Letter: NHS in crisis

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Sir: To say that Florence Nightingale would be shocked and saddened were she to return to a present-day hospital ward would be an understatement.

During the century after she founded the nursing profession as we knew it, to be a nurse was a source of pride and fulfilment. The "old-fashioned" ward sister knew and cared about every patient on her ward, knew, taught and counselled each nurse under her, organised and managed her team from senior doctor to lowly cleaner and was a mother figure to all on her ward. She was the respected and esteemed team leader who knew how to get the best out of her staff. A manager in mufti with a clipboard can never command the same qualities.

To work on a well-organised ward with a good sister was a pleasure: very hard work but fulfilling as one felt valued by the patients, the team and society. What we earned was less important.