Second job to make ends meet
I am absolutely livid about the 1% pay rise, that I will not get as I am on increments.
I have been in nursing for 35 years. My first monthly pay check was for £114.00. Thirty-five years later it is £1738. In this last year my monthly take-home pay has gone down, due to Government cuts and austerity.
I am a district nurse with a specialist practitioner degree. This is not recognised through Agenda for Change. Most specialist practitioners are band 7, however we DNs are at band 6. I had to pay half for the course to become a DN. The total cost of this additional degree required to become a DN is approximately £3400.
As a DN I do a lot of travelling to visit patients. Until last year, I got a monthly lump sum for wear and tear for my car. DNs carry equipment such as commodes, Mangar cushions (for falls), incontinence aids, Cin bins (sharps disposal bins), among other things. This lump sum has now been stopped and we get 63p per mile - a good enough amount. However, I recently had to get the upholstery to the back seat professionally cleaned because a decontaminated commode leaked rusty fluid on to it.
I have a second job, just to make ends meet. My mortgage alone is £710 per month for a two bedroom mid-terrace ex-council house in Scotland. Due to the nature of my career, I need a reliable car, for which I have a monthly debit. I am single and have the same outgoings as everyone else.
When is the government going to realise that we nurses work hard? In today's climate we are also very stressed, there aren't enough staff - you can't blame people for not wanting to go into nursing. I love my job, but hate the politics. We are being demoralised at every turn. I wonder how George Osborne would survive on our wage?
I am fed up and can't wait until the day I retire. If I was younger I would have changed careers. I will participate in industrial action if needed.
Anon, district nurse, Scotland
Lack of respect: retirement beckons
After reading the letter from a disillusioned advanced nurse practitioner, I felt the need to support her/his views. I am an experienced practice nurse of 26 years. I too have 10 minute appointments, seeing minor illness and injuries,immunisations and vaccinations, smear tests,travel health and general practice nurse duties, including nurse-led chronic disease clinics. I also do telephone triage. I am a prescriber and work, to all intents and purposes, as a nurse practitioner. However, I am paid at low band 6 with no increments and haven't had a pay rise for four years.
I used to love my job with a passion but, lately, I look forward to retiring in four years time. Yes, it is my choice to work in general practice but, come on GPs, treat us with the respect and renumeration we deserve.
The attitude now is, 'well if you don't like it, leave'. It makes me sick to think that I have nursed for 40 years and am treated with such little respect.
Speaking to colleagues, this is common in primary care, but it certainly isn't right.
Another very disillusioned PN
Career pathway to balance workforce
Has anyone considered the number of nurses with prescribing qualifications that have retired over the last few years? And the numbers continuing to do so. Is this being balanced with nurses coming into the profession and into primary/community care? There will be a period of time before nurses new to community/practice nursing have reached a level of competence in certain specialisms, and in their role in general, before they are ready to do the prescribing course. If the role of practice nurse could be reached through a standardised, national course or route (as for other branches of nursing), in which the basics of chronic disease management and prescribing formed part of the course, it is possible that the current decline in the number of nurse prescribers might be rectified.
This may not happen until funding for the training of practice nurses is no longer reliant on the whim and budget of individual GP practices, as it is at present. The funding of training must be taken seriously by those with responsibility for community healthcare training and those who can influence the ringfencing of money from central government.
A clear, national training pathway towards practice nursing (and beyond) is necessary to highlight primary care nusing as an option for nurses looking to work in a rewarding and vital area.
Katie Harrod, practice nurse, London