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Nurses get a tongue lashing

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 27 July 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:265
  1. Jane Salvage (, nurse and international health consultant

    But are attacks in the media really a doctor's cry for help?

    A bout of nurse bashing has hit the headlines. Is it just the silly season, or a rush of blood to overheated editors' heads? Nurses have enjoyed favourable press lately. The spirited barracking at the Royal College of Nursing congress of health secretary Patricia Hewitt—herself called Nurse Hewitt by unimaginative hacks—undermined the usual submissive stereotype. Then there were all the sob stories about nurses' jobs jeopardised by the NHS cash crisis. Time for a bit of “balance,” surely.

    Balance was duly provided not by journalists but by the nurse's oldest enemy, the doctor. It started in the Independent (“They're no angels,” 20 June) with a tirade from a junior doctor in an inner city hospital, the pseudonymous Lucy Chapman, infuriated by incompetent, sulky nurses who prefer reading trashy magazines to obeying her orders. Poor Lucy (whose criticisms were also published in the Belfast Evening Telegraph on 20 June) berates the lowly jobsworths for their lack of initiative and expertise, loathes the clinical …

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