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Letters of the week (16/12/2015)

“I’m no ordinary student, I’m a nurse”

I’m a third year student nurse at kings college London.

Getting into university to fulfil a dream in nursing was a big achievement for me and my family.  Coming from a deprived area the student bursary was a lifeline for me. Some may argue that it is only fair to scrap the bursary, considering that most students will have to carry the hefty debt.

I’d like to share my experience of how being a nursing student differs from a regular student. Our course is split 50% theory and 50% practical, over 42 weeks. This means that for the practical we spend 37.5-42 hours per week working 12 hour shift patterns which includes nights. On a regular day I will wake up at 6am and return home at 9pm. Staying behind is a regular occurrence due to staffing issues.

When I entered this career at the young age of 18 I knew I would be making the sacrifice that most people at that age wouldn’t. Whilst my friends were spending there loan parting into early hours of the morning I would be preparing for another shift on the wards.

As a third year student we are given much more responsibility and are expected to manage our own patient caseload under supervision of my mentor. In my last placement I was allocated five.

I would like to share a personal experience on a particular shift. I had the privilege to provide care for a patient in the final hours of his life. I had looked after this patient before and would say had developed a bond with him I knew the small personal things that he liked for example having the pillow in a particular way.

When I came onto shift I received handover that he was very unwell. I knew what this meant and was heartbroken to say the least. This is a shift that I think I will remember throughout my nursing career.

I noticed his breathing had gotten worse and so the doctors where informed and called his daughter to visit him. During this time I held his hand and reassured him that she would be here to be with him I comforted him and made sure his pillow was how he liked it.

When he eventually passed I was a shoulder for his daughter to cry on once he had taken his final breaths by her side. In these moments I realised how lucky I am to share these humbling moments with patients and their loved once.

Unfortunately many people will be denied this opportunity due to the cuts to the bursary. Many of my colleagues are mature and have previous degrees, which with the new changes would have been impossible to fund. Nursing is a vocation and the NHS should not be denied of potentially great caring nurses due to these cuts

Priscilla Chambers, Walworth 

“TfL don’t re-open St Thomas Street to cars”

The CGI of the new-look St Thomas St in All Change At London Bridge (Southwark News 19th November page 16 dev.southwarknews.co.uk/news/all-change-at-london-bridge-with-more-changes-planned/ ) was rather more revealing than intended.

St Thomas St has been shut for couple of years now and traffic has made do without it. The image showed a re-opened road along St Thomas  Street with (still) no traffic on it but the large numbers of pedestrians corralled into a narrow space behind bollards.

TfL’s current plan is for St Thomas Street to reopen as a through road for traffic in 2018 but by then there will be thousands more people crossing to the south of London Bridge Station than before it was redeveloped plus there is a strong desire to improve the area (including the arches) so that far more people on foot will be drawn further south into Southwark.

Why re-open the road when it will worsen air pollution in the area and reduce the appeal for people who want to walk along the street?

Fine to allow vehicles to service the station as well as the businesses in the west such as the Shard, but please TfL do not thoughtlessly re-open St Thomas Street to vehicles when you could be creating a great place for pedestrians, residents and workers.

Jeremy Leach, Chair Southwark Living Streets

“Cold comfort!”

Congratulations are in order for Southwark Council!

They have really exceeded themselves this time. I wonder whose bright idea it was to fit new windows in on the Keetons Estate, Bermondsey during December!

Luckily for me I had new windows fitted a few years ago now, but I do feel sorry for the folks who will be sitting watching their TV with a duvet wrapped around them, especially the elderly who reside where I live.

Surely common sense should have told them that if they want to fit new windows , then do it in the summer! But then again we are talking about Southwark Council.

Ray Horney, Bermondsey


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