Drink and Drugs News DDN March 2019 - Page 21

Have your say on issues that count: www.drinkanddrugsnews.com CliniCal eye A question of MEDIA SAVVY The news, and the skews, in the national media VAlue Nurses should be a highly prized asset in every addiction service, says Ishbel Straker IN A MONTH’S TIME I AM DUE TO REVALIDATE WITH THE NURSING AND MIDWIFERY COUNCIL (NMC). It was three years ago since I last did this, and what a lot has happened in this time. Revalidation, similar to the appraisal process for doctors, is not only a regulatory requirement, it is also an opportunity to reflect on past practice and future purpose. This is invaluable and something that is significantly enhanced by the professional acting in the role of confirmer (appraiser). In all my roles as a senior nurse I have been part of this process on behalf of nurses who worked within my services – and ensured that within the organisations I had responsibility for, I highlighted this process of compliance and ensured it was adhered to. This is the role of a senior nurse – not just to support the organisation with its compliance, but most importantly to support the nurses. Within the addiction field over the past three years I have watched organisations value and devalue nurses, realising their need and then removing this due to a focus on expense over quality – and then subsequently complaining that there are issues with recruitment! Nurses have become the fat that can be trimmed from organisations for a quick ‘book-keeping’ win, without a thought for the care of the patients. In recent conversations with a CQC inspector I discussed why this seems to be the case and concluded that this occurs so frequently because those who are doing the trimming have no investment or understanding of the profession and see it as an easily replaceable job. This I feel is due to the quality of nurses within the addiction field who make the job look so easy, who get on with the role without complaint and who have trained to take on multiple roles within this sphere, making the job look ‘easy’. So, what’s the answer? Well for a start, organisations need to recognise that nurses have value and that the training we undertake enables us to take on multiple roles within substance misuse services with exceptional ability. Regardless of whether this role appears to be able to be done by non-nurses, I would vehemently argue the case against devaluing this highly skilled profession. Ishbel Straker is a clinical director, registered mental health nurse, independent nurse prescriber and board member of IntNSA ‘Nurses have become the fat that can be trimmed from organisations for a quick ‘book-keeping’ win, without a thought for the care of the patients.’ www.drinkanddrugsnews.com ‘Moderation has been rebranded as middle of the road, a cop-out. Dry January is a panacea for the worried well...’ THE MOVEMENT FOR MODERATION IN ALL THINGS HAS GIVEN WAY TO EXCLUSION ZONES, to the virtuous circle of cutting out, amputating, becoming free from. Conflicting messages on whether a glass of red wine is good or bad for you leave us feeling that not drinking at all is the route to eternal life. This purge mentality is not new – it has its roots in fasting and hair shirts. Banishing harm or pleasure from our lives is a form of self-control when everything else is chaotic and not susceptible to individual influence. Moderation has been rebranded as middle of the road, a cop-out. Dry January is a panacea for the worried well, a form of hypochondria. Linda Grant, Guardian, 4 February THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE DRINKING ABOVE THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER’S GUIDELINES TELLS US NOTHING about how many people are drinking at a dangerous level. This should come as no surprise. We know that the chief medical officer’s guidelines do not reflect the risks of drinking. We might also conclude that there are no benefits to be had from reducing alcohol consumption unless it is the heaviest drinkers who are cutting down. No purpose is served by getting moderate drinkers to become light drinkers, nor by getting light drinkers to become teetotallers. This might seem obvious, but much that is obvious is denied by the philosopher kings of ‘public health’ academia. Christopher Snowdon, Spectator, 8 February THERE ARE THOSE WHO CALL FOR A SURRENDER IN THE WAR ON DRUGS. This isn’t going to happen. Nor should it. Cocaine, like alcohol, and unlike heroin or marijuana, has no recognised therapeutic role. Society has a clear and legitimate interest in discouraging its use. The war on drugs must be fought, but like most wars it causes most casualties among non- combatants. The strategic objective is not so much the capture of occasional kingpins, but minimising the harm they, and their products, do to their customers, whether by addiction or incarceration. Guardian editorial, 13 February THIS COUNTRY IS NOW PAYING A VERY HEAVY PRICE FOR FAILING TO ENFORCE ITS LAWS AGAINST MARIJUANA for more than 40 years. Its use, though not general, is horribly widespread and we now have a hard core of regular users, visible early in wrecked schooling, later in broken, hopeless lives, unemployable husks of humans begging in shop doorways, a grief to their families and a charge on the state, and in many cases confined to the locked wards of mental hospitals. But it is sometimes worse than that. What we also see, if we look, is that the culprits of a startling number of crazy, violent offences, here and abroad, were cannabis users. Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday, 3 February March 2019 | drinkanddrugsnews | 21