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Letters

We welcome all readers’ letters, but reserve the right to edit them or withhold names and addresses. Please email: letters@rcnpublishing.co.uk

Please keep letters to a maximum of 150 words, and include your full name, address and a daytime telephone number

Employers are right: nurses should use Facebook and Twitter at work
It is great to see employers in the NHS giving clear advice and outlining the benefits of using Facebook and Twitter (news January 23). The social media guidance from   NHS Employers is a long-awaited  document that encourages a common  sense approach to its use. Social media have helped me progress  from professional isolation working as an  agency nurse to being the most informed  and supported I have ever been in my  career – I believe firmly that its use  should be encouraged.  As a social media specialist and  founder of We Nurses, I agree with  Dean Royles, director of NHS Employers,  when he says: ‘Social media can be an  important barometer of emerging issues,  opinions, concerns and we have a duty   to get involved and listen.’  People are talking, engaging and  supporting one another via social media.  We nurses need to be aware of this and  engage in this social age. 
Teresa Chinn, by email

hUmAN bANDwIDTh IS AN ASSET To bE TREASURED, NoT bURIED Invited to talk at a recent event about social media in health care (news January 23), I was struck by its rapid progression as a means of addressing health-related issues. Examples from clinical practice, training and research were shared that show how we have progressed in terms of engagement with our colleagues, staff and patients. The future of health care is staring us in the face and it is essential that we equip our staff to be able to operate safely with people where they are – online. Many trusts still take a ‘risk reduction by elimination’ approach to social media. During my talk, more 30  january 30 :: vol 27 no 22 :: 2013 

than half the attendees informed me that their trusts block staff from some, if not all, social media sites. Such organisations are choosing to take their most powerful asset – their human bandwidth – offline. I am by no means dismissing the risks associated with the use of social media. But training and raising awareness of good practice can reduce such risks. I would urge anyone interested in social media to join the weekly NHS social media chat (#nhssm), We Nurses (#WeNurses) and Nursing Standard comment (#NScomment).
Sarah Amani, by email (www.sarahamani.com)

SAvIlE wAS UNIvERSAlly loAThED by STokE mANDEvIllE STAFF You report that the late broadcaster Jimmy Savile committed 22 offences

at Stoke Mandeville Hospital between 1965 and 1988 (news January 23). I was a staff nurse on the intensive care unit (ICU) at Stoke Mandeville from 1979/80. At that time, the public perception of Savile was of an outstanding charity worker, who was so dedicated to the care of patients that he performed menial tasks around the hospital at any hour of the day or night. It came as a considerable shock to hear from my colleagues at the time that he was universally loathed by the nursing staff of the hospital. Female nurses were disgusted by his kissing and groping actions under the guise of ‘old-fashioned chivalry’. They also hated his frequent attempts to persuade them to join him in his motor caravan. There was particular concern about his activities as a hospital night porter. The entrance to the ICU could not be seen from the unit

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itself, so when a night shift porter was bleeped to collect a specimen for the laboratory, it was the custom for a male nurse to be asked to hand it over, in case the porter was Savile. I would stress that while Savile’s lecherous actions towards adult female nurses were the source of frequent comment in the hospital, I cannot recall having heard any reference made to the abuse of patients or children.
John Adams, by email

hAvING ThE RIGhT NURSING vAlUES GoES bEyoND AN AcADEmIc TEST Jennifer Sprinks reveals a growing trend for universities to test the compassion and values of prospective nursing students (analysis January 23). Organising scenarios to demonstrate care and compassion is similar to putting people through an academic exam. As in any exam, prospective students will know what they need to do to achieve a good result, but may ignore or forget most of the content after the exam or rehearsed demonstration. The values underpinning care are what count. When interviewing prospective students, these values need to be assessed, rather than their ability to demonstrate or act. High nursing values and compassion complement one another. Without values, the care, compassion and empathy cannot be nurtured. In my placements as a nursing student, and in my previous work as a healthcare assistant, I have seen a huge variation in values among healthcare professionals. Everyone needs to be aware of their role in ensuring high-quality patient care, rather than simply knowing what they need to do to ensure they stay on their course or keep their job.
Lizzy Glackin, by email

A thirst for knowledge led me to undertake nurse training. As a nursing student on my first day on the ward, I felt fully prepared and got stuck in. I will always remember a young woman from my course who had never set foot on a ward before. She was like a rabbit caught in the headlights. When asked to assist with hygiene, she was lost. Along with about a third of my cohort, she did not complete the course. My experience as an HCA was invaluable and is something I still draw on now, especially when providing direct care. If the education programme included a year of ward-based experience as a paid HCA, valuable skills would be learnt and experience gained. Attrition rates would be reduced and trainees would have a greater understanding of what care is all about and what is expected of them. There were times during my training when I was envious of the HCAs I worked with and the amount of time they had to spend with patients. Nurses’ extra responsibilities away from the bedside mean we have less time to provide direct care. This has made me more appreciative of the time I do spend with patients, and I always use this time effectively.
Emily Hards, Leeds

TWEETS OF THE WEEK
Just watched ‘Nursing the Nation’. The midwife and community nurse were both a credit to the professions. So good to see.
@MHaytersheff

Just done my first successful cannula. Nothing can bring me down today. COME AT ME, BRO.
@Laursiepops

I’ve never met a student who didn’t have compassion but I’ve met nurses who don’t. Compassion fatigue?
@mikkywatt

Compassion fatigue part of emotional consequence of nursing? Refreshers and clinical supervision would help
@TomBolger

I have met many many many compassionate nurses. Let us put things in perspective
@lucbe

my TImE AS A hEAlThcARE ASSISTANT pREpARED mE FoR NURSE TRAINING Unsure about what career to pursue at the age of 19, I discovered health care and spent two happy years working as a healthcare assistant (HCA).

pATIENTS wITh copD NEED ThE SkIllS oF ADvANcED NURSE pRAcTITIoNERS It was with interest that I read Gerri Kaufman’s article on the diagnosis and management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (art&science January 23). COPD is a major cause of morbidity and mortality, yet it remains under-researched. It is, however, an area of practice in which advanced nurse practitioners can make a significant contribution. From diagnosis to end of life care, people who live with conditions such as COPD need the advanced clinical skills that experienced, well-trained nurses can provide, as well as the 

Asked for a home visit for son. Surgery don’t do home visits for children so now I have to try and get him there!
@nursemaiden

Kindles make a night shift pass that little bit quicker... Definitely need more sleep though, hardest shift ever worked? #SickKids #Drained
@BexiAddz

Follow Nursing Standard @NScomment and join the #NScomment chat on Thursdays at 12.30pm
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lETTERS

obituary
 basic skills at the core of nursing. Patients with COPD need expert clinicians who can solve problems, prescribe where necessary, be alert to differential diagnoses, refer when appropriate and who are able to address the breadth of concerns faced by patients with such a complex condition. They also need compassionate practitioners who can listen effectively, work with families and liaise with community respiratory teams, social services and palliative care teams. This article provides a sound introduction to COPD and its management. Nurses who are interested in this disease will discover how challenging all the stages of COPD are, as patients learn to live with and manage their condition. We have the privilege of being alongside them as they do.
Alison Crumbie, by email

As a nurse with more than 20 years’ experience, I am ashamed of my profession.
Name and address withheld

Greta Ann Josephy

1942-2012

A&E and renal nurse who volunteered for Amnesty

UNcoopERATIvE collEAGUES mAkE mE AShAmED oF ThE pRoFESSIoN My mother recently had two seven-week stays as an inpatient in the north and south of England. Both hospitals had fixed visiting times, but the attitude of the nurses could not have been more different. I travelled 150 miles on public transport to visit my mother in the north and occasionally needed to visit outside regular hours. I arranged this in advance with the nurses and it was never a problem. In the south, my sister often found it difficult to visit during regular hours. She has a special needs child and is a lone parent during the week. The staff were uncooperative about morning visits and she was allowed to stay only for five minutes. Another sister travelled from the north at weekends and requested to visit on a Sunday morning. This, too, was frowned upon. I asked the senior nurse to ensure my mother was bathed, but the only two times mum was given a shower were when she was helped by my sister, outside normal visiting hours. 32  january 30 :: vol 27 no 22 :: 2013 

mR cAmERoN, wE NEED moRE TImE To DElIvER compASSIoNATE cARE Prime minister David Cameron has announced a package of measures to help nurses deliver care with compassion (analysis January 16). Mr Cameron, nurses know how to deliver care compassionately and you may have offended some by implying that they do not. In the plans to drive up care standards, you should have concentrated on a package of measures that would give nurses more time to deliver good patient care. As it is, we have too little time for patients and their families. While health and social care continue to be underfunded, an apparent lack of compassion will prevail. Putting budgets before the wellbeing of our patients will never improve standards of care. Care campaigns will not improve services unless we are given more time to care for our patients.
Jo Sims, by email

ThE Ivy lANG School oF NURSING IS holDING A 40-yEAR REUNIoN Forty years on, the Red School 1973 set of the Ivy Lang School of Nursing is hosting a reunion. We are meeting on Saturday February 16 from 3.30pm at the White Hart, 65 High Street, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 1BQ. Contact Mary Williamson (née O’Donovan) at williamsonmary9@ gmail.com or Patti Sinnamon at minniesinnamon@yahoo.co.uk for further details.
Patti Sinnamon, by email

REUNIoNS Are you planning a reunion or trying to trace former colleagues? Email reunions@rcnpublishing.co.uk with the details and we will post them at www.nursing-standard.co.uk

Greta Josephy, who had a distinguished career in nursing, has died of lymphoma at the age of 70. She was born Greta Bateman in  Harrow, north west London, in 1942,  and began training as a nurse at the  age of 18.  A fellow nurse trainee at the  Middlesex Hospital in London recalls  Greta’s calm and sensible manner.  Another remembers her dependable  and unfl  appable approach to the  practical examinations for which  they were paired, and her sense of  integrity, duty and care. After qualifying, Greta worked  in the casualty department at the  Middlesex, where her calm, efficient,    confident and caring manner were    much appreciated.   She married Richard, and after a  break to bring up their three children,  Greta worked on the renal unit at  the Churchill Hospital in Oxford. She  volunteered for Amnesty International,  and retained a concern for social  justice and a keen interest in politics  throughout her life.  Greta also trained as a district  nurse at Oxford Brookes University,  where she wrote a highly regarded  dissertation on end of life care.  Colleagues describe her as a  patient-centred nurse who combined  being deeply caring with an analytical,  rigorous and knowledgeable approach  to health care. She was also full of  ideas for innovation, many of which  became established practice.  A colleague commented: ‘It was  great to know Greta was working with  you, because she could tackle anything.’ In retirement, Greta volunteered  at local schools, continued singing in  choirs and she and Richard enjoyed  frequent trips to Italy. She cared for  others until the end of her life.  Kate Josephy

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