Monthly Archives: December 2009

Akmal Shaikh

Akmal_Shaikh_by_Luis_Belmonte_jpg_240x240_q85
Akmal Shaikh RIP

Despite a clear history of mental health problems in the period leading up to his arrrest and conviction for drug smuggling,  British citizen Akmal Shaikh was executed in China this morning.

Anyone with any experience of working with people who have mental health problems will easily identify elements of mental illness in descriptions of Mr Shaikhs behaviour. It seems clear to me that there is a very obvious history of mental health problems and it is puzzling that the Chinese Government is still insisting that there is no such history.

People with problems such as those experienced by Mr Shaikh often do not have a firm grasp of reality and would be very vulnerable to manipulation by unscrupulous individuals. The likely influence of such factors appears to have been completely ignored by the authorities in China.

I hope that mental health nurses worldwide will join me in condemnation of this dreadful action – please take a moment to click on the links below.

Reprieve website

Reprieve Youtube video

Amnesty International reaction

Twitter – Akmal Shaikh

Facebook group

Registered Nurse Plumber?

plumber1

I have noted with interest over the years that nurses (and I am one)  have had an attitude of “I can do that. Give me that job” and indeed nurses have expanded their role quite considerably. When accused of trying to be ‘mini doctors’ nurses have responded ‘no we are maxi nurses’.  We have clearly demonstrated that we are capable of so much.

So…with the latest MHA nurses can (after appropriate hoop jumping) can be the responsible clinician or the approved mental health professional, posts previously filled solely by doctors and social workers.

Surely nurses (and the Act) are missing the point?

The greatest strength of any team revolves around the idiosyncrasies that each individual brings to the table but now, oh no, we are removing this uniqueness to leave one ‘new’ professional that simply changes hats to fit the job in hand. 

toilet

I am strongly in favour of social workers retaining their role – it is after all a vital position to ensure that the medical model does not dominate. I remember as a newly qualified nurse being impressed by a social worker refusing to ‘sign off’ a detention after two doctors had recommended it – this social worker exerted his own standards and whilst I disagreed with him, I thought that he was doing a splendid job that he was trained to do. He was able to step away from the medical needs and look at the social needs in a wider context.

Nurses, whilst we strive to be separated from it, are biased in the ways of the medical model -Face it.

What is wrong with being a nurse anyhow? I plumbed in a washing machine the other week but I am not asking to be registered as a nurse plumber. Leave the plumbing to the person who trained to be a plumber and who does it day in and day out and the plumber can leave me to nurse.

And another thing….following on from nurses saying “I can do that. Give me that job” there is the follow up call of “Hang on. Have you seen my workload? I’m not paid enough you know!”

washing machine

Images from Flickr creative commons:

1. Plumber James #2 by MoToMo

2. Plumbing by basykes

3. Day 719 / 365 – Wrong Setting by JasonRogersFotographie