Evening clouds

Evening clouds
Sunshine and Clouds

Friday, 3 November 2017

The NHS as I see it just now

This feels a little tough to write; my lovely energetic mum has acquired a chest infection that's making her very ill so she's now in hospital with the NHS team doing its best to help her. We've visited  three clinical areas after A and E, and at the time of writing mum is in the ITU having supportive ventilation. 
An impressive array of clinical staff have been involved in delivering her direct care supported by a larger army of support workers and those whom we'll never see. 
My observations -
  • #HelloMyNamesIs has not penetrated everywhere yet which feels disappointing though there have been many who have introduced themselves and wanted to know and use our family's names
  • Car parking fees are crippling unless you're eligible for a special deal so ITU admission will save us money (mercenary on my part I know, and I wonder how those with lower incomes manage)
  • There's a great focus on finding out about the person needing care and including us in conversations about options for care such a DNACPR
  • All this work is being supported by people who are from around the world as well as those locals who are living down the road having been born in the same hospital 
  • Limitations on immigration (and the current drop in nursing numbers linked to Brexit) will have dramatic impact in the near future 
  • Outsourcing to private companies is increasing; depriving trainee GPs of pay for example; ward cleaning and catering have gone the same way and only personal teamwork based relationships ensure smooth working
  • Busy staff can seem uninterested however we don't know how long they been at work that day nor what they have had to deal with so far 
  • Cooperation with the caring team helps even in the times of uncertainty
  • The gift of a cup of tea or coffee is a sign of caring for individuals and is much appreciated; however if providing tea and coffee making facilities please make it easy to find cups and water for the kettle; we're happy to do the rest
  • The estate is often old and can look rough; even so I saw signs that reuse, refurbishment and rebuilding is going on. That said toilets out of use for some days because the drains are blocked is not good and symptomatic of the privatisation relationships 
  • A and E queues for ambulance teams are so wasteful of all those resources; let's put money into getting people home and supporting them there
  • Link the technology; observations made on one ward and recorded via the handheld device cannot be seen on another ward (?) after transfer. Hand written notes mean we have to repeat the stories
  • Please be prepared to repeat instructions to dazed and anxious visitors like the cheerful security desk lady did
  • Nursing - so much technological expertise required and this needs mixing with empathy and genuine communication; that combination will win the trust of the person in your care as well as their loved ones
Overall I've been deeply impressed with the dedication and commitment of those we've come across; the NHS is an institution that comes in for criticism too easily too often and what I've seen today shows a multi-faceted, multi-talented, multi-national workforce freely available to do their best for those in need. This is to be applauded and protected; it is something that our family is immensely grateful for.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Rabbits, rodents and running

Pounding the local footpath this morning I was reflecting on my career and what I'm up to now. In part this was started by Anne Cooper's blog on moving away from the bedside to other roles, though still being part of the nursing community. Her description of the comments Anne got when taking those steps echoed some of my experience though being a different gender I suspect moving to where I am now fulfilled expected stereotypes; even so when at the bedside I was often asked why I was not a doctor as if I was being wasted as a nurse.
Time has moved on though there are now calls for more men to join nursing; I hope they do and are able to enjoy the range of experiences and opportunities that nursing presents.
What else was going through my head on my run? Having managed in hospices I recalled a recent conversation about what I'd been responsible for that seemed very tangential to patient care. That's where reducing invading rabbits from a Grade 2 listed garden and dealing with rodents who're trying to invade the rubbish bins comes in. Meeting pest controllers and ferrets all part of the tapestry of my professional journey.
The running has become a larger part of my life now; alongside that is a recognition that I'm fortunate to have been paid during my Nurse training and supported by employers to gain a first and Masters degrees along the way. 
And in the here and now of 2017 we see more evidence of the financial difficulties many face, particularly in roles such as nursing. In October 2017, being the 10th month, many nurses supported by others are raising money to help the Cavell Nurses Trust; they support nurses who have money troubles. 
For me, I'm a bit too late to get to 10k running for October, though the app I'm using tells me I'm over halfway to 5k as a run. So I'll be helping consume some of the 10k calories at a cake fest/feast then joining the inspired 10k walk around Birmingham’s canals at the end of the month. Whatever your experience of nursing, whether as part of the profession or as someone who has received nursing care I hope you'll sponsor one of us in our #10kForNurses endeavours; you can sponsor me via my JustGiving page for the canal walk, thank you.