Nurses on the Warpath?

By TP Saran

Hardly. But they have every reason to be concerned about their security at the workplace, especially in hospitals. There have been incidents the past when doctors were assaulted, most notoriously by late Sabapathee.

As usual, it takes years for the case to come to trial and for justice to be meted out. By then the damage has already been done and it is late to make amends. It is poor consolation to the health personnel, because whereas the actual incident gets excessive coverage, once the verdict is delivered, it only finds a tiny space in the newspapers. The effect is lost, and others feel emboldened to perpetrate further attacks.

In the recent case of aggression against nursing staff, this apparently took place in the wards, whereas before most of the incidents used to happen in the Casualty section of the hospital. There are complaints that the police officers posted there are often not to be found when they are called for help at the time of the incidents, and by the time they arrive it is already too late. Definitely this has got to be looked into, because if the staff feel at risk for their lives how are they going to take care of patients who are attending to save their own lives or to get relief from pain or whatever?

Further, the general atmosphere of confrontation that is aired in the public doesn’t help to lighten the situation. The recent issue concerning nurses has been the earlier opening hours at health centres for blood collection. The idea was welcomed by the nurses, and in fact it would appear that the nursing division promptly acted upon it to make all the necessary arrangements for the scheme to be successfully implemented. This has been done and there is overall satisfaction at the health centres.

What was resented by the nurses as a body was the manner in which this decision was forced upon them, without due consideration for the attendant issues. As a result, they have had to take legal action, and this has resulted in bad blood that could easily been avoided if only there was a will to listen on the part of the deciders.

That’s why the deciders must understand where their role begins and where it ends. Their job is to come up with fresh ideas. These must be bounced with the appropriate staff, examined from all possible angles with those in the know, who will then formulate the proposals in a standard format for easy comprehension by the deciders to whom the proposals are presented. At this stage, the decider/s may seek further information or clarification before choosing one of the proposals, and once this is done then assume the responsibility for the decision taken.

Simple commonsense – but apparently not so common…

* Published in print edition on 29 October 2010

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