Saturday 10 December 2016

Florence Horsman Hogan: A&E strike is about care, not cash

Being abused by drunks and drug addicts is one thing, but the trolley crisis is a bridge too far for nurses, writes Florence Horsman Hogan

Florence Horsman Hogan

Published 13/12/2015 | 02:30

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As what you might call one of the 'old-style' nurses, I've always deplored the idea of nurses taking any sort of industrial action. I have what might be termed 'old-fashioned' values and beliefs in why I became a nurse. Back in the 1980s when I trained, it wasn't for the money or glory - there was very little of either. But what did exist in abundance was the desire to be the one to make a difference to someone in need of care. To hold the hand of someone who was sick and scared. And to say to them, you're not alone.

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No, I never did like the idea of nurses taking strike action. But for the upcoming campaign starting on Tuesday, I'm 100pc behind my colleagues - the A&E nurses who will commence their campaign in seven hospitals across the country to protest at overcrowding and staff shortages.

Reluctantly, they are fighting the good fight for their patients. What the nurses want is additional staff, retention initiatives and greater adherence to health and safety legislation. I am not an A&E nurse, but many of my friends are. Emergency department nurses are a very special breed. All of us nurses need to have that essential core of compassion. But those on the emergency frontlines have to be able to think quickly on their feet.

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