by Colin Bloom
This morning the BBC are reporting that the NHS are going to insist that newly qualified Nurses will have to first practice as Health Care Assistants (HCAs). Here is the quote:
Nurses will have to spend time as healthcare assistants doing basic tasks such as washing and dressing before completing their degree training, ministers are proposing.
WASHING & DRESSING!
Language is so important, how we use language is usually a good indicator of our feelings toward our subject. Let me put it like this, would you rather have someone feed you, or would you rather be assisted in eating a meal? If you are an older person with poor mobility, would you rather be helped to get changed or do you want someone dressing you? It might have the same outcome, but the attitude is totally different.
It is about dignity, respect and personal assistance. Mechanical terms like 'feeding' 'dressing' 'cleaning' conjure such distant, dis-empowering images. We need a renaissance of caring for, not doing for.
At the Curry Union we enjoy meals with street drinkers, rough sleepers, rent boys, prostitutes and crack addicts; people on the outer fringes of our community We don't 'feed' 'them' like animals at a zoo; we enjoy a meal with our guests. The language we use is important because it humanises the person we are with, it doesn't break them down to a task.
So, I fully support Jeremy Hunt's plans, they will be good for the NHS. However, I'd like to see the BBC and others choose their words more carefully.