Small actions that make a big difference

This is an extract from a blog by Samantha Jones. It recounts the visit of Kate Granger to Watford Hospital:

“One of my previous blogs for the Trust talked about Kate Granger (@grangerkate), a third year elderly medicine registrar who is living with a rare and aggressive type of sarcoma that will end her life prematurely.  We were lucky enough to have Kate visit Watford Hospital yesterday & talk to the Friday Grand Round about her recent experiences as a patient and how.. #hellomynameis .. came about and why.

There were over 250 people who came to listen to Kate, standing room only and I have never heard a room be so silent and so still.  Kate talked about how the news of having cancer was broken to her, how it felt and the impact of the way she was spoken to and the kindness of the oncologist who was with her.

She talked about how she was told the cancer had spread and how the junior doctor ran out the door having given her the news, when she was alone and left her there and the psychological damage it has left her with.

She talked about how the surgeons stood up over her bed following her surgery and how demeaning it felt and how the power relationship plays out in these situations and the impact it can have by doing something differently.

Kate talked about the porter who was kind to her, who introduced himself and who did everything he could to avoid the bumps in the corridors as he knew she was in pain.

Kate talked about how the simple words of..#hellomynameis and “I am looking after you today” when a nurse came on to a new shift, changed the atmosphere in the ward and made the patients automatically feel safe, looked after and cared for.

She talked about how the simple things make such a difference.  Someone holding a hand, sitting down and looking as if you have all the time in the world; someone asking if there is anything else they can do for you.  None of these things cost money but make the biggest difference to a patient.

Kate also talked about how she made a decision to “get on the positivity boat” as doing anything else wasn’t an option when faced with the news she & Chris, her husband had received.

Kate talked about her passion for the NHS, how her work as a doctor defines her and how she is committed to working for as long as she can providing the highest quality of care for her patients.

As a doctor, Kate will undoubtedly make a big impact on her patients as she is kind, thoughtful, compassionate and takes time to discuss things.  Watching her have a passionate conversation with Dr Tammy Angel, our Clinical Director for Elderly services gave me insight into the kind of doctor she is.

However, the impact that Kate had to the people she tweets ( over 16,000 followers), the people she is meeting through her talks; the 250 people she met yesterday at West Herts will be the biggest legacy she leaves as a doctor and for the patients we all come into contact with.  I, for one, have been very honoured to spend time with Kate and will commit through this blog to following through on the things she talked to us about.

So if you are reading this thinking it doesn’t apply to you or you don’t have time.  You do.  This is what working in the NHS is all about.

Its the little things that make a difference…& #hellomynameis.. is one example of this.  Simple, powerful and very effective.”

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