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Jane Bates: Speak out if you see patients being treated insensitively

Accuse me of interfering if you must, but I won’t stand by and watch patients be treated unkindly, says Jane Bates.
speak

Accuse me of interfering if you must, but I wont stand by and watch patients be treated unkindly, says Jane Bates

Im often told not to interfere, so have learned to rein myself in. But sometimes

A friend, a retired health professional, has just broken her hip in an accident. She lives alone and is usually very active, supporting local charities and elderly neighbours. Suddenly she is the one who is dependent and on the receiving end of NHS care, and it is very difficult.

Her nursing care has been exemplary, but others involved in her treatment have not been so kind, not appreciating her vulnerability. While she was trying her best to mobilise, she felt they harassed her about her slow progress and for her high degree

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Accuse me of interfering if you must, but I won’t stand by and watch patients be treated unkindly, says Jane Bates 

speak
Nurses should speak out if they think a patient is being treated insensitively.
Picture: iStock

I’m often told not to ‘interfere’, so have learned to rein myself in. But sometimes…

A friend, a retired health professional, has just broken her hip in an accident. She lives alone and is usually very active, supporting local charities and elderly neighbours. Suddenly she is the one who is dependent and on the receiving end of NHS care, and it is very difficult. 

Her nursing care has been exemplary, but others involved in her treatment have not been so kind, not appreciating her vulnerability. While she was trying her best to mobilise, she felt they harassed her about her slow progress and for her high degree of anxiety, which impeded her rehabilitation.  

Feeling secure

But hang on a moment. She is still in shock after the accident and has no family support, so her future is looking frightening. And then there is the issue of pain – it is under control now but it has been horrendous. 

Suppose she falls while remobilising? That would mean more pain, more disability and delayed independence. The priority, surely, is to encourage her and make her feel secure. Anxiety, as all nurses know, only makes the uphill path to recovery even harder to navigate.  

Thank goodness the nursing staff were compassionate and imaginative in the care they gave her. This is where we can lead by example, and also where we must be bold enough to speak out when we see a patient being treated insensitively. Interfering, yes, but for the very best reasons.


Jane Bates is an ophthalmology nurse in Hampshire 

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