Nurses: Not So Hot on British Wards

By Cooper, Glenda | New Statesman (1996), March 15, 2004 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Nurses: Not So Hot on British Wards

Cooper, Glenda, New Statesman (1996)

Fabulous pay rates. Generous cash bonuses. Access to the latest technology. The chance to enjoy world-class skiing, tuck into exotic foods or just enjoy a romantic walk along a beach at sunset. Welcome to the new career structure for the British nurse.

Sadly, it is not in the NHS. It's offered through proliferating recruitment web-sites such as or the interestingly named Hawaii, Florida and San Francisco are the enticing replacements for Huddersfield, Faversham and Southampton.

The promises seem to be working. The latest figures reveal that the number of UK nurses who leave to work abroad has risen by a third. The number going to the US has doubled in a year.

Who can blame them? Here, they get vomit-strewn wards, violent patients and assurances from the Royal College of Nursing that the new Channel 4 drama No Angels represents just "a missed opportunity to tell people the truth about nursing". The RCN doesn't seem to understand that if nurses aren't having fun shagging in linen cupboards, spiking doctors' drinks and running rings around the patients, then it will be hard to attract anybody to the job.

The government has made efforts. The NHS has recruited 55,000 extra nurses since 1997. And, last year, nine out of ten nurses voted for the new NHS pay system, terms and conditions known as Agenda for Change, with a 16 per cent pay rise over three years. Yet the NHS still needs to find 35,000 more nurses during the next five years--while at the same time a quarter of the workforce is due to retire, and up to one in five nurses drops out before the end of training.

Speak to those who've gone into nursing, and their enthusiasm shines through. "Tell me, in what other job could you look after a professor and a prostitute on the same day," said one imaginative recruit.

But the RCN claims that nursing is still seen too often as a low-status, "doctor's little helper" job, with dreadful shift patterns.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Nurses: Not So Hot on British Wards


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?