Nurses 'must be more patient'

Updated: 2015-03-20 07:48

By Wang Xiaodong(China Daily)

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Nurses are being urged to improve their service and stop being impatient when answering patients' questions.

Hospitals should improve nursing services, such as adopting creative ways of serving patients, regulating nursing procedures and encouraging nurses to improve how they communicate with patients, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said in a notice on Tuesday.

Hospitals should provide more support to nurses by creating a better working environment for them, along with better training and higher pay, the commission said, and nurses should also be managed better to encourage them in their work.

"I don't think the problems can be solved just by issuing a notice," said a nurse at a general hospital in Beijing who asked to remain anonymous.

"It is a sensitive topic. Suppose a nurse attends dozens of patients every day; it is almost impossible to be smiling and patient all the time."

The health authorities should try to reform the current medical system to solve the problems at the root, the nurse said.

In a survey carried out by and posted on its website, 83 percent of respondents said they had encountered impatient nurses. However, 53 percent said the major reason for their impatience was because of a flawed medical system that gave them an excessive workload.

More than 8,000 netizens participated in the survey.

"Even if nurses have a heavy workload and have to work night shifts, that is not an excuse for being unprofessional," one netizen commented.

Health authorities have taken a number of measures in recent years to provide better healthcare to all patients.

They have given more autonomy to doctors to allow them to practice medicine in medical institutions other than where they are employed, and have channeled medical resources from large general hospitals, which are usually swarming with patients, to smaller hospitals and clinics, which usually lack enough doctors and nurses to attract patients.

Hospitals and clinics in China provided 7.3 billion outpatient services in 2013, and there were about 70,000 disputes between medical workers and patients, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

Such disputes, which sometimes resulted in injuries or even the deaths of doctors or nurses, have attracted much public attention in recent years.

About a quarter of doctors believe inadequate services and a lack of communication with patients is a major cause of violent disputes between doctors and patients or their families, according to a survey of 3,704 doctors by the Chinese Medical Doctors Association.

Yu Ying, a former emergency doctor at Peking Union Medical College Hospital, said that she used to attend dozens of patients every day at the hospital and often spent most of her time dealing with fights and quarrels between nurses and patients' families. In such circumstances, it was hard to enjoy being at work, she said.

(China Daily 03/20/2015 page4)