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Yes or No or Not Sure?

27th April 2006

 "Yes or No" chanted the RCN delegates at this week's conference in Bournemouth as the Health Secretary tried every political rhetoric ploy to avoid answering a straight question. And you could almost hear the whole nation chanting with them. Or so I thought.

Earlier today I bumped into two nurses who had been at the RCN Conference and attended Patricia Hewitt's speech. Far from being shoulder to shoulder with their disgruntled colleagues, or entertained by the antics of the baying masses, they were appalled at the behaviour of the delegates and thought it had done a lot of damage to the profession. I was surprised at this. So far my antenna puts the public mood firmly on the side of the nurses and somewhat gleeful at seeing yet another politician being made to squirm on national television.

But why do they always focus their cameras on the nurses who are "grey, fat and hairy"? asked one. And she has a point. Perhaps we still think of our nurses as sweet, girl-next-door angels whose only desire is to serve a compassionate need to care for the sick and the dying. But like all professions, there's a wide cross-section of personalities that make up our nursing body - some of them are even men! - and the cameras will always point to the more colourful, even if they are grey...

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