A student nurse's poem – 'Nursing the Nation'


In an extraordinary appearance at the Royal College of Nursing Congress in Liverpool (England), 24 year old student nurse Molly Case, who is a performance poet, young adult novelist and blogger, spoke her beautiful and passionate poem ‘Nursing the Nation’, which she wrote in response to recent criticism of nurses in the NHS and their alleged ‘lack of care’.

Here’s an excerpt from the transcript of the poem but really the best way to hear it is to view Molly on the YouTube video below – which has already been viewed by over 206,000 people! Now the campaign is on to get a million people to view the poem before this Sunday’s International Nurses Day. So let’s share it around.

Who’d have thought we’d be having to defend?
We don’t do this for our families, we don’t do this for our friends,
but for strangers.
Because this is our vocation
and we’re sick and tired of hearing we don’t do enough for this nation.
So, listen to us, hear us goddamn roar, you say we’re not doing enough?
Then we promise we’ll do more.
This time, next time, there’s nothing we can’t handle,
even if you bring us down, show us scandal, scandal, scandal.

Molly was interviewed in the Huffington Post about what inspired the poem and what’s happened since.

Remember to share the poem with your friends and colleagues for International Nurses Week!


  1. Yes, very moving, but why is it that nurses continue to represent themselves as hard done by bleating lambs? I want to play the devil’s advocate here and get a bit of debate going. At the moment in the UK, there’s an extremely strong movement in the government, the press and the public that directly states that nurses should ‘put up or shut up’, that is, get back to your core business of caring, for there’s a mountain of empirical (and now legal) evidence to show that across the UK, although nurses claim to be ‘in the business of caring’, in practice, they don’t, and in fact they articulate exactly the opposite.
    Do a google search on ‘The Francis Report’ or ‘Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust’ or look for the BMJ article “We need to talk about nursing” or the major press article (a transcript of a report to parliament) called “Why don’t nurses care anymore?” as a starting point, from there you’ll find some major editorials in the UK press, countless articles and some significant reports just not on Mid Staffs, but several London NHS trusts that show that nurses aren’t delivering anymore. If you also take a run through the academic journals for nursing for 2013, you’ll find an emerging number of papers by Australian academics that agree with this UK groundswell.
    Nurses need to take note of this stuff, for one of the salient features of the Francis report and all of the interviews with nurses offended by the various articles of the report is that they blame paperwork, university training, quality benchmarks, statistics and so forth, but not one, and I mean not one, thinks it’s their fault. This is something that permeates the whole Francis report (this report attributes the death of 1200 patients over a 5 year period to poor nursing care): that nursing has developed a culture that doesn’t appear to be able to accept responsibility for decisions made at the level of the individual. The reality is, blaming paperwork, non-nursing duties, time pressure, university-based training and so forth doesn’t absolve individual nurses from making decisions to give analgesia to someone in pain, do a dressing, clean someone who has been incontinent or simply be nice to those in care and their families. In relation to the poem, promises aren’t enough, nurses have to actually deliver the care.

  2. Here’s a less than amusing quote from an interview with one of the doctors at Mid Staffs:

    “Nurses who didn’t understand cardiac monitors and were annoyed by their bleeping actually switched them off”
    Dr Heather Wood


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