Once in a while, we find ourselves in a battle that is so titanic with quite the strength from both sides, that it looks like there could be no pleasant end. The sides are locked in a position that is static and unwilling to compromise. They are usually willing to wait it out till the very end. These kinds of stories may seem a bit rare but they are not that rare. Take the example of two sides in a conflict where they are fighting over something that they didn’t have any actual control over. To make matters even more complex, there doesn’t seem to be a side that is wrong about what they are fighting over. Which side will you take? Who do you imagine will win? There is so much clarity and ease when you have a villain that can be pointed at and blamed as the one that is at fault. Sometimes, the world decides to throw a curveball. There are things that are usually out of our control and we opt to fight over them anyway. We then become engaged in a war that does not end. The thing about this kind of war is that no one wins. In this story, we look at a nurse who was stuck in the same situation as described above until she decided to break this vicious cycle.
Help For The Community
The biggest healthcare provider for Preston, which is England’s Northwest, is Royal Preston Hospital. It was opened back in 1983 by Princess Diana. It has since served this city and the 122,700 people who live in it. Because it is a teaching hospital, it trains doctors and nurses who are a part of the National Health Service, the British Public Healthcare system. However, today’s story is about the student nurses.
They work in hospitals without payment as part of their teaching. Nurses at Preston have one bigger problem; parking. With no salaries, long hours and no place to park, there will arise problems that can be debilitating to the way that a nurse in Preston lives.
The Nurses’ Plea
The student nurses who work at the Royal Preston Hospital do not qualify to be given parking space in the hospital’s parking areas. This leaves them with a situation that does not have an easy or palatable solution. They need to get to work and they have to park somewhere. The parking system is closed off to them and they need to use whatever space they can get to solve the problem that they have.
The solution put them into conflict with the residents of the streets who do not like having the front of their homes be full of cars. They have voiced their anger and have even vandalized cars. Sometimes they abuse the staff. One nurse decided she wasn’t going to take it anymore.
She had her car vandalized once and so she decided to leave a note for the residents of Preston. It was later shared on social media and went viral. This led to a debate about the nurses and the residents who find themselves in these hard situations. “I am a student; I work 37.5 hours a week for YOUR NHS for FREE. I am legally parked. Please do not vandalize my car again!”
This note resonated with many of the students and they decided to come forward to reveal the kind of damage that they had seen on their own cars. The residents had done quite a lot to the cars of these students. There were keyed cars, slashed tires and this is all on top of the verbal abuse that they were heaping on the students.
Working For Free
This situation is by no means unique. The insults that they received, the fact that that they were not given any parking permits in the hospital parking space and all the problems that came with it, puts many of them in a very precarious situation. One student said, “It’s frustrating how we work full-time hours for free and no one from the hospital seems to be bothered by what’s going on.”
The students are required to pay in excess of $12000 every year in tuition fees. They are unable to hold on to a paying job because of their placement. “We look after people at the most vulnerable time of their lives,” one student said in response to the way they were being treated by the public.
“My sympathy does lie with the hospital staff. There’s not enough of them as it is and they work really hard,” said Mr. John Banks who lives near where the nurse park.
He talked about the upper management at the hospital who can pay for parking and then claim it as expenses where the students have no such opportunities. The most annoying thing about all this is that there has always been a solution and it has just been out of arm’s length.
The Simple Solution
The residents and the students had talked about plans for a multi-story car park that would take care of everything. The city did get permission to build it but that did not come to fruition.
The garage would have been okay but then the residents didn’t want the nurse to park near the homes or to give them a place to park elsewhere. This is the kind of catch 22 that is maddening.
Let’s look at what the residents are angry about. Nurses claim to be parked legally. If the problem was looking out their windows and seeing cars, there are bigger problems in the world.
The residents, however, claim that the nurses park the cars in their driveways which blocks them in and prevents workmen and other people from getting in. You can see how that would infuriate the residents to a point of being physical about it.
It all boils down to who said what and who of these two parties, you are willing to believe. The sides claim to be on the right side of things and it is not easy to disagree with any of them.
The sidewalks may be an eyesore and sometimes there is the possibility that the nurses do indeed block people’s driveways. The answer does not lie in vandalism and other crimes. So, is there a compromise?
Finding a Solution
Recently, a petition was initiated called change.org by Nadine Mason, who is a student at the hospital. It is aiming to ‘provide enough parking for all staff. Mason spoke to the media about the situation and how terrible it was.
The petition has reached just about 75% of the goal of 5000 signatures from the time it was initiated. This is a step in the right direction and if it works out, everything will be fine.
A Little Too Much
Not all the residents feel like being nice about the situation as a solution is being looked for. One nurse had a traffic cone forcibly put under her car and it shredded the underneath of the car causing damages in excess of $500.
She was unable to fic the damage because she could not afford it and had to just patch it up and soldier on. “God knows when I can get it fixed!” She lamented.
Where Does It End
There seems to be no end to the problems Royal Preston’s nurses have. They try to save lives every day and suffer for it. Everyone who parks far away has a hard time with that kind of arrangement.
The length of commuting is bad because the streets are not easy to walk when it is dark because late shifts end at 9:30. “You never know what you’re going to go back to,” one nurse said.
The dispute does not warrant police interruption but, there is always the law when it comes to vandalism. The Preston Police has not done much except sympathize with the students. A spokesperson for the cops told the nurses who had been vandalized to come forward and get help.
They just usually remind them to park without obstructing. Other than that, they cannot do much in the way of helping the nurses. But, what can they do?
A Restoration of Faith
A landlord not far from the hospital was moved by the plight of the nurses and he offered his driveway to the nurse who wrote the note free of charge. “I just think it’s so unfair that students who are working for free are suffering like this,” he said.
His wife was treated at the hospital and she was treated wonderfully. The 22-year old nurse was tearful as she accepted the offer.
Where There Are No Villains
The story begins with a trainee nurse and her plea. Then in comes a landlord who offers space indicating there are no villains here. The hospital has come off the sidelines.
The Chief Executive, Karen Partington said the conditions are far from ideal and the vandalism is unacceptable. She encouraged the nurses to contact the police whenever they are vandalized. She realizes that the nurses do not have to deal with that kind of thing.
The Lancashire County Council has recently announced that they plan to put in place parking restrictions on some roads near Royal Preston. It is clear who side they are on. The locals will have fewer problems with their driveways but the nurses are going to suffer unless a solution is found to address their problem.
The nurses seem to be down on their luck with this problem. The council does not seem to care much about the nurses.
Major British News Outlets were clear about the fact that this story does not seem to have a bad guy that you can point to and say that this is their fault. No one can condone vandalism but some were not so sure that the nurses were not to be blamed.
One person said that maybe it is time they knew what it is like to wait for hours in an emergency room. “The government doesn’t care about the NHS. The last thing they care about is your parking,” one of them said.
You Knew What This Was
Some people say that the conditions of a nurse are not a secret and that getting into this, the nurses knew what it was going to be like. They may be the people that give us the services that we cannot live without but they knew what this was before they got in.
This is something that some of the critics threw into the nurses’ faces. However, that does not mean that we cannot improve the conditions in which they work. We cannot just expect them to throw in the towel. We need them.
Maybe There is a Villain
If there is anyone that we can point to and blame, it would have to be the National Health Service. They have managed to completely and utterly let down the students. There is a student who has 37.5 hours a week to work with no compensation.
The nurse in charge of her is not getting any special pay or time off and cannot be bothered to do the training for her properly. It breaks the heart when we hear that she is already thinking about quitting.
The Epidemic Is Growing
There was a recent survey that showed about 40% of the NHS employees were sick from the stress they get from their jobs in 2018. It is the highest unhappiness rate in the UK in recent years.
A lot of the hospital staff is becoming disillusioned and are thinking about quitting their jobs. The ones who will not quit are in danger of becoming less effective in their jobs and causing all kinds of malpractice problems.
The NHS seems to be aware of this placement problem and the officials have said that they realize they need to cater to the millennial nurses and doctors. This term has negative connotations as it conjures images of people who want things without working for them.
The NHS knows that providing those things will increase employee retention and better healthcare for everyone who depends upon the public health system for their medical needs.
Kindness Can Solve Things
The NHS may be looking at the serious issues that underlie the whole system. However, the problem in this story is not that systemic and the solution to it might be simple. Kindness is the key here.
It could go a long way to make the relationship between the student doctors and the residents of that place more amicable. The problem would basically solve itself. What do you think? Could that work? Could kindness create an atmosphere that is needed?