Monthly Archives: May 2014


Ooops...Wrong Train Home!

Ooops…Wrong Train Home!

Today is International Nurses Day 2014, so here is my tribute to all the dedicated nurses, past, present and future.

It had been an exhilarating and inspirational day. So at Paddington station I took stock of what I had experienced.

Then, with my train being called, I rushed with the crowd, got on the train, found a seat, closed my eyes and promptly fell asleep hoping to wake up in my destination: Worcester. I woke to the voice: “The next station will be Didcot.” Funny, I thought, but we did come through Oxford on the way down so it’s close enough!” After dozing again the voice from the intercom said “The next station is Swindon!”

I knew that this meant TROUBLE.

The woman at the refreshment bar gave me the clue with her Welsh accent and words (with a kind of shrug that confirmed I was an idiot) and told me I was heading across the border to Swansea.

Suffice to say all ended well and I got home with help, just catching the last train of the night from Bristol to Worcester Shrub Hill by the skin of my teeth.

But what inspiration event had caused this mishap?

Well I was coming home from London having been at the Student Nursing Times Awards as a guest of my friends at NHS Employers.


Nominee after nominee shone with enthusiasm, energy, creativity and passion.

In a former life many years ago, I myself had been a young student RMN; and I felt a surge of joy to see the pony-tailed male winner go and collect his award (remembering that I had long hair once!)

And then there were the Caremakers! People who had signed up as trailblazers for the 6C’s: Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage and Commitment. Each one a winner in their own right.

Any my favourite of all, Emily Gartshore, winning Student Nurse of the Year, and posing for a ‘selfie’ on the stage with the great and the good.

I felt so proud to have once shared in the profession of nursing

I knew that the future of nursing was in good hands with these students at the vanguard

And I was inspired again at the compassion, care, courage, commitment, competence and communication which was modelled by these nurses.

Almost worth nearly spending a night in Swansea!

So Happy International Nurses Day 2014!

A Beautiful Moment: Generations of Nurses

canula (2)

I had just got snuggled up into bed (yes even Chaplains sleep) when a call came from A&E.
I arrived in 10 mins (the advantage of living close to the hospital) and walked into Resus.

In the bay was an elderly lady, quite obviously on the very last pages of her life, with her two daughters.

They had a calmness and composure about them which was admirable. We chatted about Mum’s life, of her adventures and exploits, her skills and her loves.

Remarkable and beautiful in itself.

And then, as Mum had been a churchgoer, they asked for some prayers. A huge privilege.


From our conversations, I now knew that the patient was a Nurse.
And that one of her daughters with her was a nurse.
And that other generations in her family were nurses.

The nursey daughter asked about removing the drip and cannula now that it had finished. It was the right time…and the Staff Nurse on duty agreed.

And then one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen happened.

The daughter, talking soothingly to Mum, gently – so gently – began to removed the tape, drawing the cannula from her mother’s hand, and handed it to the Staff Nurse.

A small, routine, mundane act: but somehow, the beauty of it made me catch my breath.

It would have been so easy to have ruined the moment.
An over-officious S/N working to the rules and jumping in.
A control culture which stripped the relatives of the ability to do acts of kindness for Mom.

But No. None of that.

Just the beauty of a loving act in the face of death performed by a generation of nurses past and present.

I am so aware of how my words can’t capture the beauty of this moment.

I wish you could have been there to see it.

It’s just that I was…

and I count it now as a prized moment; one to cherish, and I weep at its beauty.