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Only a bully would demand more productivity from nurses

Anyone naive enough to think nurses might get a meaningful pay rise will have been brought down to earth by the proposed link to ‘productivity’, which in a nursing context can mean anything, says Jane Bates

Anyone naive enough to think nurses might get a meaningful pay rise will have been brought down to earth by the proposed link to ‘productivity’, which in a nursing context can mean anything, says Jane Bates


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‘They used to have ward orderlies to do that,’ said a patient, as I handed out the teas. She was alluding to a bygone era of course, when nurses were just nursing rather than doing everyone else’s jobs as well.

We have somehow ended up doubling as doctors, ward clerks, porters… and tea ladies. This is alongside our own duties, yet it’s not like we’re getting any extra pay – far from it.

If any of us were naive enough to think that the intimations of a pay rise would actually deliver something meaningful, then the proposed link to ‘productivity’ will have knocked those hopes firmly on the head.

They have us over a barrel

But how could we do more? ‘Run along now, nurse, there’s an autopsy waiting for you in the mortuary and you haven’t even started cooking the patients’ lunch yet. Those potatoes won’t peel themselves, you know…

‘What do you mean, you have two critical patients arriving from A&E and you are the only qualified nurse over several wards? Here you are, whinging again. No pay rise for you until you learn to be better organised. Off you go and install the new trust-wide IT system and be grateful the NHS condescends to employ you.’

They have us over a barrel when they talk of ‘productivity’. In a nursing context, it is a throwaway word, as ‘productivity’ can mean what you want it to mean.

This is yet another bullying tactic. How much more are nurses expected to put up with before we all take our skills elsewhere? At least I could apply to be a tea lady – I have plenty of experience.


Jane Bates is an ophthalmic nurse in Hampshire 

 

 

 

 

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