A new podcast aims to tackle “the bullshit” NHS nurses have to tolerate – and it will be placing the voices of those on the frontline at the centre of it.
The Feminist Nursing Pod
The Feminist Nursing Pod is, in its own words:
A podcast tackling the bullshit affecting our practice
It’s releasing its first episode on Sunday 17 October. The hosts said in a press release that the show:
will take a deep dive into the personal and political issues, lovingly termed ‘The Bullshit’, which impacts nursing practice.
The podcast looks set to be something rather different.
Its hosts said of the show:
Formed through a mutual disdain for the patriarchy and austerity politics, Holly, Lindsay, and Ruby have joined forces to create a podcast project which does more than rant – it centres the voices of nurses and healthcare at its core.
The past year has seen nurses turned from heroes to ungrateful villains often in a matter of days or hours. The Feminist Nursing Pod will allow us more breathing space than the short media appearances allow for, giving you more than just soundbites and the same old campaign lines but getting to the heart of nurses’ experiences and realities.
Patriarchal misogyny is an entrenched issue in nursing. For example, a report by the Royal College of Nursing and Oxford Brookes university concluded that underpay in nursing was essentially an issue of sexism. It’s co-author Dr Anne Laure Humbert summed up:
old-fashioned’ perceptions persist of nursing as a job carried out by women for whom caring is ‘natural’, thus deskilling and devaluing those involved.
There are also plenty of other issues the NHS faces that the Feminist Nursing Podcast will be well suited to tackle.
The NHS has been in a Tory-created crisis for a long time, and the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has only made things worse. As The Canary recently reported:
- Waiting times are at record highs. At the end of July, 5.6 million people were waiting to start treatment.
- Also in July, the number of coronavirus patients in hospital was up over tenfold compared to the same time last year.
- The NHS has around 100,000 staff vacancies.
At the centre of this have been the staff.
Staff under strain
For example, the number of sickness absences taken by nurses and health visitors due to mental health issues had risen by 31% in May 2021 versus May 2019. Currently, there also appears to be a campaign by politicians and the corporate media to demonise doctors who work for the NHS. This is because the government want to impose things like league tables for face-to-face appointments. Doctors are understandably unhappy. The group Every Doctor UK said:
UK doctors are deeply concerned about the state of the NHS. We have been raising these concerns for years in the national press, and are consistently frank about NHS pressures which impact on patient safety. These pressures are not, however, a situation of doctors’ making… NHS staff do not hold the purse strings of the NHS; that falls to the government.
The government have made more than £40 billion in government departmental cuts since 2010. The service has been stripped, and the resultant understaffing has not been tackled by this government or, indeed, by the two preceding Conservative governments.
The Feminist Nursing Pod could provide an unfiltered platform for NHS workers to properly speak about the challenges they face.
Meet the team
The show introduced its creators and hosts on Twitter:
Holly (she/her) is a CAMHS Nurse and co-founder of the grassroots campaign group @NurseSayNO, who have organising & agitating and since Summer 2020. Holly is a fighter against the exploitation of women in our health service, & aims to empower others to stand up and demand change. pic.twitter.com/Pv6XInaT0m
— Feminist Nursing Pod (@FemNursePod) October 5, 2021
Ruby (they/them) is an Adult Nursing lecturer, co-founder of the @FeministNursing, and Lindsay’s BFF. They bring the intersectional feminist analysis which nursing so desperately needs. pic.twitter.com/oeEkpmGnd3
— Feminist Nursing Pod (@FemNursePod) October 5, 2021
The Feminist Nursing Pod said of its debut series:
the three will [discuss] the on-going pay dispute in the NHS as it plays out through the winter of 2021. By tracing the history of the pay dispute to where we are today and speaking with campaign groups and unions demanding more from the government, the podcast will explore some the directions on where we go next.
Using a winning combination of feminist insights, tales from practice, and nurses’ humour the Feminist Nursing Pod will deliver the conversations you wish you were hearing and offering tools to resist The Bullshit.
Reclaiming nurses’ presence
Holly told The Canary:
Collectively, it felt really important for us to set up this podcast. We’re exhausted by always being shut down, or repeatedly asked the same questions, framing the same narrative.
And Ruby added:
Our aim is to reclaim the political presence of nurses in the media to talk about the realities of practice, on our terms.
The Feminist Nursing Podcast looks set to be fresh, informative, and crucial listening. It will present the NHS from the viewpoints of those who live it everyday. And the show could also smash the tired and loathsome patriarchal political outlook that dominates narratives around healthcare. So, be sure to listen in on 17 October.
Featured image via the Feminist Nursing Podcast
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