Helping one another – and washing feet 👣

As a midwife I try to be amenable to others within my place of work 

I see helping others as offering help , making a cup of tea for them, checking they have had a break and making sure they are going home on time, sometimes staying behind to help them . Helping and supporting also means recognising when someone seems a bit stressed or not their usual self . This may manifest in the way they speak or a lack of interaction – we as midwives should be teaching future midwives how to recognise body language and verbal cues from co-workers as this will help us recognise the same in the women we care for . 

Asking someone “are you ok now?” As you walk out of a room away from them does not help them to reply or interact – it is your opinion and in fact rhetorical – if you are leaving them with significant work to complete so that you can return to something less important you should consider whether your action or inaction is in fact “teamwork” or “colleague centred support” as I call it 

We also need to consider that leaving  a woman in labour in a room or a woman who is just starting her first breastfeed is in fact not teamwork either – the woman and family  are also part of the team 

What I’m trying to say is help one another – it’s a good feeling to complete notes with a colleague for the good of the woman . The midwife you’re helping will have more time to be “with woman” . Care is not just physical it’s emotional , psychological and care is record keeping , cleaning , preparing a new space for the family – it’s making toast , hugging a colleague and care is a way we show love kindness & compassion to others 

So the next time you go into a room to answer a buzzer for a woman or a midwife who is with women don’t presume in your mind “they’re ok now ” and walk away look at the full picture – ask with direct eye contact “how else can I help you my friends?” Enter into the room take stock of the situation and use positive body language and a happy face 

The next time you arrive to your shift make sure the person you are taking over from knows you are there to relieve her at the end of her shift – be helpful “I can finish that ” give the other midwife  your full attention and let the family see your kind heart. 

If we give and display consideration to others each and every day we can only make things better within the NHS 

The other day I met a women who was very stressed and she had been in hospital unable to have a proper wash (by this I mean bath or shower ) for three days – I remembered my nurse tutor Mrs Valentines words from 1980 when I started my nursing “cleanliness is an intrinsic part of physical & mental well being” so I asked the woman if she would like to wash her feet – she was thrilled and in fact I washed her feet – she opened up to me about her stress and said it calmed het down & she relaxed for the first time for days . I HAD made time to do this – it took 15 minutes – the discussion we had also helped the Drs to understand more about her condition. The woman also laughed when a Dr came in to see me kneeling on the floor drying the woman’s feet. She said it was the first time she’d laughed for days – it was SO worth it . 

I’m not too proud to wash someone’s feet – I’ve been in the NHS over 35 years and know that this act is not just about the ‘feet’it’s about getting to know the woman I am caring for – so symbolically it’s important that we all wash each other’s feet on a regular basis be kind to colleagues be kind to women be kind to families 

Thank you for reading 

Jenny ❤️

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