English-trained nurses are best in the world, says Mrs. Thatcher
While the scientific and intellectual aspects of a nurse's training programme are of vital importance to achieve practical competence, they do not necessarily allow a full insight into humanity, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, Secretary of State for Education and MP for Finchley, told nurses and their parents at the annual price-giving in the recreation hall at Barnet General Hospital, last Thursday.
To get an insight into the needs of humanity and to gain some idea of the sense of fulfilment which could be obtained from nursing or any other career. Mrs. Thatcher said it was necessary to examine the achievements and standards set by predecessors, throughout history, in the particular field being pursued.
She added: “It is often said that history is of no value at all to young people, and that they should be taught about the present and the future but really you need to go back to look at achievements throughout history to see how they were accomplished and to take note of the approach and reactions of predecessors to the same situations with which young people are still likely to be confronted today.
“This is particularly relevant to the nursing profession where young people take an greater responsibility at a younger age than any other young people of the same age group following any career
“Nurses are expected to act a lot of the time virtually on split-second decisions. This is often completely unknown to other young people of the same age.”
Mrs. Thatcher recommended some of the writings of Florence Nightingale as a means of learning about divergent personalities compassion, foresight and how to maintain the high standards set by her—or even to surpass them.
Since the time of Florence Nightingale the nursing profession has progressed to such an advanced stage that more and more people every year are becoming qualified.
“What was once the preserve of a privileged few is now available to everyone regardless of where they come from or their background and affords another opportunity of making the best of the talents with which every single person is endowed,” she said
Congratulating the awards Mrs. Thatcher commented “The standards set in nursing make English trained nurses the best in the world. You have achieved something by qualifying which nobody can ever take away from you. This must give a sense of satisfaction more than something else in the world.”
Before Mrs. Thatcher presented certificates and prizes, Miss Margaret Kingdom, chief nursing officer, and Mr. John Leane, principal nursing officer, presented their annual reports.
Recruitment of student nurses during last year was the highest on record when in January it reached a total of 194. Miss Kingdom said.
“It seems that the prevailing pattern at the moment is for all learners to want to be resident. Unfortunately, however our residential accommodation is full, and because of this, the pupil nurse school has had to be reduced.”
New residential accommodation which was scheduled to be completed by the end of the year as part of the redevelopment of the district hospital would case the situation somewhat
The success of student nurses in the General Nursing Council examination continued to be well above the national average and with the pupil nurses 100 per cent passes had been achieved throughout the year.
Mrs Kingdom thanked tutors, particularly Mr. Leane, ward sisters at Barnet General Hospital. Finchley Memorial Hospital, St. Stephen 's Hospital, Winifred House and all medical staff who had in any way contributed to the results.
She reported that a mandatory annual appraisal for all senior nursing staff had been introduced in the hospital group in April. Previously, the appraisal was compulsory only for student nurses.
“Students now have a very full programme, and we have established a fourth option with Napsbury Hospital. Students from Napsbury come to Barnet for three months' experience, and students from Barnet go to Napsbury. Our students have a choice of learning community care and gaining experience in obstetrics, geriatric and psychiatric work.”
Miss Kingdom asked if there were any ex-staff members living locally, who would like to work in the Marie Foster Home for the chronic sick, currently nearing completion in the grounds of Victoria Maternity Hospital.
“I should be very pleased to give particulars if anybody would like to work in this brand-new unit which should be in use later this year,” she said.