Time to reinstate ward matron role
AS a former researcher, I share Martin Kirby's doubts about the results of surveys conducted to show how patients feel about the NHS, (The Citizen, August 2), "What we need is matrons".
Unfortunately, unless surveys are very rigorously conducted and to include a big enough sample, they tend to show what you want them to, or reveal the obvious that is information already in the public domain.
Yes of course, as Martin said, people do feel different on different days and again of course, the NHS will tend to perform better at certain times than others. So what is trying to be measured in this case is neither a fixed nor static entity but something that naturally varies day by day according to all the variables involved.
Far better to reinstate the culture of nursing discipline that is exemplified by the idea of the Nursing Matron role. Classically, matrons were terrifying bosses of their wards, their staff, and their patients. Nonetheless, the job of looking after patients got done to high standards and no nonsense from anyone was ever allowed to get in the way.
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This kind of hierarchy, with the matron at the top of the nursing tree, seemed to go out of fashion for quite some time. But there is no reason why it should not be reinstated. In fact, I do know of some hospitals where it has been.
I got myself into some hot water in a different part of the country some years ago when I questioned the emphasis of some full colour prospectuses published in order to encourage new nursing recruits. From what I could see then there was a danger of implying a nursing-related career was, "somehow cool and on-message".
Surely the truth about nursing is a million miles away from this. It is tough, demanding and often physical work. It is also subject to all the pressures and expectations that we have of nursing today. It all simply become much easier all round if a technically rigorous approach to nursing could be reinstated alongside the understanding that the ward matron is boss, and also alongside the idea that caring and kindness really matter when patients are at their lowest ebb physically and emotionally when confined to hospital.