families. I feel ashamed that such cases have existed. But the general public just has to know how hard and almost inhuman it is to be asked to just keep going, like we are now asked to do in such work conditions. This is the vital message I want to convey to any reader out there.

Later this week: a summary of what has gone wrong, given what I have discussed here and what can be done now if at all?

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Author:

Committed to the education of children and the health and human rights of women and mankind. I also enjoy taking photographs and sometimes I write poetry.

6 thoughts on “The End Of My Nursing Days.

  1. Thank you very much indeed. The comment has only come up on my board today, so hence in the delay on replying.

  2. Many years are spent training nurses and indeed doctors enabling them to become wonderfully skilled professional clinicians …. And then we turn them into clerks. I managed district nurses and health visitors for a few years and saw so many great folks totally frustrated and burned out with paperwork – usually doing it in their own time at home – its management madness. You made the right decision I’m sure but it’s a shame that people like you feel forced to leave a profession in which you clearly have so much to offer. I left the NHS for similar reasons after 35 years and have never looked back with regret. I needed to get out and it was the best thing I ever did for my mental health.

  3. Thanks for these words Trevor and thanks a lot for following me with these blog posts. I wasn’t sure how it would all turn out or even what I would say but I have tried to encapsulate what the problems are in a nut shell over several days. I will be following up these posts but pressing matters have taken up by time since writing this last entry.

  4. I have been appalled to see the amount of paperwork nurses have to do. I wonder if any objective assessment has ever been made of whether it actually improves outcomes in any way. I wouldn’t like to be a nurse even for one day, I don’t think I could manage to do it at all.

  5. Sorry, I have not replied to you sooner. After these blogs were published I have not been on this site since for personal reasons. Thank you so much for your comments. I agree with an objective assessment about paper work. There are plenty of assessments regarding the stats of what the paper work says but to my knowledge no independent audit over the effective ness of the paper work itself. Good point.

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