Getting nursing back to basics
I have been a registered nurse for more than 30 years.
Working on the wards has become a ‘tick the box’ exercise, with management putting greater emphasis on assessments and ticking of boxes, rather than on nurses taking the time to ensure patients receive the right level of care.
It saddens me to think that nursing has become an assessment, computer-driven and productivity-orientated profession. This is all while patients lie in a bed, often with missed care. To be told “he had a wash and bed change yesterday, so he will be okay today” is simply not good enough in my book.
I have also experienced scenarios where a patient has missed a meal due to nursing staff being too busy to feed them. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs puts food and water as a basic need, but due to staff shortages, patients are not receiving this fundamental care.
I feel the time has come for nursing to get back to basics. In doing this, we would be checking patients for pressure injuries, asking about their pain, monitoring their bowels, and listening to their chests. This all prevents issues that arise from patients being left in bed with a lack of care interventions.
While we wait for ratios to be implemented and staffing numbers to improve, we must try to remember to curb our over-reliance on technology and get back to the basics of nursing care: talking to our patients.
Siobhan Mills, CNS