Friday, May 14, 2010

Nursing by numbers

Once upon a time we had a really good relationship with our nursing team - we were an equal part of it and any issues got sorted out informally. But now everything has to be recorded and be seen to be done 'right'. We have to have written protocols for everything - even cutting his toenails. I know we don't like it, I'm fairly certain the nurses don't like it and I'm not even sure the managers like it. I know it's well meaning and supposed to ensure that mistakes don't get made but it actually feels more like it's there to protect the authorities from being sued than for giving my son a better service. The nurses can no longer use any discretion and seem terrified that doing anything outside the written protocols, even if it's in his best interest, could lose them their nursing PIN number. The result is they have to get someone else - usually us - to 'sign off' any departure. He gets a less responsive service, the nurses are unhappy and feel devalued, and we have to take responsibility for everything - even sometimes things we're not happy with because the alternative is worse. I'm not sure who really benefits from this litigation/blame culture but I do know it's a real step backwards and discourages people from 'caring' in the simplest form of the word.

'I was only following orders' is generally accepted as a discredited excuse. 'I was only following the protocols' needs to go the same way.

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