O Nightingale, ye come fresh-faced wide-eyed,
qualified to offer care, tend the sick,
but find forms to be filled, boxes to tick,
wards short-staffed over-stretched thus care denied.
Hush now, do not speak out for woe betide
those who whistleblow stir staff politics,
bear bullying, a raft of dirty tricks,
face a culture of fear as standards slide.
Principles stopped, burnout a means to cope
distance your self from your own sad despair,
demoralised fall the slippery slope,
accept management fiscal doctrinaire;
no longer fight for there is naught of hope,
the only way to cope is no longer care.
The above is (very) loosely based on
Sonnet 1: To A Nightingale and it came to mind (thanks to Sam at dVerse) as I
was attempting to compose a post re safe (nurse) staffing ratios here in the . UK
For those of you who do not know of the grisly tale of Mid Staffs Hospital read some of the details here (The Final Report of Robert Francis’s Inquiry Into Care Provided…) and learn how
“The Inquiry found that a chronic shortage of staff, particularly nursing staff, was largely responsible for the substandard care. Morale at the Trust was low, and while many staff did their best in difficult circumstances, others showed a disturbing lack of compassion towards their patients. Staff who spoke out felt ignored and there is strong evidence that many were deterred from doing so through fear and bullying” and
"It is now clear that some staff did express concern about the standard of care being provided to patients. The tragedy was that they were ignored and worse still others were discouraged from speaking out."
It is of great concern that those in management (at that time) have not had much blame laid at their door or indeed appears to have suffered any penalties, instead being promoted to other positions of ‘trust’ – read of it here at The Cockroach Catcher blog ( who muses “Did things just happen or was there a master plan?”)
Does management no longer lead by example...or perhaps they were at Mid Staffs...?
However our dear health secretary Jeremy Hunt (or something that rhymes with Hunt?) has decided much of the blame lies at the door of nurses and training to care is imperative… (Although I accept that some who have chosen nursing as a career are (by their very nature ) not very nice (and would have flourished at Mid Staffs) it is my contention that burnout was a major factor.)
Do you know that there are 17 other English hospitals with unsafe staffing levels – do you care? Do you know that since May 2010 there are nearly 5000 more doctors and nearly 900 more midwives – but 7000 less nurses – do you care?
IF YOU DO CARE AND WANT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT – PLEASE SIGN THIS ePETITION CALLING FOR MINIMUM (SAFE) STAFF NURSE LEVELS. PLEASE DO - OR ANOTHER MID STAFFS MIGHT HAPPEN AND MIGHT BE HAPPENING NOW…
With thanks to Sam at dVerse for the poetic inspiration. Thanks again Sam!
Image: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Author: Duyckinick, Evert A.