Nursing Times: sexual relationship poll

It's misleading statistics time again today. A Nursing Times poll reports that:

Up to 16% [of nurses] said they knew of a colleague who had started a sexual relationship with a patient during the time that person was in their care

This was reported in one of the free London papers as "one in six nurses...". Somehow that makes it sound even worse (never mind the fact that one in six is actually nearer 17%).

But however you present it, the figure is actually pretty low. After all, the poll isn't saying that one in six nurses has started a sexual relationship with a patient, but that one in six nurses knows of a colleague who has. And how many colleagues does a nurse have – 10? 20? 50? Over the course of a career, that figure must easily run into hundreds (after all, the poll doesn't specify 'current colleague'). The chances are that if it was at all common for nurses to start sexual relationships with patients, almost every nurse would know at least one colleague who had done so.

Or looking at it another way, the vast majority of nurses have never known a single colleague who started a sexual relationship with a patient. Conclusion: either it is very uncommon for nurses to have sex with their patients, or they just do it on the sly...

2 comments:

Andrew Orange said...

And what does "UP TO 16% of nurses..." mean?

It's almost like the sale posters in clothes shops which say "Up to 70% off" but at least you know what the sleight of hand is there.

I can't conceive what "Up to 16% of nurses" means. "Less than 16%?" or "We're just guessing"?

Sarah said...

Does it mention where the toll was taken? If more than 1 nurse in the same hospital said they knew of a nurse who has been knocking off the patients, chances are they are all talking about the same nurse! 1 nurse in 1 hospital once had sex with a patient, and 10 other nurses know about it! Shocking stats something really needs to be done about that...