Tag Archives: NHS

There Is No “I” In Team

Doctor, Patient, Clinic, Consultation

I keep on thinking about work. I am in a good place mentally about work at the moment. It can be extremely stressful and demanding at times, but right now, I am coping just fine with that. That’s not always the way. Some weeks, I am so exhausted I come home and curl up wishing that I never ever had to go back there.

Some times, I feel as if I end up doing all the least popular tasks. I don’t mind. I really don’t mind what I do at work. We are all part of a team. I have felt as if some of my teammates were just so stressed and under so much pressure more and more was being left for me to do. I am happy to sort out all the time-consuming, faffy, frustrating tasks and get paperwork finished off so the decks are cleared.

But over time, it has felt as if some of the team began to view it as my job to sort out the rubbishy tasks. I still don’t mind doing those tasks. But what I don’t like the idea is any of the team feeling there is some pecking order and they take on the more “glamourous” tasks. I don’t think anyone is doing it. But I do sometimes notice a spirit of “this is your job and that is my job”, whereas the truth for the most part is that we all need to be able to multi-task and be willing to do whatever is asked of us. Not completing tasks sometimes makes it harder for someone else to come along and work out what we have done and not done and fill in the gaps without a clue.

It’s not really a big issue….it’s just….the way I see it is that we are a team. I don’t believe in individual glory at all. I believe that as a team we work together. All have strengths, all have weaknesses. All are working hard. Some are particularly effective in tasks that mean we meet targets. My boss has sometimes singled me out because of the “results” I obtain in some areas. I feel uncomfortable with that, partly because of having a dislike to personal praise. But partly because I don’t want others to feel discouraged. I don’t want competition amongst the team. I perceive the team as a group of humans, with hearts, that might be close to breaking.

Doctor, Nurse, Healthcare, Hospital

We all have good days and bad days. We all need to be aware that sometimes our colleagues need a little more kindness, or more understanding. When we are tired, we get whingy and start to feel as if the odds are stacked against us, or we are working harder than everyone else.

I don’t know….I just love the people I work with. We have been under so much pressure and so much stress. But for me….I don’t think wages or glory compensate for kindness and love. Some of my colleagues might not see things that way. Some want a lot more than 1% as a reward for all their hard work. Others want to be given praise and verbal appreciation or perhaps promotion. We all want to feel needed. Everyone is needed. We just are different. As a team we are especially amazing. For most of the past year there has been a tremendously supportive spirit amongst the team. I want that to stay. I don’t want anyone to feel undervalued and unappreciated.

That’s one of the reasons why I guess I am happy to take on the rubbishy tasks – because that’s my way of saying to my teammates – you do the work you find more rewarding, I’ll do those annoying tasks no one seems to want to do. I’ll do them because they are part of the work we do as a team. They may be rubbishy….but we have to make sure they are completed as a team. But I am not doing them to win praise for doing rubbishy tasks. I am doing them because we are a team – and I want the team to be happy and enjoy their work. I don’t want anyone to dread coming to work, I don’t want anyone to go home feeling bitter. I want all to know that as a collective – we are really really remarkable – we have been all year.

What A Week!

I think….I think that this was probably one of the toughest weeks at work since the start when we were all baffled back in March 2020. It was real tough. I won’t tell you everything that happened – but I will say this – when your adrenaline levels are so high for so many hours for so many days – it is exhausting!!!

I have pretty much done nothing except sleep, work and tried to make time to eat. It has been intense and at times we felt like we had lost control. But even when things are a nightmare – we keep going. We keep going.

I was shocked to come home on Friday and to see a well-known billionaire being interviewed on the news by the staggering amount of money he has spent on launching a rocket into outer space. I found myself filled with annoyance. “GET REAL!!!” I thought to myself. There are so many people who need some help to cover their basic cost of living. Why is he wasting all that money on something so ridiculous?

Oh dear! I was so cross with him.

In other matters – it has become more apparent than ever this week because of what we have seen that the vaccine really is just one string of the bow. The vaccine, testing and social distancing will need to continue to work side by side for several months to come. You cannot have one without the other.

If you have had the vaccine or if you have already had the virus you will have some protection if you come into contact with the virus again. However, you can still breathe it in and carry it within your airways. You can still test positive for the virus. You can still carry it around in your nose and then breathe it on to another person who has not any protection because they have not had the virus and/or they have no antibodies because they have not had the virus before.

So for some months ahead – vaccines, testing and social distancing have to continue to work in tandem. We cannot abandon any of those yet. Never forgetting the basic foundation that we relied on throughout 2020 – good hygiene and quarantine for those who have symptoms – two basic foundation pillars of modern medicine which were recorded in the Mosaic Law over 3,500 years ago.

Please understand that we are in the eye of the storm. Do everything you know you need to do to keep yourselves and other safe.

Waiting For The Results

I spend one hour a week waiting – slightly anxiously. If you recognise the items in the picture below, you will have already guessed what it is I am waiting for.

Twice a week, patient facing NHS staff, care providers and other health workers take what many know as a Lateral Flow Test or a Antigen Rapid Qualitative Test to detect if we might be carrying …you know. If we test positive, we would be sent for a different kind of test that is more accurate.

So far my results have been negative, negative, negative. Looking at this picture you might be unsure because it looks as if the red line is between the C and the T, but if the camera was directly over the test cartridge you would see that it is on C – which means negative.

This is the new routine. I have not had any symptoms of the virus. But whether or not we have symptoms (as we know there are a lot of people who have the virus and have no symptoms) we still test and then we report the results on the government website. We are getting used to the new routine.

We have all had to do things we have never done before, we have all had to make small adjustments and major changes. We have all made sacrifices. We have all felt a little nervous. It is strange for us. Having a swab stuck up both of your nostrils twice a week and waiting for the results is not something I relish. But it is important. So is wearing that face mask, washing those hands and staying at home (unless you are taking your local daily exercise, picking up essential shopping or you cannot work from home – key workers certainly cannot!)

I think it’s obvious that many are feeling weary of the pandemic – but I promise you – any weariness you may be feeling is nothing compared to the way NHS staff feel after a shift of more than twelve hours on their feet and donned in full PPE, seeing people suffering agony.

So please….please stick at it. Stick to the rules. Don’t look for loopholes or look at other people who are breaking or bending the rules. Please just stay home and stay safe.

Protect Your Nearest And Dearest

Doctor, Surgeon, Hospital, Surgery

After a year of recognizing the hard work of the NHS and other key workers and with many millions, no billions having made many sacrifices, please be sensible today. I really shocked at the weekend when I realized I would not see my family at all, that I would not be able to see anyone at all on my days off because my support bubble (Jack) escaped London before the restrictions were announced. So today – I AM ALL ALONE! Believe me – I plan to make the most of it!!! I have books I want to read, and I have cleaning to do! It will be ok. I will be cooking myself a nice meal and keeping my spirits up. It is weird though hey!

Today there are many thousands upon thousands of people who are caring for very sick people in hospitals and other medical care facilities. Many of them will be working twelve hour shifts. There are always medical workers (and others) who work shifts on bank holidays. The health service is definitely a 24/7/365 enterprise. The work never stops. But this year, we have all been asked to take some sensible precautions to ease the pressure on a tsunami of work that has come along. We have been asked to play our part so that our health service does not have to make dire decisions on who can receive care and who cannot.

Please enjoy your time together, but be mindful that we need to protect each other. Please. Real love involves sacrifice. Please do everything sensible to protect your loved ones while still enjoying the temporary one-day lifting of restrictions.

#TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY CAREFUL

Thank You For Your Extraordinary Sacrifices

Sun Reflection, Color, Colorful, Background, Art

Throughout this year that has presented for some people unprecedented challenges that they have found hard, there have been some outstanding demonstrations of love and unselfishness and endurance. I have been so proud to be a little cog in the NHS system. I am proud of all my colleagues who have gone the extra mile and stayed late and gone without breaks and worn uncomfortable PPE all day – amazing!

Do make sure that if you are resting and relaxing and enjoying time with your nearest and dearest that take practical measures to stay safe. I know it is hard. But we don’t want you or your loved ones being carted in to the very stretched facilities we have. But hey the NHS is fighting for you! I have to say by the stacks of biscuits and chocolates that have poured in these past few weeks it looks as if local people appreciate it.

❤ Please stay safe. We love you. But we don’t want to see you in hospital. ❤

…to anyone who seriously believes this pandemic is a hoax – you must think that my colleagues and I are very odd people to be playing a game with everyone else! Nope – sorry – it is real. But the way you behave can make a difference.

❤ So please do! ❤

If I could record every act of love and unselfishness and extraordinary caring from those who work in the health service and many other key workers who were under pressure this year – that would be something extraordinary to celebrate. But what everyone in the NHS knows is that it is because of you, and you, and you, and you and all of us – quarantining/self isolating when we have symptoms or after travel, washing our hands, wearing those face masks and restricting the way we socialize that has made the biggest difference.

What an extraordinary and wonderful collective act of unselfish love! Thank you for every sacrifice and every considerate choice you have made. We are not out of the woods yet! But please remember – you make a difference.

❤ So please do! ❤

But please don’t undo the good of all the efforts and sacrifices people have made this year. Please don’t make even harder for the NHS. Please enjoy the holidays ahead while remembering that we are still in a very hazardous period. So please be careful. We want you to be as healthy and as happy as possible.

Letting My Hair Down

I love wearing my hair down. I love it. I have only been to a hair salon once this year – August, so my hair is very long again. This year I have worn my hair up, clipped tightly for work. It feels so strange. But we have to have our hair tied neatly for work.

I love coming home from work on Saturday and literally “letting my hair down”. It is such a great feeling. Jack will spend Sunday with me and then he is going back to his on Monday to get ready for his journey up to the Lake District. He is going to make the most of the time with them.

We will be connecting via technology during the week to come, but I am working right up until Thursday evening – so he can only catch me in the evenings.

I just want to say to all the lovely bloggers who are so kind to read and comment on my posts – work has been intense during December, this past week has been nuts. We are doing alright – as a team – but the pace is fast and furious. So I come home from work and just collapse. I know it is effecting the time I have to read your posts and comment – I am sorry if I appear unappreciative. I love the bloggers on WordPress. I have lots of CARAMEL’S CORNER Book Reviews in my drafts folder to finish off. They will resume in January.

For the next week or so…I am going to be working like crazy and then at the end of the week, I finally get to let my hair down for three days in a row!!!!!!!!

I’m A Useful Sort Of Person

Today, England goes into a month-long “lockdown”….but I am heading to the same place I have been heading to all year. I am walking to work, singing on the way to keep my spirits up, and then I really need to pick up a few groceries on the way home. Maybe, by the time I am home America will have decided what on earth is going on!

Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, has asked us another round of lovely questions in this week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/11/02/share-your-world-11-1-2020/

Questions:

Which meal is your favorite: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?

My favourites change all the time, but as the weather is getting colder I am enjoying making either spicy or herb-rich vegetable casseroles in large quantity and freezing them into individual portions, so that when I come home from work, I have a nutritious meal waiting without having to do lots of food prep.

Who do you admire most in the world?

I admire my parents for setting a wonderful example for all of their children.

I also admire the many amazing volunteers I have had the privilege of working with since I was sixteen. They are astonishing. People who work without a wage are really special. They have shaped my view of what I can do with my life.

With the obvious restrictions in place, what do you regret not doing in the last year?

I don’t really have any regrets. I have been working hard for the NHS. It’s been tiring, at times it was intensely stressful, but I am glad I could be useful and part of a large team helping others.

Sure, sometimes I thought it would be nice to be at home sunbathing or learning to play an instrument. But my boss said something to me back in the spring which I have thought about at times this year. She said to me, “You were made for a crisis. It’s as if everything you’ve ever done in your life is exactly what we need right now.”

That made me think of all the stressful demanding projects I have worked on as an unpaid volunteer. For years, I have worked in demanding conditions: I have worked 18 hours a day for two weeks to get projects finished off when we had a deadline, slept on hard floors, woken up before five o’clock in the morning to join the queue to use a basic shower (dozens of volunteers waiting to use the same shower and eaten what was provided for me (whether I liked it or not).

I have worked in several fields of healthcare, including terminal care, dementia care and mental health care. I have seen death. I have seen people pull through and make a recovery. I have comforted distraught family members. I have worked as a first aider on construction sites and at major events. I have worked as a security steward and had to evacuate thousands of people during bomb scares. I have had to calm down aggressive people and communicate clearly in numerous roles including customer services, security and diplomatic work. I have….been through an enormous personal trauma in my life and come through it with gusto. I can see that all of the above does contribute to me being fairly useful in a time of crisis.

I just think that my boss said the right words. What she said made me think, “Yes, I can be useful. The right place for me is helping the NHS right now.”

Please keep washing those lovely hands….observe social distancing restrictions….quarantine if you have any symptoms of the virus….and know that lots of people who are working for the NHS are genuinely lovely. We often do overtime even though we won’t get paid. We do that because it can make a difference to the patients and to each other as a team.

❤ WE ARE DOING OUR BIT. PLEASE DO YOUR BIT. ❤


GRATITUDE SECTION:  (Optional)

Feel free to share something you’re grateful for.  

I know you know how I feel already – but I am so pleased Jack picked up the phone over a year ago. I am thrilled with the resulting peace and purpose that has rolled in upon me since then.

Compliance

Mask, Surgical Mask, Virus, Protection

Back in the spring I heard a phrase on the news that I thought was valid. It was reported that one of the reasons the timing of social distancing restrictions was delayed in the spring was due to COMPLIANCE. How long would people cooperate with and obey what was being asked of them?

I can only relate what I have seen here in England, and the rest of UK. Now I know there have been a minority who were always going to do their own thing. They seem to think the virus is a hoax and that all the measures being taken are ridiculous. Why they think the government would try to cripple the economy if this was a hoax – I am not sure.

However, on the whole, the majority of people in this country did comply with social distancing requirements in the spring. Most people did what they were asked to, and I don’t think we should ever take that for granted. Most people were unselfish, self-sacrificing and creative in finding new ways to keep their spirits up despite the change in their routines and the restrictions on their freedoms. People knew this was serious and they wanted to do their part to make a difference. And they did!!!! It was very impressive and it made a big difference.

Face Mask, Mask, Coronavirus

During the summer months, restrictions were lifted. For some people life seemed to become more like their normal way of life. Seven months later and now in response to rising numbers of infections and hospital admissions, the government are once again bringing in restrictions. So far, they have been trying to do that in a more targeted, localised fashion.

Half of my family live in Wales. They are going into a full lockdown from Friday for a whole fortnight. But they are ready to cooperate with what is asked of them, as they have done all year.

If you have been watching the UK news, you may be aware that in some areas there does not seem the same level of cooperation as there was back in the spring.

Virus, Protection, Coronavirus, Woman

Now it is not my desire to call judgement on that. I work in the NHS, so I am mindful of the damage to physical health, but I am also very aware of how mental health is being stretched.

The concern over people’s livelihoods is a valid one and I am not willing to wade into a very sensitive situation. For those who are hard pressed economically or in debt, anxiety and stress can be a huge threat to mental and physical health. So I don’t think it can be ignored that after already losing income throughout 2020, some are extremely concerned about the prospect of their income suffering even more.

I am more worried about the conversations I have had with some of my patients and friends here in London. I have heard some strange things of late. Some are extreme. There is one patient who I dread seeing because he is so disdainful of everything to do with this virus. He insists it is a hoax, he accuses the government of all sorts of crimes (I am not a fan of politicians but I think this patient us unbalanced in his outlook) and he has gone so far as trying to physically remove our PPE and deliberately coughing to make it clear how he feels about the measures people are taking to protect themselves and other. I wish we could ban him from coming anywhere near us. But generally I prefer to deal with him speedily and efficiently so he can leave us and the rest of our patients in peace.

Bar, Restaurant, Coffee, Black Table

But then there are those who have just had enough it would seem of limitations being put on their social lives. Someone told me the other day that they had plans to go out for meals in restaurants pretty much every day the following week with different friends and family. They told me they would tell the restaurant that they were living in the same household – in other words, they were going to lie in order to be able to socialize freely with whoever they wanted. Right.

I totally understand anxiety over income and why that would make people feel the restrictions placed in certain areas are a further threat to their livelihood. I understand and empathise and I know that there is no easy answer to that issue. But I struggle to be as sympathetic with those who are willing to lie so that they can socialise with whoever they want That is not something I can approve of. The whole idea of a social bubble was to help life be bearable for those who are isolated. So get in a social bubble and stay in it. Claiming to a restaurant that you are in a social bubble with your fellow diner in regards to a dozen different friends is showing disregard for the tremendous sacrifices many are making.

People, Man, Travel, Adventure, Alone

When this person told me their intention I gave them a little food for thought. I mentioned that I had been reading a lot of posts from Canadian bloggers who reported being on their own for Canadian Thanksgiving for the first time in their lives. I asked this person, how do you think people in England would feel if they found themselves alone for Christmas for the first time in their lives?

This issue of compliance is a worry. I think the government do want to keep children and students in education. I think the government do want to keep most businesses open. So that leaves them with the activities that are classified as more under the umbrella of recreational or social, where they can bring in restrictions. The more people take liberties, lie about their social bubbles, just do whatever they want and try to find loopholes to justify their actions, well….everyone is going to pay for that.

Above all – whether you are working or playing – remember that the most effective measures we can take are:

  • WASH YOUR HANDS
  • DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE
  • SELF-ISOLATE IF YOU HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS OF THE VIRUS

and if the authorities where you live ask you to then please

  • WEAR A FACEMASK
  • COOPERATE WITH THE RESTRICTIONS ON SOCIALISING
  • KEEP A DISTANCE FROM OTHERS

This is all temporary. It’s hard but it’s temporary. When you are in the midst of a challenge, a trial, you may well wonder, “when will this end?” But when the hardship has ended you appreciate more than ever what really matters and hopefully you will have learnt to develop strong qualities.

Eye, Eyes, Face, Portrait, Woman, Girl

If you are struggling emotionally with the strangeness of this year, please be assured that is perfectly understandable. There is nothing wrong with you! These are challenging times and admitting that you are overwhelmed, or dealing with increasing anxiety is normal. But disregarding the measures being taken and deciding you are going to socialize with whoever you want to keep your spirits up is likely to upset others. Do keep talking though. Phone, email, blogging – it’s a good idea to keep in touch with those who seem balanced and practical when it comes to dealing with life’s challenges. Being completely alone with your worries can put you at risk. So connect, but connect with people who are responsible and wholesome.

Dear Stranger…

To the man who I served at work today…

I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to you. I was touched by your kind words. I thank you for being patient and waiting your turn with the other patients. I thank you for wearing a face mask and kindly responding to my reminder to keep a reasonable distance from the patient who was filling out paperwork before his procedure. I thank you for the twinkle in your eyes.

When you said that you thought I was awesome and commented that you had never seen someone stay so calm and efficient under pressure, it brought a little happy glow to my heart. When you said to me “Well done, we need people like you,” it was much appreciated. When you cheekily flirted with me and said that I had a beautiful voice, like an angel’s – well I have always thought of angels as big strong muscle bound men with gigantic wings – but I do realize you meant it as a compliment.

Anyway, I just want to say THANK YOU because it’s those little moments when people are kind and lovely that make my job worthwhile. They help me forget everything bad that has happened and try even harder to look after our patients in a way that knows we truly care.