Comment

‘This is no dream world’

It is not all as grim as a disheartened student might think, writes Richard Henry
Dream world

One of my students presented her beautifully crafted, articulate and passionate argument people like you, she said, are living in a dream world.

You continually discuss and write about the potential of cancer nursing, building and sustaining therapeutic relationships, and advancing practice and holistic care. It all sounds great but far removed from the reality of most nurses working lives, she maintained.

Lets face it, she said, the state of health care is grim and the possibilities for nursing are dire. She demanded to know which trusts are not close to the point of collapse because of nursing shortages. How many of these trusts, she asked, are scouring the world for nursing talent?

Bleak picture

She pointed to the EU referendum and its ugly rants about immigration and unscrupulous use of the NHS. The advent of loans for nursing students will only dishearten the most talented

...

One of my students presented her beautifully crafted, articulate and passionate argument – people like you, she said, are living in a dream world.

You continually discuss and write about the potential of cancer nursing, building and sustaining therapeutic relationships, and advancing practice and holistic care. It all sounds great but far removed from the reality of most nurses’ working lives, she maintained.

Let’s face it, she said, the state of health care is grim and the possibilities for nursing are dire. She demanded to know which trusts are not close to the point of collapse because of nursing shortages. How many of these trusts, she asked, are scouring the world for nursing talent?

Bleak picture

She pointed to the EU referendum and its ugly rants about immigration and unscrupulous use of the NHS. The advent of loans for nursing students will only dishearten the most talented and able recruits, she went on, while arguably, in the post‑Francis era, nursing is in danger of losing public confidence.

It is sad that a young nurse has such pessimism and there is a real danger that nursing might allow itself to be overwhelmed by relentless bad news.

It is equally important, however, to remember that there is still much to celebrate in nursing.

Extending boundaries

There are countless examples of dedicated professionals striving to maintain high quality services and many others extending the boundaries of practice.

This is particularly the case in oncology, where nursing is continually adapting to changes in treatment delivery and provision of care.

It is worth reflecting that nurses have never been as well educated as they are today, nor so highly skilled and certainly not so empowered.

This translates into much more effective and efficacious treatment and care. This is no dream world – this is reality and we should be proud of it.

Richard Henry is UK Oncology Nursing Society president elect @diggerhenry

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