Care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment. Do you recognise these values? I do, they are the values I witness my nursing colleagues display every day. They are the values that our NHS relies on to look after it’s most vulnerable patients. They are the values of my nursing colleagues.
How much are these values worth to you?
Let me tell you that from my point of view they are worth more than my job. They are the foundation on which every single bit of medical advice I dispense relies on. Without them, none of my work would matter. Without them very little I do could make a difference and without them the NHS would cease to be.
What do we say to the tens of thousands of young and mature students that wake up each day of their studies with the hope of carving out a career committing themselves to each of these six values? Do we say thank you, we know you are battling against staff shortages and increasing complexity of patients? Do we say we know that we are depending on you to deliver more specialist skills then every before? Do we say thank you for choosing to study something at university where you will give back to the tax payer, more than we could ever give you every single day of your working life? Do we say thank you for doing a course where you will be on placement carrying out up to 37.5 hours per week of actual work and care for patients on a daily basis? Do we say thank you for wanting to be an asset to our NHS?
Apparently what we will be saying is here are tens of thousands of pounds worth of student debt and next to no help with looking after yourself while you do this work for free. But don’t worry nurses because when you do graduate, we will put you on a starting salary that you probably didn’t need a degree to get in the first place. I for one will not stand by and let my nursing colleagues be subject to the same types of crippling student debt I took on to do medicine.
Care, compassion, competence, communication, courage, commitment. Say them in your head. Think of what sort of person it takes to want to be a professional who stands for those values. Remember who it is that is more likely to make an immediate difference to your loved one and how they feel in hospital, because I’m big enough to say that it isn’t me.
Today George Osborne announced that his Government will no longer be supporting a system of bursaries for student nurses. As a doctor I am saying no. This is not good enough for my colleagues. I hope you will join me.
Please sign the petition against this injustice here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/113491