[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] Sia,—As a member of
the Nursing Staff of a London Hospital, I feel I must not allow M. A. Marshall's letter, published in the Spectator of November 15th, to remain unchallenged. Unfortunately he has much ground for complaint, and deserves sympathy. There is, however, another side to the question. Did the patient who waited six hours for attention imagine that the members of the Medical and Nursing Staff were enjoying a rest? In all probability surgeons and physicians were hard at work in theatres, other wards, and elsewhere. It is not an unusual occurrence for a doctor to remain on duty for twenty-four hours at a time, without chance of bed, or even thinking about it !
A new and unexamined patient is always a source of anxiety to the nurse in charge, who no doubt longs as fervently as the patient for the appearance of the doctor. If, however, the condition of the patient demands immediate attention, it is always forthcoming. I am sorry nurse was so unkind. Would Mr. Marshall care to take her place for a while ; to experience the long hours (twelve and a-half on an average) of nerve racking and physically exhausting work, and yet remain tranquil and unruffled? The distribution of the eggs certainly showed mismanagement, but I feel sure they were not wasted. Will State control offer a solution to the long suffering public, particularly the out-patient I doubt it. Has Mr. Marshall a suggestion for relief ? Let him prescribe ; and doctors and nurses alike will support his remedy with a sympathetic enthusiasm.—I am, Sir, &c.,
FRANCES M. Diem
" Tremont," Beresford Gardens, Thunderstey, Essex.