Agency nurses need to be treated better to improve patient care

Press Release : December 10, 2009
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Many agency nurses, who are an essential function of the NHS, are often treated as second class citizens something that needs to change to ensure maximum standards of care. Thats the message from specialist healthcare recruiter Arrows Group.

One agency nurse, who wishes to remain anonymous, says that there is a lot of hostility towards temporary nursing staff, that theyre given the most difficult patient and offered no support. She says, Were not treated like nurses Ive often been referred to as agency nurse rather than by my name. Some hospitals dont allow us to administer drugs, which I can often understand, but when thats the case they should offer us the training to do so. Were always willing to pay, but many wont even offer us the option.

Theres hostility because NHS nurses know we get paid more than them says another. And if there are tasks were not permitted to do, that can mean more work for them. But thats not our fault, and if they would work with us as a team then there wouldnt be a problem. Permanent nurses always ask me what Im earning, and if theres a piece of equipment Im not familiar with, Ive been told youre paid a lot of money, you should know how to use it.

One nurse refused to show me how to use a new piece of machinery which everyone had been trained on whilst I was on holiday. This meant I couldnt change a patients IV I had to spend half an hour finding another nurse and take her away from her work so she could show me. Obviously not all wards in all hospitals are like this but it just shows that this treatment has a direct and negative impact on patient care.

The truth is that the NHS couldnt function without the input of these specialist nurses, comments James Parsons, Managing Director of Arrows Group, which supplies temporary nurses to trusts across the country. These people are highly qualified and deserve to be treated like any other nurse and common courtesy is something that every employee is entitled to. The focus of healthcare staff should always be on patient care but it seems this is suffering due to these hostile attitudes.

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