"Those nurses who were caring, ..."

About: Clatterbridge Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

Those nurses who were caring, those who smiled and seemed interested, the night nurse with the sense of humour, the staff directly concerned with my prostate operation (Greenlight laser), the skill of the surgeon and anaesthetist, the good food, the atmosphere of cleanliness, the Healthcare assistants, the pleasant receptionist.

What could be improved

The first nurse I met insisted in addressing me as "darling" and "sweetheart" in strident tones which I began to find more and more condescending.

The second nurse I met gave an impression of being cold and uncaring; the day after my operation, I and the other patients almost missed breakfast

because it was served out of our line of sight and neither she nor anyone else bothered to tell us.

The third nurse introduced herself by making fun of my foreign surname and tried to embarrass me by pointing out that my gown was not completely fastened at the back. She said it was fortunate that at the time there were no other patients (in the all-male ward) who might have seen me. I had never actually been shown how to put on or fasten a hospital gown. This was just before I got onto the trolley to be taken for the operation, when I would have expected reassurance rather than a determination to find fault.

In the ante-room to the theatre, a nurse made a comment about my "bits" for reasons best known to herself.

Anything else?

Looking back, my conjecture is that some nurses either look at their work as just a job, without any sense of vocation, or as a means of acquiring a feeling of dominance over vulnerable patients by condescension, ridicule or looking to find fault. In striking contrast, there were about the same number of nurses who had very different personalities; they smiled readily, were caring and had a sense of humour.

I don't suppose Clatterbridge is necessarily worse than other hospitals in this way. The most important thing for me, the operation, went well.

Story from NHS Choices

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