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J R Soc Med. 2007 July; 100(7): 304.
PMCID: PMC1905881

The demise of nursing in the UK

In their article (JRSM 2007;100:70-74)1 and subsequent reply (JRSM 2007;100:209-210)2 to the ensuing letters of protest, Shields and Watson emphasise their belief that nurses should be educated.

I expect linguists, historians, and philosophers to be educated. However, I expect pilots, nurses, and doctors to be trained. The latter are skills. It matters not a jot to me whether or not a pilot is highly educated: I just want one that is highly competent and skilled.

About Health Care Assistants, Shields and Watson state ‘While these workers may be able to, for example, make the bed of, and feed, a stroke patient, they cannot assess skin condition, or the effects of facial paralysis while they are so doing, nor assess the effects of the person's illness on the family. A RN does all these, and plans care from this information.’

I spend a lot of time with my patients, and glean a lot more information than these academically-oriented colleagues seem to appreciate. I can't help feeling that some academics should listen more and lecture less.


Competing interests ND is a Health Care Assistant.


1. Shields L, Watson R. The demise of nursing in the United Kingdom: a warning for medicine. J R Soc Med 2007;100: 70-4 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. Shields L, Watson R. Author's response. J R Soc Med 2007;100: 209-10

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press