r – Evolution in the NHS is happening right now 

Let’s go right back to 1980 the year I joined the NHS . I was a student nurse . My first ward was E1 a male surgical ward which was run like a tight ship. The captain was the sister and she ruled the seas – quite literally especially when I flooded the ward because I’d left the metal bed pan steriliser running during a ward round !!! 💦💦The consultant was paddling in his leather shoes, his trousers suspended at half mast like sails  – he never spoke to me but I was told off , humiliated and belittled. I wonder if that’s when I first saw the value of humour at work ?  Because suddenly the patients adored me ! Fast forwards 33 years to 2013 , you’d think I’d have learnt my lesson ! A busy shift and I was working on the beloved birth centre , women were spilling  into it because the delivery suite (a term I do not like – birth ward would be better) was full . A midwife friend asked me to keep an eye on the birth pool she was filling and I forgot as the woman I was with was overflowing with oxytocin and gave birth . So the best thing I hear is someone shouting ‘flood!’ Oops a daisy – run outside the woman’s room (not the room or my room – take note!) to find Mr Amu our lovely consultant standing in water laughing at me and saying “how do we sort this ?” My friend Carol the cleaner in hysterics with me as we rallied water suction machines , towels , sheets ANYTHING to stop the water moving further . Do you see the difference between 1980 and 2013 ? Now those of you who know me well know I’m a joker as I regularly shout to lovely Carol the cleaner “quick I’ve had another water incident !” Of course I’m joking and of course we laugh out loud and Carol tells me off – giggling . 

The evolution is happening because  as the years have passed social media has been accepted as a form of communications and is effective connecting more staff and service users than emails and/or phone calls. However much more than that NHS staff can find out what’s happening (or not as the case maybe) either within their own trusts or in other trusts they may never ever visit or work at . By sharing evidence, good practice  , learning from others and communicating openly we are slowly stamping out poor practice and improving quality . Patients talk to staff within an open forum , staff read more articles and are constantly trying to improve the patient experience . 

For me I think the lightbulb moment has been that I can make a difference , I can challenge practice and I allow myself to keep learning, growing and connecting . I’ll take you back to 1980 – all I knew was where I worked – now I see so much more-  and the wonderful people I’ve met on social media ? Well we would have never met ! So thank you social media from the staff and families of the NHS.

Let’s keep on evolving 
Thank you for reading 

With love  , 

Jenny ❤️

“it just might just be you”

hope this poem gives you a view
To be kind to others & to yourself be true 

Hospitals, clinics & community work

Its fellow humans you’re caring for so please don’t shirk 

They need your love,passion, time & explanation  

Please focus on the way you give communication 

Consider your language & the way you speak

Empathy is strength , it does not mean you’re weak

Holding a hand & reassurance ain’t just talk 

Its shows through your eyes – means your walking the walk  

The person you are caring for is a human other

-a sister, brother,friend,father, mother

Be mindful of their thoughts and the way  they might be feeling

From an illness or accident that’s left them reeling 

Treat and approach colleagues with zero hierarchy 

collaboration doesn’t support any of that malarkey 

See the whole human, not  just the condition

Be holistic and please let this be your sole mission

Allow care,competence, kindness to guide you through 

As one day that “person”  – well it just might be you 

@JennyTheM 

Dedicated to my mum Dorothy ❤️ you gave me courage 

I really care about kindness to others and I want others to feel it /share it  

 /learn it . I also want people to see courage in action in their working lives. Life throws some hard stuff at us doesn’t it ? We cant always choose how we begin our lives. 

As a midwife I know that skin to skin contact at birth or afterwards can improve & help to concrete the mother child bond . 

 I’m not trying to upset anyone by harping on – it’s just that I’ve had emails letters and cards from women who had skin to skin contact against all odds and how this small thing that is SO huge impacted so positively on them    – I try to focus on one family at a time and this gets me through my working day – patience with myself / patience with others – however courage is a huge part of me and here’s why …

If my beautiful mum had not contracted cancer , if she had not told me time and time again “I want to die at home” I would not be who I am today – this realisation has taken me years ! 

I have always (and always will)  do my best to step back & see the whole person – not their condition / status / experiences as separate entities but in fact parts of the jigsaw that makes them individual and unique .

 I was 17 years old almost 18 – at sixth form college studying Art /Ceramics & English Lit & Language – totally hooked by Shakespeare and clay , living a normal teenage life at college but at home helping my dad to run his newsagents shop because my mum was becoming less able to . I missed a few deadlines for “essays”  & was summoned to Head of English Dept & after a brief telling off I was “removed” from A level English Literature course  . I was devastated – this was my escape from life – poetry / romance / words / inspiration taken from me in one cruel blow – but I didn’t say to  my teachers “my mum is dying – she hasn’t  got long – help me ” I just carried on and went home and cried . At home I couldn’t ask my dad to help me – his heart was breaking – no one in my family had ever “gone to Uni” what was more important me or my mum ? I accepted my fate . 

I nursed my mum at home until she died -the district nurses taught me how to fill charts in and turn her from side to side so that new soft sheets could be placed under her motherly body – I learnt fast as I wanted to make my mum happy as this made me happy –  seeing her smile at me was priceless . I had finished my A levels and was waiting for results so I was free to be her carer whilst dad ran the shop and my sister Barbara (15) went to school . 

“Our mum” Dorothy fell asleep with me & Barbara lying beside her . It was September 22nd 1978 at 6 pm -she was 53 years young – she’d  lost the ability to speak because of the radiotherapy and brain tumour . She didn’t wake up – it was calm and peaceful – we didn’t scream out we felt happy . Her wish to die at home had been granted -we didn’t realise that  the hard part had only just begun. My mum was courageous – she knew she was going to die and she accepted that .I hardly ever heard her moan about it and she kept a strong smile for her family – I have only just started to appreciate that her courage inspires me through my own life . 

I have missed my mum every single day of my life since then – but I have also thanked her for the times I remember – her encouraging me to do impersonations from being young , her love of baking rubbed off onto me . I recall holidays at Butlins & Pontins with her & my sister  – my dad unable to leave the shop so he couldn’t come with us – what a treat an all girls holiday in the 60s ! We giggled all week and had angel delight & jelly pudding in the “chalet”.  Memories like going to see The Sound of Music , visiting Hornsea Pottery and also her perfume Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps(which I used to secretly pinch) live on with me  – her love of Shirley Bassey Click HERE for one of her favourite songs -This is my life and Elvis Presley  “Return to sender” that she used to sing whilst washing up Watch here she forged memories within me that I treasure every day ❤️

One day after my mum’s death a friend Sophie – who was an enrolled nurse said to me “why don’t you apply to be a nurse ? You were great with your mum and that way you can care for others like you cared for Dorothy” 

Sophie I don’t know where you are today but  “thank you so much” as without your words I would have floundered on what to do which career path to follow  – I became a nurse , then a midwife and I’ve never looked back – very occasionally I’ve imagined my life with my mum getting older and me as a famous potter which I what I wanted to do   – art & ceramics . Instead I work in the Art of Midwifery and I have two amazing children that I value & cherish – so when you read my story & realise there’s more to me than skin to skin – I’d like you to try and see that everyone’s story is different – life makes us who we are for a reason –  try to help others as much as you can -this will improves your quality of life 

I wonder what my mum would say if she could see me now ? 

This blog is dedicated to “Our mum” Dorothy Guiney née Graham 22.2.1925 – 22.9.1978   A wonderful woman, mother,sister,auntie, wife and friend 💛