photo ref: NHS Employers http://www.nhsemployers.org/howareyoufeelingnhs
As a frequent visitor to any of the NHS knows, over time you get to see the same staff and sometimes the same patients. I’m such a frequent visitor that I even have my own parking permit now!! I’m beginning to recognise the same people as I make my way about the hospital.
The first time I encountered this member of staff, she was quite upbeat, smiling and engaging in conversation with me. This was at my very first visit to that particular part of the NHS so I felt ok, I was nervous, but her manner relaxed me and made me feel that I would be ok, this was a good place to be, the staff were nice and I’d be looked after – all that from a few pleasantries and a smiling, welcoming face. She was having a good day.
A week later – what a change! Same member of staff, no pleasantries, no smiles, usual obs undertaken in relative silence except for the necessary instructions. Silently she shuffled off – crikey even her body language and the way she moved was different, I was even beginning to wonder if I should as if she was ok!! She came back with an apron on, gloves and a trolley armed with all sorts of things. Now I knew why I was there and this equipment didn’t look right, alarm bells were ringing in my head and a shot of fear ran down my spine! What was happening, had my treatment changed, maybe my diagnosis was now much worse – all of this and more went through my mind in a nano second. I went from feeling ok to definitely not feeling ok. When she asked which arm I normally had my cannula in, I realised that something was wrong.
Now at this point I could have been meek and mild and gone along with it, but I spoke up and explained that I didn’t think I needed and cannula for the treatment I was having. Her response was blank and she shuffled off. My husband muttered something akin to “What a shambles this is”. A few seconds later another nurse appeared and from there I got the treatment I needed. At best the first member of staff was on the go slow, just going through the motions, following instructions, this is what we normally do, not really paying attention either to me or the info about my care. At worse she was having a bad day and didn’t really care. Either way it impacted on patient care.
This was one small, minor incident, but how often does this happen, how often does the emotional state of our NHS staff impact on our patients. We can’t all have good days all the time I know that, but now I’m a patient, I need the staff to help me to have a good day when I feel awful or in pain, or worried, I don’t need them to add to my worries.