Your views

Readers’ panel: Is the emotional toll on nurses who have to deliver sub-optimal care being overlooked?

RCN chief executive Janet Davies has said nurses are at ‘breaking point’, with frontline staff being told to discharge patients before they are ready, just to free up beds. Nursing Standard readers’ panellists discuss the emotional impact of this on nursing staff.
Stressed nurse

RCN chief executive Janet Davies has said nurses are at breaking point, with frontline staff being told to discharge patients before they are ready, just to free up beds. Nursing Standard readers panellists discuss the emotional impact of this on nursing staff

Rachel Kent is a mental health nurse in London

I see stories all the time about over-stretched and demoralised NHS nurses, and I dont think the impact of this is being overlooked. What is being neglected, however, is the support given to nurses during these stressful times. I am fortunate to have a strong, resilient team around me who pull together when one of us begins to struggle. We manage the stressors as best we can while delivering the best care we can, and try not

...

RCN chief executive Janet Davies has said nurses are at ‘breaking point’, with frontline staff being told to discharge patients before they are ready, just to free up beds. Nursing Standard readers’ panellists discuss the emotional impact of this on nursing staff 


The pressures of work are creating emotional strain for some nurses. Picture: iStock

Rachel Kent is a mental health nurse in London 

Rachel Kent

I see stories all the time about over-stretched and demoralised NHS nurses, and I don’t think the impact of this is being overlooked. What is being neglected, however, is the support given to nurses during these stressful times. I am fortunate to have a strong, resilient team around me who pull together when one of us begins to struggle. We manage the stressors as best we can while delivering the best care we can, and try not to take it personally when we cannot do more. 

 

Jane Scullion is a respiratory nurse consultant in Leicester 
@JaneScullion 

Jane Scullion

The emotional strain nurses are under due to the relentless pressures of work can be difficult to ascertain. We are good at smiling in public and crying in private; that is what nurses do. Then we take early retirement, or we leave the NHS and look for alternative employment with better pay and conditions. The nursing shortage says more about emotional strain than anything else. Not caring for the carers has little impact until there are no carers left. 

 

Steve Flatt is director of the Psychological Therapies Unit in Liverpool 

I wonder if politicians would be prepared to open their constituency surgeries longer and stack their visitors 30 deep in the corridor? If they were overloaded in this way – running themselves ragged, unable to concentrate on one matter for any length of time – they would soon be complaining and asking for more money and resources. Illness is seen as a weakness in our society, and the inability to cope as a health professional is considered a failure. Inevitably, those who serve will break too. 

 

Jane Brown is a quality governance manager in Worcestershire 

Jane Brown

The burden of this year’s unprecedented winter pressures has been felt by all staff, including nurses. Many patients cannot be safely discharged from hospital because of a lack of community provision, meaning no beds are available for patients who need them. Trusts need to support all staff working in these difficult circumstances, and plans must be put in place to ensure there are enough staff in the community to support patients being discharged, and enough GPs to enable better access to primary care services. 


Readers' panel members give their views in a personal capacity only 

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs