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Nurses versus carers, inequal pay and prestige

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Why are nurses always put on a pedestal, and why do we as a society venerate nurses when others who work with the vulnerable such as carers or those working with children are not?  I realise the topic of this gripe and what I say may be controversial for some and will generate plenty of negative comments.

I'd just like to point out that my own work is with the so called vulnerable in society, both paid and unpaid, and that I work very hard in treating my clients with dignity and respect.  No huge amount of pay or prestige there, but nonetheless an important job too.

Some people would argue that nurses should be paid a higher salary, in London for example the average salary for a nurse may be around 30 thousand a year or more.  To me that sounds about right and it takes into account the cost of (London) living, also nurses are key workers' who are entitled to key worker housing.

A nurse giving someone an injection I have witnessed better customer care in a bank

There are some nurses who do an excellent job and deserve their reputation as part of the 'caring professions' others in my opinion need to improve on their customer service and how they deal with the public.  I have witnessed plenty of nurses who I would describe for want of a better word as lazy and apathetic with terrible communication skills.  I would even go as far as to say that I have witnessed better customer care in a bank.

I can give you specific examples of incidents that have made me wonder why have these nurses even joined the nursing profession.  Is it all just about the pay and prestige?  What do you think?

By: Funkg


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Helen

Helen

A lot of nonsense in some of these responses. I didn't qualify with a degree, but I've been a nurse for most of my adult life. I say 'most', because I was a care assistant for just over 2 years beforehand.

The two jobs are poles apart & that's why there's a difference in the pay. You can only believe it's the same if you've never trained as a nurse. If you look at what the hands do, it may be similar when the work is less skilled and doesn't need a knowledge base to make any safe or effective clinical judgement.

Nurses don't run a flag up when they're using their knowledge of human biology, disease, development, therapeutics and their side effects, making a risk assessment or using psychology to assess a patient. It's something to do with most of the profession being female - nobody thinks we think!

The care assistant doesn't have this knowledge base to underpin their actions. I know from my own experience that most of my job involved decent levels of hygiene, honesty, kindness and gentleness. I had to know how to do a set of tasks, but I didn't need to know why I did them or why they had to be done in any particular way.

Despite this, when I was a care assistant, I longed to earn the respect of my qualified colleagues by doing more technical work whenever I was allowed to do so. I was proud of what I did and did it as well as I knew how.

However, I got a small upgrade and moved my job to a less acute unit with elderly patients. In these wards, us care assistants were most of the workforce so we had to do more complex work. This included dressings and some palliative care. I did the best I could, but it seems that I was shown what to do, but not why I had to do it in a particular way.

The result was that me and my colleagues harmed our patients and made things worse for them, just because we didn't really understand what we were doing and its implications. It still haunts me years later, although the true fault lay with the managers and senior staff who expected us to take on work we weren't qualified to do.

Now I see other care assistants being placed in the same position as I was, happily taking on tasks for which they don't have the knowledge or understanding. It's clear they're feeling so proud of doing the best they could, without ever understanding how harmful their best really is for patients when they take on more than they should.

This isn't a popular point of view and people think I'm dissing care assistants. Why would I do that? I'd gain nothing from it and it's always easier to 'shut up and put up' rather than speaking an uncomfortable truth.

I feel I have to say these things because I know it's not safe for patients today any more than it was in the past. The only way I can atone for my own innocent mistakes is to warn others going the same way.
Helen
4th Dec 13 15:15

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Nick

Nick

While you say that think about this: how much do the doctors earn then? 5x nurses or 10x carers? There is no such thing as 'equality' in this world is there? It's all about whether you've got that fookin degree or not! I'm sorry but that's how this world works. The doctors may also complain about all those years going through medical school and that work is hard and that they are not making as much as the fookin bankers/lawyers/politicians. Since when do we have equality anywhere?
Nick
31st Oct 13 11:15

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Anonymous

Anonymous

I have been a nurse for over 17 years. I am glad to be out and was the single most greatest decision I ever made. I would not let my daughters go anywhere near nursing. I am tired of hearing nurses train to care for patients. Nurses have next to no time for real caring. I mean a bath, comfort, a chat, even wound dressings. It is so wrong to paint the Florence style image of nursing and that you work as a team. Nursing will and does destroy lives. 50 percent of nurses want out. If you do choose to be a nurse them remember my words. Before you decide breakdown a nurses day or night and look at the tasks, stress, staffing and resources and ask yourself how long can I keep this up because you make a mistake or even associated they will hang you out to dry.
Anonymous
16th Sep 13 17:16

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CommunityCarer

CommunityCarer

I must admit, i've been a Community Carer for 6yrs now and we work very well with the Local Nurses , probably because it is a small community and see eachother most days. Mind, truth be told, we have come across the odd Nurse/Doctor who looks at you stupidly when you mention symptoms of a Client/service user.. and you just want to say " i'm with this client/service user EVERY DAY.. i do KNOW that today they are not very well!!! "
CommunityCarer
7th Feb 13 16:39

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angry 101

angry 101

i am a care assistant in the UK and i work in a nursing home. its a disgrace, i do nightshift and i would be on a floor myself with one nurse at night. there are 19 patients on this floor and you cant really count the nurse as help because they sit there ignoring every thing going on around them unless someone is dying. one nurse even said to me one time ' i went to university to get a degree so i could sit around at my job'

the whole issuses need action to be taken against them... care assistants do more work in my view, how hard is it to push a few tablets in someones mouth eh nurses?
angry 101
12th Jun 12 16:15

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Me

Me

I am a care assistant and very often get 'put back in my box' by nurses. Comments like 'Huh, you're JUST a care assistant then' or 'Oh this patient is from a home, not surprised he's ended up in here then' As well as that care assistants are often vilified by the media and society.

I work under many of the same pressures as nurses. Low wage (no where near what a nurse earns), poor staffing levels, poor conditions, poor job benefits - the list goes on. I respect that nurses have trained for 3 years to achieve their initial qualification, and I also respect that they too get vilified by the media and society at times. But I have trained too - at my own expense. Nurses have their training free.

I have come across good and bad nurses, some who appreciate the job I do is essential, and some who don't and tar all care assistants with the same brush as being lazy, uneducated and know it alls. I am very well aware I am not a nurse but I do have skills and qualifications and feel these should be respected too. If it weren't for care assistants like me then the country would be looking after their own elderly family members at home instead of having jobs and lives of their own and visiting once a week!!
Me
3rd Apr 12 22:21

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why

why

Nurses are medically qualified. Carers are not.
why
20th Dec 11 20:10

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miserablemoaninggit

miserablemoaninggit

Any nurse who works 'an hour or two late each shift, without pay' is, quite frankly, rather stupid. If the paperwork could not be started due to high patient care demand, then that is a management issue and the nurses should insist that management do something about it, rather than ridiculously propping up a system that simply does not work if it demands unpaid overtime. Hospital managers are probably paid far more than nurses, and they will be aware of this practice, and even they are probably amazed that they are getting away with it. Nurses get paid too little as it is without unpaid overtime!
miserablemoaninggit
11th Dec 11 09:50

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Chris.

Chris.

NHS staff that genuinly couldn't care less and do get nasty or rude, assuming you were not rude to them first, should not be in the job.

The nurses I work with usually go home an hour or two late each shift, without pay because the paperwork they legally need to do, could not be started due to high patient care demand, during their shift.

I agree with opinions about this subject but all NHS staff should not be tarred with the same brush. Their are people out there like me, that give a damn.
Chris.
11th Dec 11 05:54

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Chris.

Chris.

I've worked in the NHS for 8 years now. I don't think for the past several years, nurses have had the time to stand around chatting, neglecting patients/visitors.

I know nurses CAN and often do appear either unhelpful or neglectful. This however, is usually a problem with the managment. Stupidly high targets and goals are set while staff numbers and budgets are slashed in a job that really does require more of the latter.

NHS staff no longer have the face time needed to have such a short time to complete their endless lists of duties. Yet it's one of the few roles nowadays where Jo public gets irrate and downright nasty if you don't drop everything you're clearly not doing to tend to their needs. Some times sitting around a computer desk can mean updating notes and talking just shows we're not robots as you clearly think we should be.

As for the real lazy nurses, I can only say I work in a team without them.
Chris.
11th Dec 11 05:38

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welcome to National Hell Servi

welcome to National Hell Servi

I meant to say nursing is now nondescript, not indescript.
welcome to National Hell Servi
26th Sep 11 23:28

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welcome to National Hell Servi

welcome to National Hell Servi

These days 'nurses' are your average healthcare assistants who haven't a clue what to do and half asleep on the job. Ask them a question and they'll give you a blank stare or mumble some incomprehensible comment. And where will you find the 'superior' nurses?....congregated by the nurses station chatting either loudly or quietly......and should you approach them for assistance, then be prepared to be ignored or given a stern stare. Nurses behave like they're doctors, only without comprehensive medical knowledge. Those that do have some knowledge aren't to be seen in the vicinity as they're holed up with the management! Nursing is not the caring profession anymore. It's indescript.
welcome to National Hell Servi
26th Sep 11 23:23

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RCN

RCN

You cant beat having the attention of a good nurse i say.
RCN
8th Sep 11 18:26

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Grumpy xx

Grumpy xx

I always thought nursing was about plumping up cushions, taking temperatures, emptying bedpans, and patting sweated brows, whilst sisters and matrons kept an eye on patients, supervised the nurses and took overall charge of the ward. I thought that medicine - from the simplest blood pressure test to performing open heart surgery - was really the business of doctors and surgeons. I guess I've watched too many carry on films. Now it seems that nurses don't want to nurse anymore.
Grumpy xx
4th Sep 11 01:09

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Mark

Mark

A bit off topic (kind of), but does anyone remember that drama that used to be on years ago called Angels? Interesting that nurses are associated with Angels I thought.
Mark
3rd Sep 11 09:46

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