Monthly Archives: November 2013

“Treat Everyday as a Privilege” TRUE NURSING #6C’s

I think that even after 25 years of nursing if I stop feeling touched by experiences then perhaps I should think of a different career.

I think that even after 25 years of nursing if I stop feeling touched by experiences then perhaps I should think of a different career.

Every now and then a post comes in that makes me STOP!

None more so than this post, from a nurse who spoke to me a few weeks ago and said “I have something for your blog.” And what a “something”. True nursing I call it. Compassion, Care, Competence, Communication, Commitment and Courage!

I know who wrote this, but she wants to remain anonymous. But this is nursing pure and simple.

I count it a huge privilege to work in a Trust alongside members of staff like this. So read on- I hope it rings bells with you.

“You called me to come. I could see in your eyes that you knew he had already gone. You wanted to stay but I took you away whilst the doctors did what they could. We sat quietly. You held my hand and told me you didn’t feel much like talking.

As we sat in the still silence you did start to talk and your eyes lit up as you told me how you’d met, how initially you had played hard to get and turned away his offers for a dance. ‘He’s too tall for me.’ You told your Father, yet without fail every week at the same time on the same evening he would turn up in his uniform and you continued to pretend to be uninterested. Eventually you caved into his requests for a dance and from then on never left his side….until now.

This illness had divided you both for the first time.

You promised you would visit every day, and so you did, setting off early, catching 3 buses and waiting with apprehension to see what each new day would bring.

He had been so very ill and had started to improve, there was talk of rehab, talk of home- oh to be able to get him home. This thought had meant that you could both face the next day together. It meant there was hope.

But he had gone. You showed no emotion when I took you to see him. How do you say goodbye to your life’s companion of 50 years? You didn’t want to leave him. You cupped his face in your hands, held his head next to yours and kissed his lips as you always had. Your tears ran down his face as you whispered to him ‘you promised you would never leave me’.

I left you alone finding it awkward staying for such a personal time and finding it difficult to imagine how you could possibly be feeling saying goodbye to someone you had shared most of your life with. Every day we work is a privilege and today I shared in a very precious time with you. I felt quite affected by the experience and I think that even after 25 years of nursing if I stop feeling touched by experiences then perhaps I should think of a different career. We often get so wrapped up in ‘pressure’ and tasks that we lose sight of the wider picture. We all have the opportunity to make a difference and to feel that each day is a privilege.”

Innundated with Praise: Friday CatchUp

Talented cartoonist captures life on one of the wards at the Royal

Talented cartoonist captures life on one of the wards at the Royal (click to enlarge)

Well the good news keeps rolling in…and I am behind myself again. So if you have sent me something and it has not appeared yet- apologies! But here is a brief selection, as they say on Celebrity Big Brother, in no particular order…it might be you!


“Dear Head of Department,
I attended your department to be examined and eventually fitted with a hearing aid. I would like to place on record the fact that I received a very professional and most friendly and courteous service from both of your members of staff. The each explained everything in detail and took the trouble to confirm that I did in fact understand everything they had told me. I left the department feeling that I had full confidence in the NHS and in the Alex and this feeling was entirely due to the service I received from your staff.
Yours sincerely,
[Name and Address Supplied]”


Hi David,
I have heard from a couple of the volunteers who though sadly leaving us as volunteers are doing so because they are both about to take up university placements, one on a Medical Degree Course and the other on a Midwifery Course. Both the volunteers have expressed their thanks to the departments they have been working with Chestnut and Postnatal as they feel that the experience of volunteering has helped with not only their course choices but with their applications to university.

“As I start university this time next week, today was unfortunately my last shift on the Post Natal ward.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing me to volunteer for you at Worcestershire Royal for the past 11months. This experience has been of great benefit to me for my future venture as a Student Midwife.”

“On the 21st of September I will be going to university therefore this Saturday will be my last volunteering session on Chestnut ward. Thank you very much for all of your help. It has proved invaluable to my university application and has taught me loads about working on wards.”


Bolton Dragons raise money for Cardiac Catheter Lab at Royal

Bolton Dragons raise money for Cardiac Catheter Lab at Royal

Go Bolton Dragons

Go Bolton Dragons

We won our first trophy a year on from forming Worcester Bolton Dragons – a team of mainly midwives, an obstetrician and a HCA.
Driven by the fond memories of our beloved friend Lorraine Bolton we the Worcester Bolton Dragons were among the winners by coming first in our final heat this weekend at Pershore Phoenix 2013 Charity event.
Thanks for all your support which is helping us raise money for cardiac catheterisation lab at WRH.Regards, Rabia.

David, I would like to thank Miss Duckett (Consultant Obstetrician) for her care, support and safe delivery of my gorgeous son. Thanks to her unwavering support both emotional and physical. Baby Oscar safely made it into the world on his due date. I will be eternally grateful. Caroline Artis


“Hi David
Just wanted to let you know about more praise for one specific member of staff

I had a relative of a recent patient come to the ward asking to speak to Michelle Newman our HCA, I explained that she wasn’t on till this afternoon and I could pass on a message.
The gentleman explained that he wanted to give is personal thanks to Michelle for all the care and attention she had given to his father while he was on Laurel 2.
He said that his father had expressed that he truly respected and was genuinlly impressed by Michelle .

I found out that michelle off her own back had gone up to ITU to see the patient today on her way work and discovered that the patient had sadly passed on, she was truly moved by the message left by the family
I have also informed the sisters on the ward so they are awaire of the praise she has received.

Michelle is a very bubbly person and will have a chat to anyone about anything if it helps to cheer them up .
I just wanted this praise to be truly noticed



“To Debbie,
Thanks you.
Just a little something to thank you for all the care you gave me and my family. IT WAS MUCH APPRECIATED. Love from Nicola.”


Don't kick the NHS to death

Don’t kick the NHS to death

Is it just me or does the NHS still keep coming in for a kicking.
No wonder there are so many folkloric tales of not knowing what we have got until it’s gone.
Are we in danger of killing the goose that laid the golden eggs- or at least beating it to death?

Lots of the posts that people send me say how their lives have been changed because of the treatment they have had.
So think of our country with the NHS for a moment.
Where do you go when something goes wrong?
What do you do when some part of your body or another fails?
How do we function in an emergency?

Of course, that is not to say that there is no critique necessary for organisations – including the NHS. But its always about balance.
And the truth is that to the individuals who are treated, whose lives are made better – or even saved – the Health Service is important.

A short email from Mr. Sherwood puts this in perspective as he writes:

“Dear Dr Southall,

I had to attend Worcester A & E on Friday evening, at about midnight and wanted to offer my thanks to all the staff you have at this site. I have not had a great deal of experience with hospitals thankfully and the treatment I received right from the paramedic turning up at my friends house through to the doctors, nurses and ambulance personnel at A & E was first rate.

It was a scary escapade and at all times I was well looked after and kept in the loop on my progress. I would appreciate if you could pass my thanks on to them and also to pass this on to Harry Turner, who I understand is your chairman at the moment.

Kind regards

Richard Sherwood”

A first rate service in a scary situation. I don’t think you can ask for more that that.

So to all involved, I echo Mr. Sherwood’s words: THANK YOU.


Should Read: "Superb Treatment at Worcestershire Royal Hospital!!" But rarely does!

Should Read: “Superb Treatment at Worcestershire Royal Hospital!!” But rarely does!

All Doom and Gloom in the NHS?
Concerned about all the headlines in the paper and worried about the way in which you would be treated if you ever had an emergency?


And then one of his friends told him to post it to the Chaplain’s Blog. So here it is! And I am totally confident that it is not a one off!

“Last Thursday evening I went to bed early because I had an early start the next day. I started earlier than I intended.

I woke up at a little before midnight with a pain in my upper left chest. It felt like a bruise or a muscle strain. It wasn’t indigestion and I couldn’t rub it to ease it. I’ve been taking meds for high blood pressure for years and so have thought about the way to react to a heart attack. I reckoned it was time to act, took an aspirin and dialled 999.

I was answered immediately and started answering questions. Is the patient breathing? Yes, I hoped I was. Then the pain went away. I tried to stop the process but the call handler insisted that we had started so we should finish. Better to have a false alarm than to miss a real one. Thank you call-handler. Absolutely right.

I went downstairs, unlocked the door and turned on the outside lights and within two or three minutes a paramedic appeared. He went straight into his routine of aspirin, ecg, nitroglycerine, blood pressure and lots of questions. Ecg was normal so was blood pressure but answers to the questions left him pretty sure that I had managed a small heart attack. He recommended that I went into hospital to have a blood test to complete the diagnosis. No Monday wouldn’t do. It should be now. Ok let’s do it.

He called for an ambulance and started completing the papers. Then he dived for the ecg. He had heard something change. He knew what was happening before I felt it. I went straight into another full blown heart attack. He handled things brilliantly. Try not to have a heart attack. But if you must have one, make sure you have a paramedic on the spot to manage it for you. Meds, pain killers, ambulance priorities, ecg. He juggled the lot confidently and professionally. And his confidence helped mine. Thank you paramedic. A really great job.
Jenny was far more worried than I but she got an overnight bag and some washing kit ready for me so that when the ambulance crew arrived (pretty soon), I was ready for a few days hols at the Royal Worcester. Good thing the ambulance crew were big lads. They carried me (14 stone -ish) down the steps from the front door to the road. The journey to the hospital wasn’t comfortable but it was quick. Once again, calm professionalism was their trademark. Thank you ambulance crew. I really benefitted not just from what you did but the way you did it.

At the hospital, the crew by-passed normal A&E and wheeled me straight into the cardiac cath lab. Two nurses were there to meet me and started the preparation for the next stage. The team assembled, I gave my informed consent for the procedure to take place and we were away. I’m not sure how big the team around me actually was. There was the consultant, the technician operating the real-time X ray camera, a physiologist and at least two nurses. I was given a local anaesthic and a catheter went up my arm. After a short while the consultant announced that he had located the blocked artery that was causing the problem. Shortly after that, he guided a tiny balloon up through the catheter and inflated it to clear the blockage. The pain and discomfort in my chest cleared instantly, miraculously. Of course I had chosen to have my blockage on an awkward, sharp bend and the next step of positioning a stent, a tiny metallic scaffolding, on the inside of the artery, took some time to achieve. But it was done and some time after 4 am, Jenny was invited to come and see that I was still in one piece. Thank you cath lab team. The technology that you had at your disposal and the skill, knowledge and compassion with which you deployed were all of the highest order.

And so I was wheeled up to the ward, wired into a monitor and recovery began. Jenny headed home, I hoped she was going to get some rest after a long, boring and, for her, worrying, night. For the rest of Friday I stayed in bed, dozed and made pretty patterns on the monitoring screen, I still had a little discomfort in my chest but only just enough to remind me of why I was there. By Saturday even that was gone. On Sunday morning I was disconnected from the monitor and was able to go and shower, shampoo, shave, etc. Luxury. On Monday I came home. The ward where I was cared for was a model of how things should be done. It was clean, uncluttered and calm. The staff, from the charge nurses to the cleaners made their patients feel comfortable and cared for. Needs were anticipated and met quickly, questions answered carefully and thoughtfully. It was proper nursing. Thank you, all of you.

There has been so much bad press about the NHS recently that I thought I would try to write about my very good and very positive experiences in a situation which, not that many years ago could have had a very different outcome. From beginning to end I met and benefitted from a succession of very good, very well trained, compassionate, highly motivated, well equipped people. And they have given me back my life.Meanwhile my friends have been great. I have had enough cards and phone calls to make it feel as if Christmas and several birthdays had all happened at once. Visits from the hospital chaplaincy were, simultaneously, an offering of and an answer to prayer. I have never been so concious of having been surrounded by loving support. Thank you all.”

David Savaged by a Collie: Halloween Weekend Horror!

Teeth bared and ready to bite!

Teeth bared and ready to bite!

I left the house at 7:40am on Sunday morning. No time to be up, especially on my 23rd Wedding Anniversary. The streets were quiet, it was a bright, crisp autumnal morning and I was heading to BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester for a radio interview about the Chaplain’s Blog. A chance to plug the blog and celebrate the fact that it has had over 100,000 views.

I arrived at the car park and met Radio Presenter and all round good egg Malcolm “Boing Boing” Boyden who took me into the building. All was going well- or so I thought. What could go wrong?

I was on the Sunday Show with Michael Collie and the interview started OK, just catching up on the news of the blog and saying how well the blog was doing.

But then the Collie turned…

“You are being a free PR machine for the Hospital. Shouldn’t you as a Chaplain be standing in the middle of this not just plugging one side of the story?”

It is, of course, a good point. And we batted ideas about for another couple of minutes. A bit like a boxing match with some body blows to me. I came back with a left hook and a jab. And it was quite exhilarating!

I left the studio and after the next song, whilst listening in the car, Michael read out two or three entries from my blog and said “Do you think I was too hard on him?”

You can listen to the whole interview here: just slide the tab to 1 hour and 16 minutes.

Now I am being unfair to Michael. He is a nice man, a great radio presenter, and a does a great show. And the point of this post is not to criticise him or the media. Far from it!

The point is to show up the fact that:


Even those on my blog!

If I had made the title of this post “David on Michael Collie Radio Show” then you might not have read this far! We seem to be attracted to some types of headlines and not to others.

I think there is a better way. I really do believe in the power of Good News. I think that every glimmer of light given off by it can change the world. I think there is a need for a culture of good news in the NHS, and in the country.

So if you feel tricked, or even sad, that this wasn’t a story of me being mauled by a ferocious hound, then there might be a lesson to learn.

And if you were concerned that I have been hurt…well thank you.

Let’s change the world one small act of love, one good deed, or one piece of good news at a time – to paraphrase Mother Theresa.

Oh and finally, THANK YOU MICHAEL COLLIE AND PRODUCER LIZZIE LANE, for continuing to plug the blog. I always appreciate my time with you!