When I began my nursing training in Tasmania in 1986, nurses did what nurses did. Look after patients. By the time that I had reached the third year of my training, some bright spark in a position of power decided that nurses should be called ‘health professionals.’ Right there and then I saw the writing on the wall. I was right.
Before too long nurses were forced to not only write in different formats but also had to attend to newly introduced pointless and time consuming documents. The patient was at the receiving end of this as nurses were distracted from direct patient care by this paperwork.
There was also the introduction of new and needless legislation. Nurses were spending more time being paranoid and watching their every move for fear of needless retribution.
I, along with other nurses, noticed a marked increase in middle-management. Where these people came from or what they actually actually did. I recall an incident where one of these ‘mystery people’ came to the ward wielding a clipboard s if it was some status symbol. She left it sitting unattended on the nurses station. As I walked past it I couldn’t help but glance at the document that it contained. The document was upside down. That’s how important she was (!).
Several years later I became a charge nurse at a nursing home for the aged. After several weeks in the position I knew that the position was not for me. My main role was to ensure that documentation was maintained to such a standard that maximum funding would be obtained for each resident. I had practically no direct patient contact. The other ‘signal’ to me that the position wasn’t for me was when the board of the facility wanted to call patients ‘consumers.’ I soon put a stop to that.
After twelve months as charge nurse I resigned and went on to work night-shift where I could again partake in direct patient contact. The reason that I became a nurse in the first place.
The moral that I hope to get across from this brief entry is ‘let nurses do what they do.’