Overweight nurses and stressed doctors

The issue of overweight nurses and the fact they differ from doctors who apparently lose weight under the stress (not always!) is missing the point, (Letters Dec 6). Besides the fact that nurses are often older and have domestic responsibilities meaning they cannot go out for a run after a long shift, the fact is that the conditions for almost anyone in a NHS hospital are dire and everyone is stressed and overworked. The shift patterns are appalling. Nobody should be working more than eight hours at a stretch; it is deliberately paying for poor performance. There is no slack in the system; in a an emergency nurses having already worked twelve hours cannot be expected to stay on longer and there is no handover time.

By creating these conditions, recruitment is down and staff are not retained; there is far too much churn. Good departments are created over months and years and need stability of personnel on whom they can rely. Many doctors and nurses prefer to work for an agency or as locums to get a better work-life balance. This is expensive and not in the interests of hard-pressed departments and patients.

There are many changes required in the NHS but shift patterns are the first thing that should be radically improved. No patient wants to be seen by an exhausted doctor or nurse at the end of an unreasonably long shift. It is not surprising that nurses reach for a chocolate bar as a quick energy boost to get them through the last two hours of an overlong day or night.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 12th, 2018 at 1:19 pm and is filed under NHS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.