Macmillan Cancer Support

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Stressed Nurse



Nurses are run off their feet

The reality is that all nurses have to cope with constant unrelenting demands from patients, doctors, pharmacists, other staff, and, of course, family members. I often feel absolutely run off my feet and I am sure that sometimes I must sound like a bad-tempered so-and-so. And many days the pressure is almost too much to bear, especially for those nurses who have very high expectations of themselves and of how they care for their patients. In fact most nurses go home after their shift wondering why they even tried, because the workload can be so overwhelming. I sometimes wish that patients and families would spare us a thought – but I know that feelings like that aren’t really right. Because they are the ones dealing with the pain, the worry and the illness. Not us! But to be fair, nurses and other NHS people are just that – people. And any human being can be forgiven for suffering from stress and overwork. I don’t know what the answer is, but I think understanding each other better would be a good start!

2 Responses

 Patient on 10th July 2014

During my 2 night stay for a hysterectomy because of endometrial adenocarcinoma, I had 3 different nurses and several nursing assistants. Two nurses, Kelly & Nicki, were absolutely wonderful. They actually listened to me, explained things several times when they knew I couldn't really listen sometimes, and really showed extraordinary care & compassion. The doctor answered my questions well enough but it was obvious he was busy. The nurses who prepped me for the surgery, Lu & one whose name I have forgotten, had so much patience with me while I was extremely anxious. They talked me through everything and helped calm me down. Because of these nurses, I felt very well taken care of while I was in the hospital.

passionate nurse
 Employee on 10th July 2014

The nurse to patient ratio on oncology inpatient wards needs to be re assessed. The safe administration of chemotherapy drugs is vital, but is one of many tasks nurses are expected to manage as they would on any ward. The complexity of the chemotherapy protocols must be recognised and prioritised and enough specially trained staff on shift dependent on the amount of chemotherapy patients admitted that day. The compassion and empathy we have gets shrouded when run off our feet with unrelenting tasks.

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