Tag Archives: make a difference

A Promise is a Promise

wedding rings

One Thursday 3rd November I celebrated my Silver Wedding Anniversary and consider myself lucky to be someone who has found his soul mate. So my mind went back to the promises we had made on that day which, in my own imperfect and flawed ways, I have kept. But my mind also went back to a few days before my anniversary, when I was called out to Critical Care. Here was another couple who had been together 25 years – first meeting whilst working for the Government under the Official Secrets Act – both with risky jobs. But now his wife was critically ill and about to die. When I met Ron [not his real name] he hugged me and wept profusely on my shoulder. “I love her so much!” he said. “We’ve been through so much together; I don’t know how I will live without her.” He told me about their life together; their love; and his heartbreak now- and then he asked me to do something: “Will you baptise me?” he asked. Ron explained that he had always promised his wife that he would get baptised but had put it off and off. He believed but there had always been something more pressing which prevented him from doing it. “Please will you baptise me in the presence of my wife while she is still alive.” So in a congregation of four, with the nurse from the Unit joining us at Ron’s request because she had been so kind, I baptised this man, on his profession of faith, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And then we prayed that God might welcome his wife as she embarked on the next stage of her journey. “See, I’ve kept my promise to you Darling. I’ve been baptised and you’ve been part of it.And with that, she slipped away. Heartbroken would be an understatement to describe Ron’s emotions, but he took some comfort that he had fulfilled the vow which he made to his wife in her lifetime and had kept his promise ‘til death did them part.

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PHEW! Robin Walker MP Praises Cancer Care in South Worcestershire

Honorary Good News Champion Robin Walker MP speaks about Cancer Care

Honorary Good News Champion Robin Walker MP speaks about Cancer Care

We had a scare last week. I’m not saying who or what but it involved a lump, a lot of worry and thoughts of cancer. Visions and pictures of unending months flashed across our eyes and then, in a flash, they were gone thanks to a speedy consultation and an all clear! PHEW! But, of course, we are well aware of others for whom the PHEW didn’t come. And who needed treatment. So it is with relief and pride that I received the post below from a local politician.

Now I know it’s a risky business publishing politicians’ words. Some with think I’m acting as a political mouthpiece! Some, naively that I’m being used; some that the words can’t be trusted.

And, of course, this blog is apolitical! But I can only speak as I find. And, irrespective of politics, I have found Robin Walker MP a friend of this blog, and a friend and supporter of Worcestershire Acute Trust and particularly of my hospital, The Royal, which is in his constituency.

In fact he was one of those who supported the blog when it was in its infancy and championed it- even becoming my first MP Guest Blogger. So here are some words and stats below from Mr. Walker. They show the amazing cancer care in South Worcestershire; care which I see day in day out at my hospital as well as elsewhere. It’s a good news story. This is a good news blog! Nuff Said!!

INTRODUCTION

Worcester’s MP Robin Walker met Macmillan earlier this week to discuss the new £24 million Worcestershire Oncology Centre at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and the direction in which the local Clinical Commissioning Group has embraced the Worcestershire Cancer Strategy it inherited from the PCT.

THE STATS

Robin has welcomed public figures that demonstrate South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group is performing better on cancer care compared to the improving English average performance on cancer care.
The Figures are publicly available from the Local Cancer Intelligence Toolkit which can be found via http://lci.cancertoolkit.co.uk/ – 9,600 people in South Worcestershire were living with and beyond cancer up to 20 years after diagnosis. This could rise to an estimated 18,700 by 2030. They show that the rate of diagnosis in the area is similar to the English average with 593 diagnoses of cancer per 100,000 people, but the mortality rate is lower with 264 cancer deaths each year, lower than the English average of 290. More detailed figures also show that the CCG is outperforming on breast cancer, lung cancer and urology.

Patient experience is also outperforming with 89% of people in South Worcestershire rating their cancer care as excellent or very good.

Robin campaigned as Parliamentary Candidate to keep head and neck cancer surgery at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and as MP has spoken up for both bringing radiotherapy to the hospital and in support of the Worcestershire Breast Unit campaign. He has supported the Government’s cancer drugs fund, which has delivered extra support to 55,000 people a year. He is a member of the APPG for Cancer and of the APPG for hospices and palliative care.

ROBIN SAYS:

REMARKABLE SURVIVAL RATES:

“It is remarkable how cancer survival rates have been improving in recent years. It is an enormous credit to our NHS and in particular; to the dedicated doctors and nurses who deliver care in our County that these figures have continued to improve and continue to beat an ever improving set of national statistics for England. Although these figures appear as bare numbers; they are in fact a representation of lives saved or made bearable, families supported and people cared for.”

PROUD OF WORCESTERSHIRE’S NHS
“I am incredibly proud of our NHS in Worcestershire and in addition, proud to keep fighting as Worcester’s MP for more investment and funding for it and proud of the amazing people who make it work.”

INSPIRATIONAL STORIES OF SURVIVORS

“I recall meeting with the head and neck cancer team at our hospital a few months ago and some of the patients in their support group whose lives have been saved. Their stories are an inspiration and demonstrate the incredible truth behind these statistics. Of course I appreciate that not everyone survives cancer and I am only too aware from bitter family experience that cancer still kills people before their time. However, it is an enormous credit to our NHS that the mortality rate both nationally and in Worcestershire continues to fall each year. Where people need end of life care we are incredibly lucky to have the amazing residential and outpatient facilities of St Richard’s Hospice and I will keep campaigning to support palliative care and the hospice movement.”

EXCITING FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS

“With the new radiotherapy unit due to open next year at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and the Breast Unit campaign making headway, there are exciting developments ahead for our local NHS and its visionary cancer strategy.

It is a credit to the South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group that they have maintained their focus on delivering this and kept the strong vision which was set out by their predecessors. It is positive that Macmillan have worked together with Public Health England and I would recommend that constituents look at these figures for themselves to see what a difference it is already making.”

*******************************************************************************************************************

So it seems again, that Worcestershire NHS is in good spirits. And lump or no lump, I for one am grateful!

SO INSPIRATIONAL THAT I GOT THE WRONG TRAIN HOME: #IND2014

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.

And it was INSPIRATIONAL

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 Woman’s Courage: Patient’s Teach Lessons about the 6C’s Too!

Courage comes in many guises

Courage comes in many guises


Courage comes in many guises. Immediately one thinks of the courage of our armed services in the theatre of battle. Or indeed the courage of those who face victimisation or oppression because of what they believe. In fact, in nursing at the moment, COURAGE is one of the 6C’s which combine to make outstanding care. But it’s easy to miss the attributes and virtues that relatives bring into our hospitals and which are inspirational.

Recently,I have seen COURAGE face to face in my Hospital.

So I was called to a ward and walked into the dimly lit side room and in the gloom made out two figures. A poorly and frail man in the hospital bed, and a woman sitting at his side holding his hand. She was his wife of 40 years, had been his carer for the last decade due to a stroke; and now, when his time was drawing near to leave this earth, was there at his side.

For hours on end, day after day, she would sit with him. When he slept, she rested. When he woke, she reassured him- bringing comfort and peace that no one else could.

And as we chatted, she told me about their life together: of the dogs and holidays; the good times and the bad; and all of it was infused with pragmatism and love. I visited that room a number of times; each time she was there doing what she could, not because it was expected, but because it was the right thing for them.

Now to have an illness yourself is often bearable. But to watch someone you love and are linked to go through something is, well at times, agonising. I did my best for this lady and man. I made her cups of tea; purloined some biscuits; gave her time to tell her story. But I couldn’t walk her journey; merely tread a few steps with her along the way.
She was, I believe, with him when he passed away; but if not- then he still would have known of the love which surrounded him.

We can learn a lot from books; a lot from colleagues; a lot from the internet.
But for me, if I want to know what courage is, I need look no further than this woman.

Now that’s courage.

Treading in the Footsteps of Others: A Chaplain’s Compassion

Others will follow your footsteps easier than they will your advice.

Others will follow your footsteps easier than they will your advice.

I used to play a game on the beach with my daughter when she was younger.
I would walk along the shoreline, barefooted in the wet sand, and she would follow me, trying her best to walk in my footprints and not leave a mark of her own.

It’s easy to think that we are IT isn’t it? Well it is for me at least!
The fact that we are here NOW is obvious. But many have trodden these paths before us, doing the job that we do, making a difference.
We really do stand on the shoulders of giants.

This was brought home to me by a recent email from a retired Chaplain who was a perdecessor of mine: Canon Lisle Ryder.

Lisle had seen mention of my blog somewhere and wrote to express his appreciation. He worked at Castle Street and Ronkswood before the new site and was instrumental in the spiritual care provision (including our lovely Prayer Room) at the present site of Worcestershire Royal Hospital until 2003.

And in amongst all that he went about his business of caregiving and compassionate actions.

Lisle sent me a beautiful poem with a short explanation, which for me sums up what the business of Chaplaincy and care in the NHS are about. It moved me; and I hope it does the same for you.He says:

“This is about Jim (I’ve used his real name). I had been with when his wife had a stroke and he was a wonderful support through her recovery. Later he was admitted himself as a patient and in the meantime his wife Isabel had died. He so much appreciated seeing someone who remembered her.

Jim

You look so pleased to see me
from far along the ward – Jim:
I recognised you after several years and,
returning after analgesia relieved the pain,
shared Communion. Christ’s love
which reminded you of the struggle
of Isabel. Memories re-enacting
that stroke which took so much.
I recalled her first words, that revealed her
Scottish – the long commitment you made
to her recovery. You took her home – risen.
Her life I remember vivid, but her death
is absence.
I left you sorrowful, but
somehow thankful for what we’d known, and shared
and treasured of Isabel – her courage, our faith
made new there at the bedside. Bread
and wine hallowed again and again – risen.

SILENCE! S’il Vous Plait

shhhhhh...

shhhhhh…

SILENCE IS S RARE COMMODITY – well in my life at least!
Here is Claudia’s story which inspired her poem.

Hello David,

My name is Claudia Waterhouse , I am French, I work in Endoscopy Department in Worcestershire Royal Hospital. Although I have seen you and I am a regular follower of your blog which I love ( I may add ), I have never really met you face to face until today and it was a real pleasure to meet you and the other two chaplains you were with and I hope I did not disturb you too much .
I am very continental and I love the art of talking, singing and laughing and after singing a Christmas song yet again last week one of my colleague who is lovely suggested jokingly that I should be gagged as I could never be quiet .
After this comment , an idea started to form , what if I did a sponsored silence for eight hours and donate all the proceeds to the Heart Foundation Charity?
Most of my colleagues thought I could never do it as I am a lively character but today Tuesday 4 th of February 2014 I succeeded to do eight hours of silence whilst at work ( in a non clinical area just for the day ) and it was challenging for me to do so .
The reason I am writing to you is to tell you how overwhelmed I am by people’s kindness and response to my sponsored silence and to tell you how amazing these people are. People from all areas such as my unit,Theatre, service point, path lab , ward, reception,chaplains, porter, family etc… donated and thanks to their kindness I have raised 104 pounds for The British Heart Foundation.
Whilst I was doing this sponsored silence , I noticed Also some people did not know how to react to my silence , some shouted louder thinking I was deaf which made me smile , others found it hard to communicate with me which made me realise how people with real disability must feel .In order to tell you how I felt I wrote a poem , and as promised to you today I am sending it to you.the title is ” look at me ”

Having restrained myself from speaking
In aid of raising money today for charity
I can see how some people are responding
To my “would be ” disability.

Some shout, others do not want to speak
I am feeling like a total stranger
Is it a lack of knowledge or fear that make them weak
For this I have no reason nor answer.

I am still the person that you know
My intelligence remains the same
Like you I have feelings of joy and sorrow
Your non communication is driving me insane.

Do not judge me on what you see
Take time to stop and notice the person in front of you
If only for a day in my shoes you could be
You would realise I want the same respect as you do.

We are all humans and we are just one race
Trying to live this life of beauty
I want to be loved , I want to feel safe
Regardless of my creed, colour or disability .

A big thank you to you and your colleagues David for donating and taking the time to listen to me .

With many thanks again and kind regards

Claudia Waterhouse

If I’m ever ill, it’s the Alex for Me!

I'd Choose the Alex!

I’d Choose the Alex!

Recommendation is the highest praise.

And I was delighted to get this comment from Mr. Haywood prioritising the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch over another place.

No need for exhaustive comments, just read what he has to say!

“Dear Ms D Narburgh (Matron)

Please could you convey to all the staff on ward 6 (Cardiac), my sincere Thanks for the treatment I received during my stay. Sister Kat and her staff at all times were caring and attended to all my needs and nothing was too much trouble.

All staff were courteous and respectful of my privacy, my stay at your hospital, although I was seriously ill the care I received was second to none. I work at the Queen Elizabeth hospital, and if ever I’m ill in the future my choice of hospital to be cared for would be the Alex.

Once again

Thank You keep up the good work.

Mr Mark Haywood”