They’re Killing Sister George.. And others too

District nurses will disappear by 2025, says Royal College of Nursing

This was a headline in the press this week, and a friend of mine had been contacted by The Guardian to write an article on it. She had been a District Nurse in the past, with some amazing stories to tell… and a real passion for her job.

Now, I’ve never been a District (or Community, as they’re known now) Nurse. But did have responsibility for them at one point when I was  Matron (of the Modern variety) at a Community Hospital.  And what a pleasure it was to work with them.

Not for them the comforts and safety of  a nice neat and fully equipped hospital ward.. With treatment rooms and trolleys. All dressings and other necessities at hand .

No, in the community (District) they had no idea what they would face when they made their visits.  I only did a few, but had enough trouble actually finding them let alone maintaining a sterile and clean environment when carrying out treatments!

Those of you who know me, know I trained in the dark ages, and have worked for NHS for a hundred years ! And during those years I have seen many changes.. Some good. Some not so. I blogged about my experiences of coming to a Community Hospital a couple of years ago. May dig it out again!!

Anyway,when you’ve been there long enough you even get to see them revert to the things and ways that had been discarded in the past as being outdated and inefficient…..bit like clothes really. Keep them for 7 years and they come back into fashion!!

 

As well changes to patient care, organisations, training etc etc  I have also seen whole hospitals disappear

 

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This  fabulous building was the main hospital in the city. It was where I had my first terrifying interview, and where I spent a very happy 2 years until they closed the doors and moved us all to the concrete monster that was all the rage in the 70’s

It was purchased by developers and is now “luxury apartments”  with the old board room now a trendy restaurant and cocktail bar 

 

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This beautiful hospital building was the my first training hospital. So  many happy memories.

Now, it’s this…….

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yep, that’s right. A housing estate and office facilities

 

And this one….once a bustling ophthalmic hospital ( which admittedly , we all prayed we wouldn’t be sent to!)

 

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You guessed!  another chic hotel, with a bridal suite that used to be the operating theatre. Complete with the  original  wooden door.

 

You seeing a theme here?  And that’s just one city.

But along with buildings disappearing there have been so many other things including

Individual hospital uniforms, which we all wore with such pride

Enrolled Nurses, a whole tier of wonderful nurses. Now, I’m not saying that nursing shouldn’t be recognised as a ‘proper’ profession, but perhaps making it  ‘degree  only’ has closed to the door to some who would not want to undertake the academic programme, but would make brilliant nurses

Numerous beds in Community Hospitals, putting extreme pressure on Acute units… and leaving staff sad and demoralised

The reduction of Nurse Training places, based on a 5 year prediction, which now sees us with a shortfall of trained nurses, both in hosptials and communities

The list goes on and on, infact I’ve forgotten many of them

Of course, some changes have been great, and beneficial to patients and staff alike

The  massive swing from task orientated working to a holistic, patient centred approach, although I’m not sure we’ve got it quite right in all cases.

The acknowledgement of the skills and knowledge of unqualified staff, and a pathway to enable them to progress further than they ever would have been able to before

Life long learning, and ensuring that all staff maintain their competencies…though hands up who loves E-learning???

Patient choice as to where to access the best apartment, when it works!

I am proud of my contribution to the NHS over the years. Hopefully I have made a difference to the experience of the patients, and their families. And to the people I have worked with ( I know that sounds a like a cliche, it’s not meant to)

I no longer work full-time in healthcare, but hope I can continue to make people’s contact with hospitals and other care environments a positive and pleasant (well, as pleasant as is possible when faced with illness or surgery) both as a clinician and educator

 

And please, lets not lose any more essential and amazing nursing groups