Tuesday, 26 March 2013

A thought

So, nurses are to be forced to spend a year wiping bottoms so that we can make sure that they are suitably caring people to become nurses.

I can see the sentiment, and agree with it.  But the means seems to be a little obtuse.  Is that the only way of making sure that someone is a caring person?  Can we not, perhaps, watch them in action for a while to make sure?  Do we need to take (ex hypothesi) skilled and intelligent people and make them waste a year of their time proving a point, when they could be doing something more valuable instead?

And where does the precedent take us?  Doctors work alongside nurses in delivering care, I am told.  So why not make them work as a healthcare assistant for a year before starting their medical degree?

I hear also that the working conditions in the Mid Staffs NHS Trust were unconducive to staff who wanted to warn management about problems.  Obviously the NHS managers did not care adequately about the patients.  Should they have spent a year working as a healthcare assistant first?  Surely, what is good for the nurses is good for all the other hospital staff first.

And what of the Minister for Health?  With responsibility for so many caring professionals, with oversight of the system for caring for the entire UK population,... well, the logic is inescapable.

And one last, quiet worry.  What about the healthcare assistants?  If the nurses are too posh to wash because they were never healthcare assistants, what does that say that we think the healthcare assistants are?

Sunday, 10 March 2013

RIP my Mum

As the phrase goes, her long battle with cancer ended today, Mothers' Day, leaving her now in peace. But there was so much more to her life than the way it ended. A dedicated primary school teacher of the (literally) old school who believed in imparting knowledge to children and ensuring that they could all read, write and add up, she also embraced what were then new methods to ensure that this process was done gently and kindly - with the child running alongside rather than dragged behind.

At home, she brought up three children who knew that help with schoolwork would always be available, and that the suffix "It's for school" would guarantee a positive response to any "Can I..." question. To say we had an educational springboard is beyond understatement. And it worked, too; all three of us are graduates, and are now a patent attorney, a consultant radiologist, and a journalist. She was proud, and she made sure that we knew she was.

Warm and affectionate, she made our home into the safe refuge from the outside world that it should be. As a family, we were always slightly different, slightly out of place, and the security of home that she created for us was a source of strength.

She really did fight the cancer that eventually took her. She also kept her sense of humour to the end, teasing all three of us in different ways. We were blessed with over a week's warning of the end, and were able to use that, to gather, and to say goodbye. There were moments of wit that week that were uniquely her; I will not forget them.

Bye Mum xx