Every now and then there’s an idiot who thinks that writing about nurses will warrant immediate success to an otherwise worthless article.
These so-called opinion makers will often write about things they don’t know the first thing about.
When you write about things you don’t understand nor have sufficient knowledge about, you’re bound to say untruthful or incorrect things. If you do it unintentionally, one may pardon you on the account of your stupidity. But, if your main purpose is to offend and create an empty controversy, then no one should excuse your idiocy.
There’s “a stroppy, trouble-making loose cannon” journalist who used to work for the BBC called Rod Liddle who decided to write an opinion article mentioning nurses.
His article under the title: “Nurse, I’ve come over all peculiar…I don’t think you are worth more than Gary Lineker” was published in The Times.
The article isn’t even about nurses. Its main subject is the controversy caused by the outrageous salaries of BBC stars. Mr. Liddle thought it was important to attack nurses in order to grab the reader’s attention.
And he starts strong, like one should when starting an opinion article. He begins by saying that nurses “know almost nothing about medicine” in a clear reference to medical doctors who know all about medicine and for that reason deserve better pay than nurses because they make the important work.
The lesser work is made by the nurses who “will empty your bedpan and mess around with your drip for a while until someone more senior comes along”. Really? This goof thinks that nurses’ work is limited to unskilled tasks that anyone is capable of doing. Worse, he thinks that most nurses are unable to do their work on their own. In his mind, nurses are brainless, unskilled house maidens who can’t be left alone for fear they’ll break something.
By the way, who’s the “more senior” person? Another nurse? A matron? A doctor? I really don’t know where did he take that idea from.
Why did he mention nurses in his article? Because he has too much free time and spends it hearing “lots of nurses” and “non-nurses” calling phone-in shows complaining about the salaries of BBC stars when compared to nurses’ salaries.
Even if it pains me to admit it, he is right when he says that we’re paid according to the market. It’s true, the market must perceive you as someone with a valuable skill set in order to give you a good salary.
I struggle to understand the market when it comes to nurses. Almost every developed country in the world has a shortage of nurses. Nurses are highly skilled professionals, often with university degrees, masters and even doctorates. And yet, almost every country in the world is paying less and offering worse working conditions to its nurses. I would love to have an economy expert explain to me how the market works!
Fortunately, he tells us that he has nothing against nurses! One can only imagine what he would have written if he had some kind of a grudge against nurses.
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He happens to like nurses because, he tells us, once he spent a night in a nurses’ hostel that he will never forget. No… I couldn’t believe he’d just used the cliché of the libertine nurse to make a joke and further diminish nurses! In my opinion, that was just disrespectful. Even if the story was true, it makes no sense bringing it up to justify he has nothing against nurses.
The barrage of insults and insinuations doesn’t end there. He claims that nurses make “more than £40.000 for being quite helpful in hospitals.” Again, he assumes the role of a condescending prick implying that nurses earn a lot more than they should since they are only there to help. Well, if you think about it, nurses are there to help. We help babies coming into this world, we help people survive otherwise fatal situations, we help people in psychological and/or physical pain, we even help people staying healthy! And, when there’s nothing else left to do, we help people die with as much dignity and comfort as possible. But we don’t just help individuals, we help families and communities as well.
I would like to ask how many nurses do actually make more than £40k and how many years they had to work before attaining those numbers.
Apparently, most of the researchers of the Jeremy Vine show are paid less than those “quite helpful” nurses, even though they’re probably better qualified. Are they? I really don’t know, but I doubt it!
He ends his commentary about nurses by making a reference to the medical consultants who study a lot and who get about the same as Jeremy Vine (which is not true). Again, he takes a stab at nurses based on his idea of the underqualified nurse who, in his mind, should probably make the minimum wage while the doctor should be paid as if he was an overpaid BBC star.
This man obviously doesn’t know what modern nursing is, but he knows that nurses respond to this kind of attacks “en masse”, which surely helps his article get more views.
It’s this kind of articles that perpetuate the idea of the “servant” nurse and we should all fight that image. Nursing has a visibility problem that should be addressed by all of us in our daily practice, but I think nursing associations should also launch campaigns to improve the public’s image of nursing.