‘A Nurse’s World’

Sir, – The sentence "The author's identity is known to The Irish Times" at the end of the two articles in the "A Nurse's World" series speaks volumes and not because of the content of the articles.

The writer, I guess, is fearful for the future if she or he criticises or questions the system. It was ever thus in many areas of Irish life but particularly in healthcare.

The two-tier system of nursing in place now for some time has done little to get across the importance of the nurse in providing compassionate care. It would be considered old fashioned and uncool to refer to Florence Nightingale, but we should never forget Florence fought a lone battle with parliamentarians, army personnel and so many others to set the strong foundations we are now working from.

In highlighting what is wrong it is important that nurses note the socio-economic determinants of health and the environment in which health policy is made.


The nurse who is well informed and who can look outside the box has , to my mind, a huge contribution to make to health policy. This too can make the work of the nurse more interesting and help avoid the culture of powerlessness and victimisation that is clearly creeping into the discussion around the role of the nurse. – Yours, etc,


Director of Services,

Alice Leahy Trust ,

Bride Road,

Dublin 8.

Sir, – I was stopped in my tracks by the nurse’s articles about the realities of working in one of our public hospitals.

I would urge all our politicians to read the articles because every now and then they need a reality check. – Yours, etc,


Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – While reading your excellent editorial (February 21st) on nurses, I was reminded of my late wife's final words on the matter in 2006, when she said, "You know that we have a number of saints living in Cork. It's just that we call them nurses." – Yours, etc,


Bishopstown, Cork.

Sir, – The Irish Times is to be congratulated on publishing the series "A Nurse's World".

For many years it has been obvious that the overstaffed, overpaid, self-perpetuating “executive” arm of the Health Service Executive not only absorbs a disproportionate amount of our public spending on health but operates to the detriment of the “service” element of the system. At least 10 years ago it was acknowledged that the system was at least 50 per cent top-heavy at the executive and administrative levels. This disproportion has now not only reached but passed crisis level. Something must be done and done immediately to remedy this situation. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.