The Government last month unveiled a new requirement that all trainee nurses should spend a year as a healthcare assistant, washing and feeding patients, prior to qualifying as a nurse. In response, Andrea Spyropoulos, the president of the Royal College of Nursing – the nurses’ union – said the idea was “stupid”.
Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, announced the measure after the damning report on the needless deaths of 1,200 patients at the hands of doctors and nurses at Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2009. Robert Francis QC in his report said patients were left to wallow in their own excrement and elderly men and women suffered terrible injuries as a result of their rough handling by nurses whilst others were left starving and thirsty, so much so that patients were forced to drink water from dirty vases to stay alive.
Mrs Spyropoulos added: “It is an unbelievable thing to introduce that takes nursing back a hundred years.”
This is another case of nurses believing they are “too posh to wash”. There was a time, in the last century Mrs Spyropoulos talks about, when nurses were mainly on the wards to wash and feed the patients: i.e. provide their basic needs. Now, nurses prance around in their scrubs (which means you can’t tell the difference between a nurse and a Consultant) like mini-doctors but without going through the work and effort studying and taking the same examinations as doctors.
As teachers seem to put the adults’ careers before the tuition of children, the RCN makes a good case for nurses putting themselves before the care of patients. In fact we have more than this evidence: read the Francis Report for the proof of “Nazi-style” treatment of patients at Stafford Hospital.
This all leads me to think if the nursing union is against the Government’s requirement for nurses to learn how to be compassionate and caring again then it must be a very good plan indeed. If a nurse doesn’t want to give an elderly man a bed bath, I suggest they find another profession.