Monty Oxymoron
Monty Oxymoron

Is Nursing an
“Impossible Profession” Today?

Picture taken during the pandemic: Sod off Covid!
Picture taken during the pandemic: Sod off Covid!
I am currently out of work as a nurse: every three years I have to undertake “Revalidation” or my registration will lapse (as well as Pay the NMC yearly fee.) To Revalidate I have to undertake a certain number of hours of work and training. That is very difficult if I’m not employed!

The main reason I’m out of work is because of the introduction of 12 hour shifts: this means you work all day, or all night. I used to work lots of half days, usually afternoons, but I was told this was now “against company policies.” I tried working nights (as I have trouble sleeping and was concerned to come in and work all day in a groggy state.) I don’t know if it’s aging, or getting Covid but my energy levels and concentration were not up to it. I’d been fine before Covid got into the nursing home in 2021 and even also undertook the monthly medication book in over night as well as being in charge: I couldn’t possibly do THAT now!

Looking for work it seems like 12 hour shifts have been adopted across the board in both private AND NHS settings. Just to make matters worse the proof on the online learning (and face-to-face sessions) has been “frozen” on the company educational site: so I can’t prove how much I did! Another problem for older nurses like me is the increased reliance on AI and technology in general. For a long time I wasn’t allowed to work because I couldn’t complete the pharmacies on-line learning program. Management didn’t help at all and it was a fellow nurse who helped me complete in the end. And now, after all that I was sent my P45 without so much as a “Good luck thanks for over 20 years service”!

“Nursing is a cut-throat business these days!” This was said by a previous manager of mine in the 1980s; but it has got far WORSE now! Nursing has become very “high-powered” as one’s work is constantly measured against “policies and procedures” and monitored by AI that constantly “flags up” tasks to be completed. This, (and 12 hour shifts) makes what already was a sometimes stressful job almost unworkable, at least for nurses over 61 like myself; but the Government doesn’t allow nurses to realise on state pension any earlier than any other workers. The NMC don’t seem bothered either: they just reiterate what what the requirements for continued qualification are. Maybe they don’t need older nurses in spite of the shortage we are told about continually?

Believe me: I miss my work. I was passionate about providing Person Centred Care and actually taught that and Dementia Awareness to staff at the nursing home during Lockdown. (AI I believe is making the work more “task oriented” making PCC more difficult.) I also developed care plans that I believe really presented those people in a “three dimensional” way: highlighting their strengths, preferences and characters. I still have a lot of ideas, knowledge and experience and ALL THAT will go to waste when I lose my registration, indeed half of my working personality is being LOST.

I have to do Bank (casual) work while I still tour as a musician, but I could really do with some other work to do while we are not playing. Teaching, or consultation would be ideal if I could do that. Short of that I might just as well share my thoughts on nursing on-line in case they are helpful.

Any help/suggestions are very welcome!

Laurence Burrow (Monty Oxymoron)
July 2023

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