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Nursing & The Loss Of The Bursary – Poem by Lucy Watts MBE

My poem about nursing and the loss of the bursary. I’m 22 years old, have a life-shortening form of a condition which is not usually life-shortening, but due to the complications I have, it sadly will be. As a result of my conditions and their complications, I spend a lot of time in hospital and even when at home I have a team of ITU nurses who care for me, an ITU nurse being with me every day from 7am-11pm and then a carer overnight. I have the utmost respect for nurses who have a rough deal in the NHS, and the recent RCN conference sparked off an idea and hence the writing of this poem. It is also born out of my gratitude to all the nurses who have played their part in my care over the years. 
~ Lucy Watts MBE

I spend a lot of time in hospital, in the presence of medical staff
I love those who will take the time to advocate on my behalf
My body may be broken, in a truly spectacular fashion,
But I receive a lot of nursing, support and compassion
There’s a big threat to the quality of care nurses can provide
When the amount of nurses on hospital wards continues to divide
And then you take away the fund they rely on to sustain
You take away their passion, put them under more strain
You give them very little of their much deserved respect
But more and more of them you come to expect
You wonder why nurses are now falling like flies
Their workload and lack of support is the cause of their demise
Nurses are suffering burnout, an outbreak of depression
And let’s face it, we’re already in an NHS recession
You expect them to do so much, with absolutely no reward
You take away the love they have, for a job they’ve always adored
You cry “we need more nurses” and yet take away support
You obviously gave your actions no serious, careful thought
It’s not ‘just a bursary’, it is a truly vital resource
One you took away, with not an ounce of remorse
The morale for student nurses will slowly begin to diminish 
The nursing degree they take, will they ever be able to finish?
I have the utmost respect for all the nurses I have met
The ones who I have come to know, the ones I’ll never forget
I think back on every admission, every long hospital stay
And say thanks for all the nurses who’ve looked after me each day
From the nurse who stayed well past her shift to check I was okay,
And got the things I needed that she’d been fighting for all day
The nurse who held my hand and sat with me for a while
The ones who never fail at getting me to smile
The ones who take the time to listen, who become more like a friend
The ones I can depend on, the ones I will defend
The student nurse that listened to me, desperate to learn
The one whom when she qualifies, a pittance she will earn
We’re at risk of taking away our nurses passion for their profession
If we’re not careful, we’ll lose our nurses in quick succession
If we’re struggling with a lack of nurses to fulfil the growing need
Why did you take away the bursary nurses depend on to succeed?
We need to give our nurses well-earned admiration and respect
The praise they so badly deserve, with immediate effect. 

(c) Lucy Watts MBE, 2016

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