PurposeThrough the discussion of two case studies, the purpose of this paper is to suggest that nurses may drive themselves to achieve the impossible. Professional bodies and health care expert emphasise the importance of always putting the interests, health and wellbeing of patients first. Could this be at the expense of nurses’ health, thus limiting their capacity to provide quality care for their patients?Design/methodology/approachThe two case studies discussed offer examples of how two nurses nearly lost their lives in their personal drive to deliver quality nursing care in adverse conditions. The paper is based upon the hypothesis that an organisation which invests in the development of a healthy workplace culture, in which staff are put first, will not only enhance the health and wellbeing of its staff, but will ultimately result in the development of a culture which will empower staff to deliver the highest quality of care.FindingsThese case studies not only offer an example of the risk of neglecting self-care, the risk to Ben and Lily who quickly changed roles from nurse to patient, but also the risk to the quality of health care as a consequence of not paying due attention to the health and wellbeing of nurses (Crane and Ward, 2016). This paper suggests a radical and no doubt controversial shift of focus. Treat nurses as patients, obsess about the quality of their care, to create a culture in which nurses are nurtured so that they can in turn, and they will, nurture their patients.Social implicationsThe Royal College of Nursing, the nursing professional body and trade union for all nurses have actively campaigned for a safe and health workplace for the last three years. They support RCN Safety Representatives to work with employers to develop a safe and health working environment for Staff. An important part of this work is the Healthy You Campaign. This has resulted in a series of learning and development workshops for nurses and the development of supporting resources to empower nurses to take care of themselves (www.rcn.org.uk/healthy-workplace).Originality/valueThese case studies and the resulting discussions are the author’s own original work, and have not previously been submitted for publication elsewhere.
Journal of Public Mental Health – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 19, 2018
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