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
  • Wise
  • Honest
  • 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.
  • Flexible
  • Patient
  • Understanding
  • Gentle
  • Sensitive
  • 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 .


  1. I salute your care and understanding of this horrible disease. Thank you for caring so much. My beloved sister-in-law has been suffering for 25 years. I wish she could have an angel like you.

    Julie Reynolds

  2. Thank you Julie ! I am so sorry to hear about your sister-in-law - 25 years is such a long time. The suffering I know is indescribable. It is ironic that Florence Nightingale herself, probably suffered from ME, yet in general nurses are still tragically misinformed - are inclined to treat ME wrongly as a mental health issue rather than the serious physical disease it is. My nurse training, I have to say, has carried me through these many years in the desert, plus my relationship with Linda - the strength of our love keeps me going more than anything ! x


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