Intended for healthcare professionals

Education And Debate

Has nursing lost its way? Dual perspective

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 29 July 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:303
  1. Jacqueline A Short, senior registrara
  1. aBarrow Hospital, Barrow Gurney, Bristol BS19 3SG

    National Institute for Nursing, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford OX2 6HE, Ann Bradshaw, Macmillan lecturer in palliative nursing. Faculty of Health Studies, University of Wales, Bangor LL57 2EF, Mike Nolan, senior lecturer in nursing research. Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth Health Commission, London SW15 2SW, Heidi Lempp, primary health care facilitator for HIV/AIDS and sexual health.

    It was with a mixture of pride and trepidation that I rounded the final bend and drove up to the same psychiatric hospital that had seen my arrival as a student nurse 17 years previously. I was back again, but this time as a senior registrar in psychiatry. Would anyone recognise me? Would my nursing colleagues welcome me or treat me with suspicion for defecting to the other side? The moment of truth was looming.

    Nursing roots

    At the age of 18 I surprised myself and disappointed my school by deciding to train as a nurse. What a waste of a grammar school education! In a misguided attempt to combine my chosen career with travelling the world, I joined the Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service. The defence cuts had started. By the time I had become a state registered nurse three years later, I had seen Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Southampton. It was while on secondment with the army at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, however, that my initiation into psychiatry started. That initiation became a baptism of fire when I began further training to become a registered mental nurse, but this time, as …

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