What makes a good nurse ?
I am fiercely proud to be a nurse, with 31 years experience- 21 spent caring day and night for someone with Very Severe M.E. This is an extract from my forthcoming book : "Severe M.E : Notes for Carers."
As nurses we have a duty to speak up when we see wrong practice,which unfortunately abounds in M.E., because of the ongoing confusion with chronic fatigue and a lack of awareness of the difference.
In all my experience, a nurse who cares for someone with M.E. needs to be:
- A person of integrity
- One who lives by the nursing code.
- One who listens to the patient – not to do so, is to potentially cause much harm.
- One who has the courage to speak up against misinformation, misinterpretation and mistreatment.
- A person with great self-awareness.
- One who knows that Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) is not a mental health disorder.
- One who knows that M.E. is a serious neurological disease with multi- system dysfunction.
- One who knows that exercise can harm patients with M.E.
- One who is up to date on information and current medical research into M.E.
- One who knows that the symptoms of M.E. are serious, that between 10% and 25% of patients are severely affected – housebound, bed-bound or immobile – and severely overlooked.
- One who is very aware that the specific hypersensitivities in M.E. such as chemical, light, noise, drug,touch and food sensitivities must not be ignored; to do so risks deterioration.
- One who does not wear perfumed products.
- Acutely aware of the dangers of PEM (Post-Exertional -Malaise)
- Acutely aware that the slightest wrong movement, sound or action can be devastating.
New ways of enabling nurses to assist patients with ME urgently need developing .