Compassion is the key topic of conversation in the NHS of late following the Francis report both Nurses and midwives have been accused in News articles of not providing compassionate care to our patients.
Let’s just consider this for a moment, THE profession for caring and looking after the sick and vulnerable is being accused of not caring? Caring professionals are not caring? This is a huge issue. How have we got to a stage as a nation where this can be a realistic fear that we face? When our relatives are in the care of hospitals or maternity services it is reasonable to assume that they will be more than cared for, that they will be cherished and nurtured and looked after to the very best of the staff’s ability. How it saddens me that this isn’t the case in many places, hospitals and with some healthcare professionals.
It is a career path chosen with people only in mind. It is chosen specifically with CARING and LOOKING AFTER as the very embodiment of the role, to doctor or to nurse someone to health or to be ‘with woman’ are the very foundations of what I thought were everyone’s aspirations as a budding healthcare professional. One would like to think that you wouldn’t even be recruited into a health related course without showing compassionate qualities in your interview and in your characteristics. It is however becoming increasingly worrying that the focus of basic care is being somewhat overshadowed by the academics of our profession. Research and knowledge is imperative, I am not of course trying to suggest that they are not crucial to our roles but they are there to enhance the role and to make our basic care as good as it can possibly be.
Perhaps we all start of as compassionate individuals and are worn down by under-staffing, those ‘I haven’t even had time to wee let alone eat’ kind of shifts and the constant additional paperwork demands. It is no lie that NHS employees joke the job makes them cynical. How sad is that? As a midwife I have always felt, and hope that I continue to feel that my job is a privilege. A satisfying job does not come without some hard work and although it has its more challenging days and less challenging days I can always go home knowing that I have done something with my day that was worthwhile, that made a difference and that will have made the families I look after just that little happier. The idea that others may not naturally care for and have empathy for their patients not only offends me but is one that I struggle to understand. Everyone has bad days, of course they do, we all have busy shifts too when you tell your women ‘Of course I have time to do that with you’, knowing full well this means lunch is out of the question today then. I know that after days, weeks and months of working yourself to the ground like this it gets tiring and your enthusiasm wanes.
Your patients needs don’t.
They need us, they need our smiles, our enthusiasm, for us to simply CARE.
I hope that those healthcare professionals that give the NHS a bad name can clean up their heartless act and commit to their patients. How do we beg for more staff if we have these individual’s bad behaviour to explain?
Thankfully these are a minority.
To all of the hard working nurses, doctors and midwives out there. Keep at it, keep giving those patients the best as you love it when you get that ‘thanks you made a difference’ at the end of a shift. Maybe then the NHS can spend money on some extra staff rather than compassionate training?!
Things will have to get better it is just going to take time, and spread the compassion to your colleagues. I wish you luck, keep caring.