Tag Archives: nursing

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!

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I Just Can’t Imagine It…On the Loss of a Baby

No footprint is to small to leave its impact on the world

No footprint is to small to leave its impact on the world

I JUST CAN’T IMAGINE IT…I’VE TRIED BUT I CAN’T!

I have three teenage children and life is often chaotic, but I wouldn’t be without them – even on the worst of days. And whilst, like many of us, we have had our fair share of tragedy, we are all still here.

But really I can’t begin to imagine what it is like for the mother, carrying her baby for so long, to lose this little one. And what it must be like for dad, or grandparents, or family and friends.

To be confronted with the loss of a fragile little life seems cruel; no, it is cruel. And as much as I try, I can’t put myself in that place.

But I can imagine the treatment I would want from the health professionals around me in a situation like this. I want medical competence, of course. But I want understanding and compassion and sensitivity and care.

This is a big ask anywhere. Who is up to such a task?

Well, I received a most moving letter from someone whose daughter had just lost a baby and was care for on Lavender Unit at Worcestershire Royal Hospital. Did they receive such treatment? READ ON:

“I am writing to you as I note you wish to hear of the wonderful work done at the hospital.

My daughter was cared for over six days whilst she sadly suffered a late miscarriage on Lavender Ward recently.

Every single member of staff we encountered was outstanding in their dedication to their very difficult work. Not only do such circumstances demand the highest level of medical care, but also a clear understand of very complex emotions.

Firstly, the cleaners. They were just so lovely as they unobtrusively appeared and kept [N’s] room beautiful- their level of attention to detail and kindness was wonderful.
Then the Health Care Assistants- so discreet and careful as they made sure my daughter was comfortable and was eating enough to keep her energy up.

And the doctors and consultants, of whom there were many, and yet the consistency of approach and continuity of care was outstanding. Their skills and compassion created an atmosphere of confidence and most certainly diminished my daughter’s most extreme fears.

And, of course, the nurses. I lost count of how often I saw them work beyond their designated shift times to ensure [N’s] wellbeing. Their clear knowledge and understanding of her circumstances, and their swift action at the most difficult times exemplified the very best of human endeavour.

Not only that, but everyone working on the ward showed such care and concern for me and for my daughter’s partner.

Since her discharge, I would also like to pay tribute to the Bereavement Services from the Hospital who visited [N] and her partner at home. Their visit coincided with a very hard period for her – one of those days when it is easy to be overwhelmed by sadness and loss. The visit visibly lifted both of them, allowing them to express their deepest thoughts and to receive exactly the right comfort to sustain them as they adjust to their lives.

I have written to the ward, but saw your request on the website. It’s so important, especially in our negative media-led times not to overlook the everyday work of the highest levels of professionalism which goes on in our Hospitals.”

[Name and Address Supplied]

Christmas @ The Royal: AMU, BEECH & MATERNITY

From Worcester News. 30th December 2013

From Worcester News. 30th December 2013

I had great fun putting this article together with my friends and colleagues and want to thank Tarik Al Rasheed from the Worcester News for widening its focus. Here is the full blog which I composed.

OK, let’s face facts. No one really wants to be in Hospital at all, let alone at Christmas. The season seems to speak loudly of fun, and jollity, and the TV wants us to think that everyone is having the most special and enjoyable time of their lives. We all know it’s a fiction, but we still buy into it.

But for many people Christmas will be different this year. They will be spending it in Worcestershire Royal. So is it just another day at the office for the Nurses? Well, let them tell you in their own words. This is nursing; recognising the patients’ needs at whatever time of year, and meeting them with professionalism, compassion and care.”

ALISON DAVIS- MATRON FOR SURGERY

Alison Davis is Matron for Surgery and has been nursing for 30 odd years (although she doesn’t look it!). She reckons she must have worked more than 20 Christmas days in her career and she loves it.
“Of course, most of the patients who can go home are discharged, but for the patients who remain on the wards the staff pull out all the stops and go the extra mile. It’s wonderful to see how the staff are always putting themselves out, making the patients feel as relaxed as possible. This year, of course, we will be putting up our decorations on the Beech Unit and on Christmas Day the patients will have their Christmas Meal with a cracker and lovely Christmassy napkin, and be given a present from us. It really is lovely to see the staff so happy as well.”
Alison and the staff are well aware that Christmas can be a sad time for some. “Invariably on our wards there will be people for whom this Christmas is the first one on their own, having had the sadness of losing their spouse, but the staff do their bit and offer some and love. And we can always stretch to getting those who are well enough to go home for a few hours for the day.”
Matron’s favourite Christmas story is from a few years back, in a different place. “A young boy had been in a Road Traffic Accident. He had been unconscious for a few days and it just so happened that Carol Singers came around the ward; and whilst singing “Away in a Manger” the young boy woke up.”

ANITA CUPPER- MATRON FOR MEDICINE

Anita Cupper is Matron for Medicine. She too has long experience in the NHS and has had worked more than 15 Christmases- and despite being off this year she will come in on Christmas Day and wish all her patients on the Acute Medical Unit (one of the busiest wards at Worcester Royal with 900+ patients per month) a “Merry Christmas”. Again there will be decorations and gifts for patients on a ward which will be fully staffed. Anita, described by her colleagues as a “whirlwind”, said that the ward will be full of happiness and cheer, although is well aware that there will be some people who have no family or visitors. “It is up to us provide that family element which some patients will be lacking,” she says with passion. “After all that is what nursing is all about. If Christmas is about anything it is about believing you can make anything happen!” Senior Sister Ruth Clack overhears us talking and shares her Christmas story. “One Christmas Eve I admitted a patient who came in very poorly. The Medic thought his chances of surviving were slim and I stayed late to transfer him to the Intensive Care Unit. I was delighted to see him back with us three days later and he had three good years more of quality life.” But perhaps most touching, Ruth told me that on the day that he died, “the patient’s wife phoned me to tell me the news and how much I had meant to the family. This was a while ago but it’s funny what you remember.”

PAM JONES- MIDWIFE AND MIDWIFERY MANAGER

The maternity unit at Worcestershire Royal is a special place, and with all the hype of Christmas you would be forgiven for thinking that it was the centre of Christmas in the Hospital. After all we have all seen the TV programmes on Christmas Day from Maternity Wards celebrating Christmas Babies, and the ward at Worcester often has the local radio station phoning up on 25th December asking “if they have enough hay and hot water.”
“But mostly for us it is a normal working day,” says Pam. “We enjoy working at Christmas, and it is a privilege to be involved with bringing new life into the world, but our main aim is to help the women deliver their babies safely, efficiently and in as comfortable a way as possible as with every day. Once the baby is born, the family want to get them home as quickly as possible and we do our very best to facilitate that. We do, of course, recognise it as a special time of year and celebrate it. And this year the Community Champion at ASDA in Worcester has kindly donated some festive baby clothes which we will give to each family, along with a little gift for each baby.”

REV DAVID SOUTHALL- CHAPLAIN

“There is a buzz about the hospital at this time of year, like there is everywhere else, which in some ways makes my job more challenging. So there are times of great sadness, when families need a supportive and sympathetic person to be with them for a spell; and times of great joy which are worth a celebration. The hospital is life writ large, but to be there for people in sorrow or joy is an enormous privilege. I take my hat off to all the staff working over the Christmas period. I can assure you that you will have the same level of professionalism and support as at any other time of the year and staff will continue to go the extra mile. So my thoughts and prayers are for peace this Christmastime wherever people are and whatever the challenges they are facing.”

“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!
AND SO I PAUSE TO REFLECT ON THE ENORMITY OF HOW OUR WORK INTERWEAVES WITH REAL THE LIVES OF OTHERS.

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!

FROM LINDA FENTON: AUDIOLOGY SECRETARY AT THE ALEXANDRA HOSPTIAL

“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]”

FROM LIZ WILLIAMS: VOLUNTEER CO-ORDINATOR

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.”

MISS RABIA IMTIAZ: CONSULTANT OBSTETRICIAN AND DRAGON BOATER WRITES THIS:

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.

CAROLINE ARTIS WRITES IN PRAISE OF MISS DUCKETT
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

FROM STAFF NURSE KATHRYN NORWOOD LAUREL 2 IN PRAISE OF A COLLEAGUE

“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

Thanks
kat.”

AND FINALLY, A BEAUTIFUL MESSAGE IN A BEAUTIFUL CARD TO S/N DEBBIE CAHILL ON CHUSTNUT WARD “JUST TO SAY THANK YOU!”

“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 KILL THE GOOSE WHO LAYS THE GOLDEN EGGS! Praise for A&E

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.

AND THE AWARD GOES TO…

Shining star awards

I was privileged to attend the Annual Staff Achievement Awards at Worcestershire Acute Trust the other Friday. More than that I was honoured to receive an award from the Chairman for the Chaplain’s Blog presented by Robin Walker MP.

But what thrilled me the most was being in the presence of colleagues who gained awards for remarkable professionalism.

Each award was trailed by a video clip of the nominees saying what it would mean to them to win and how important it was.

Like Frank, the 94 year old Volunteer who three days a week takes the paper and sweet trolley around the wards. He comes in at 8:30am as regular as clockwork, and makes a huge difference. “I’d be gobsmacked if I won!” he said. And win he did, with the biggest cheer of the night. I bumped into him with his trolley the day afterwards, and when I congratulated him he said, “Well I just enjoy doing it and used to do it 5 days a week but have had to slow down.” Slow down!!! At 94 Frank could run most of us into the ground.

Or Marsha Jones, Sister on Ward 11 at the Alexandra Hospital, who said: “I may not be the best mom, or the best wife, but I am the best nurse!” How fantastic to care about nursing so much that it becomes part of your identity. Striving every day to do the best for patients.

Or my friend, Julie Poultney, Antenatal Screening Co-ordinator, who collected her award for Midwife of the Year with tears streaming down her face. Those people who have been told devastating news about their unborn baby are in safe hand with Julie.

So much more could be said. Of the Trust Board and senior management who help staff aspire; of the sponsors who funded the event; of those who were nominated, of those who day in day out, without any recognition, do outstanding work.

And so I can assure you, that staff at your hospitals really do care passionately about their work, and about the care they give. And you are in safe hand when you come into Worcestershire’s Hospitals.

AND SO THE AWARD GOES TO… well you tell me. Comment on my blog; give praise where it is due; let me know about your good news stories from our hospitals; and recognise the compassion and care of our health care professionals.