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Comment

One nurse expressing irrational views can do great damage to public trust

Let’s remember our profession’s reputation when we tell the world what we think

Anti-vax (former) nurse Kate Shemirani has every right to believe the pandemic is a hoax, but when she speaks out on the issue she places the professions reputation in peril

Intelligent, responsible, gentle, wise this is an old friend of mine who is a passionate anti-vaxxer.

What she believes defies logic, but then she lives in an area where there has been very little COVID-19 infection, so has not been personally affected.

I still find her attitude baffling though.

She may be well-intentioned, but her assertions are false

Even more baffling is the case of nurse Kate Shemirani, who was recently struck off

Anti-vax (former) nurse Kate Shemirani has every right to believe the pandemic is a hoax, but when she speaks out on the issue she places the profession’s reputation in peril

Kate Shemirani, stethoscope draped around her neck, addresses a public demonstration Picture: Alamy

Intelligent, responsible, gentle, wise – this is an old friend of mine who is a passionate anti-vaxxer.

What she believes defies logic, but then she lives in an area where there has been very little COVID-19 infection, so has not been personally affected.

I still find her attitude baffling though.

She may be well-intentioned, but her assertions are false

Even more baffling is the case of nurse Kate Shemirani, who was recently struck off the Nursing and Midwifery Council register.

Ms Shemirani was spreading the word that the pandemic is a hoax, and that vaccination against coronavirus can cause us harm.

Of course, we are all entitled to our own opinions. Some people still think the earth is flat, and why shouldn’t they?

And not everyone who works in the NHS always toes the party line.

‘We can all believe in a lie and it’s human nature to do so occasionally, but Ms Shemirani is openly propagating her unfounded opinions in her capacity as a nurse, casting doubt over the integrity of her nursing and medical colleagues’

Abortion and euthanasia are issues about which – for now at any rate – we can still offer opposing opinions, based on our own ethical standards, and not be thought unreasonable.

As far as Ms Shemirani is concerned, though, we can be pretty sure her assertions, however well-intentioned, are false.

Run them past a friend’s son, a doctor in a London hospital, who witnessed 30 COVID-19 deaths over one night shift last winter.

Tell them to an ITU nurse I know, who had to choose between holding the hand of a dying patient (no family allowed) and helping with a critical new admission.

The decision she made will haunt her forever.

Our planet is a globe and there is a pandemic, simple as that.

Trust in the nursing profession was in danger of being undermined

The issue with this case is the damage it can cause.

Like my friend, Ms Shemirani is sincere, even though her lack of rationality is perplexing.

We can all believe in a lie and it’s human nature to do so occasionally, but she is openly propagating her unfounded opinions in her capacity as a nurse, and in doing so, casting doubt over the integrity of her nursing and medical colleagues.

In 2019, the public voted for the fourth year in a row, that nursing is the most-trusted profession.

Ms Shemirani was shooting that trust to pieces.

We still have freedom of belief in this country. If we are convinced that planet earth is shaped like a trapezium and that all orthopaedic surgeons are aliens in disguise, no one can stop us.

But we really should keep our views to ourselves.


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