Letter: Nurses who do wash their hands

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The Independent Online
Sir: Over the last three decades as a nurse I have seen the number of registered nurses decrease to the current 18,000 shortfall. Low morale and low pay are just part of the story, along with the increase in workload and the practice of employing more non-registered care staff on wards for whom the RGNs are fully accountable.

Now we are being blamed for the increase of MRSA and other hospital-acquired infections resulting from a survey of 19 hospitals in the UK and "studies" in the US ("Nurses' dirty hands put patients at risk", 16 May).

One wonders who was monitoring these "nurses" and why it took three years, and the introduction of infection control policies and memos circulating along with the bugs, before practical intervention to ensure good practice.

When the training of nurses took place on the wards instead of in colleges, the good principles of asepsis were passed on from trained nurse to student, backed up by the theory in the schools of nursing which dovetailed with ward or theatre experience. Theory and practice were equal partners and the experience gained was invaluable and lasted a lifetime.


Churchdown, Gloucester