Latest posts by Toni Hoffman

Disruptive Nurses – Hmm are they what you think they are!

“A friend sent me a link to a blog on a website for Disruptive nurses. I was slightly taken aback as I don’t want to be known as a disruptive nurse. What makes a disruptive nurse, are you disruptive because you challenge the status quo? There is a focus on finding solutions in hospitals and if you find solutions you are seen as a positive person.

At what cost is this? Many nurses become so disillusioned with the solution at any cost approach that they leave nursing. Yes, really. Finding hospital based solutions for poor or inadequate funding, lack of beds, poor orientation or education and impossible to meet targets, often these solutions put the patients at risk, not that they mean to, but they do.

Nursing patients in overcrowded emergency departments, nursing patients as outlies in other areas puts patients at huge risk, for so many reasons, the pressure to discharge patients’ early puts patients at risk. Often areas or managers are just so stretched for resources that they take the best solution there is which may be the worst solution for  safe patient care.  You don’t want to be seen as a disruptive or negative nurse so you accept practices that may endanger your patients. When do you acknowledge   that enough is enough? I once asked a manager that and they told me not to argue but to just do what was being asked. Australian of the Year David Morrison has stated “ the standard you walk past is the standard you accept” At the risk of being labelled disruptive I think it’s time that nurses collectively identify the compounding issues of safe patient care and offer them back to our managers as being unacceptable. There is a reason that nurses argue for patient /nurse ratios, that they argue for correct patient cohorts in correct wards, that they agitate for education and for qualified managers not simply business managers or “yes” people. It’s because we want good patient outcomes, we want our patients to be safe. So label me as disruptive, that’s ok, as  Governor General Michael Jeffreys said to me at an Australian of the Year luncheon, “make sure you keep the bastards honest”. So it’s up to all of us to identify the standard we accept and to agitate for social change and keep the bastards honest .”

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