Tuesday, August 29, 2006

There is just not enough time

I know that this is really a blog about my time in Cameroon but I had to comment on this. Everyday I look at the BBC news website to keep in touch with news at home. On the front page today is this story about nurses monitoring patient food intake. Although currently my life is really detached from this I am a ward nurse at heart. The story mostly talks about the effects of malnutrition and as a surgical nurse I agree that diet is a very important part of the healing process, especially of wounds. However blaming nurses for the problem of malnutrition I do not think is fair.

Meal times always coincide with drug times. Its a difficult question. Whats more important, drugs or food? However only the qualified nurses can give out the drugs. There are housekeepers and health care assistant to help with meal times. It is not as if nurses already have enough to do. We basically do everything for our patients. It is not as if we just have one patient to look after, usually its six. That's alot of drugs to do, alot of doctors orders to fulfil, alot of phone calls to take and alot of food to monitor. That's not including the trips off the ward to theatre, endoscopy etc. Oh and on a 14 hour shift we need to eat too!! So yes nurses are too busy to monitor food intake. We are busy looking after the patients. We need help from others. Do not blame us for the problem of malnutrition. We have enough to worry about.


KT Lindsay said...

I read that article this morning and thought of you. Totally agree with what you say. Not enough staff, not enough patient care - surely it's that simple?

Clare said...

I don't see why a majority of patients can't do their own drugs - they do at home. One drug round in the morning, with a few simple instructions would be fine for most patients. All to often its assumed that a patient can't do anything for themselves - sick role and all that... More time could then be spent with the properly poorly ones to make sure they're getting what they need. All too often i've seen patients struggling to eat a little bit and barely sip their tea before someone whips it away from them to clear up.

Hev said...

I agree with self medication, if only the trust would allow it. The problem comes with IV abs and the tube fed drugs, they take ages to mix. A lot of the problem lies with the catering staff as you say Clare whipping away the tea before it is cold enough to drink. More staff is needed to ensure each patient gets what they need.