TheBoldAge discusses a Moral Dilemma

By Marion Foreman. Published 2020-03-26
Marion discusses a very personal conundrum

We are, as everyone keeps telling us, in unchartered waters.  This pandemic is something, the like of which, we have never seen before.  My daughter, who is a Consultant Anaesthetist running an ICU, tells me that her team has prepared for all sorts of emergencies but never for anything on this scale.

So, what do we do?  Now I am not naturally someone who sticks to the rules.  I had to go on a driver awareness course before I convinced myself that speed limits have a place and need to be stuck to.  I certainly kick against every single rule that I don’t agree with.  One of my granddaughters is just like me – she’s really struggling right now.

So here I am – being told how long I can be outside every day – being told what is ‘essential’ to get from the shops.  And do you know what?  I am sticking to the rules – why?  Because if we don’t more and more people will get ill and more will die.  Sticking to the rules saves life – period. 

Where I am struggling is about returning to real work.  I had lovely ways of earning money before all this started; I worked in the gym, I went to care homes and I ran circuit classes.  And of course, I went to college and I wrote and wrote.  The gym is closed, we can’t go into care homes and people with cancer are in a high-risk group.  College is now online, and every meeting is on the phone.  I have more time than I ever thought possible.  I am enjoying writing and my daily walks and my workouts.

But I feel guilty.  I am a nurse, I started my training in 1972 (no, Florence was not my tutor!) and qualified in 1975.  I have been a registered nurse for all that time.  I have done my CPD, my accredited hours and all my revalidation tasks.  So why am I sat at home when the NHS is crying out for help?

  • I’m too old
  • I’ll get tired if I work a whole shift
  • I haven’t been on a ward for years
  • I live with someone who has cancer
  • I am trying to move to a new house
  • I am scared


  • I’m not too old to exercise every day
  • I won’t get any more tired than I currently do with early starts everyday
  • A bed bath is the same today as it was 50 years ago.  Being kind and helping doesn’t change
  • The cancer is well under control
  • The house move doesn’t need my constant attention
  • Of course, I’m scared but I’m experienced and highly skilled
  • People are dying
  • NHS staff are exhausted
  • My daughter is scared too – and she goes to work every single day

Today I sent off my application for flexible working as a nurse.  I am telling you not for glory and praise but to show you that I am putting my money where my mouth is.  There is no point boasting about being a nurse for 50 years if a ‘call to arms’ sees me scurrying off

What can you do to help?  What random act of kindness can you do today?