Have your say!
In these shorter posts we invite readers to share the things they would most like to say, to colleagues, to patients, to friends and family, to society, to the political paymasters about their professional roles.
See our ‘contribute’ page for further details. We welcome short opinion perspectives from you of up to 350 words. What would you like to say? Email us.
Friday 12th July 2019
You are the best kind of leader there is.
You work harder than any of us and inspire us to try to match that effort.
You trust us to do the right thing at the right time and in the right way, and when we do you say thank you. If we don’t, you ask if there is a reason.
You assume the best of us and we want to prove you right.
You are humble, respectful and kind.
You are honest, give good notice of what is happening and check that we are on board.
Your communication is clear, straightforward and without hidden agenda.
We think you are amazing but you think we are; we are equals in all things.
You are generous and share credit where it is due.
You are passionate about your job but it isn’t the only way of defining who you are.
You would rather be one of the crowd than the boss, but you step up to the role of lead with responsibility and servitude.
You are the first in and last out, and are not above emptying the rubbish.
You appreciate the role of everyone involved no matter how badly paid, or new to the role.
You are as comfortable at the pub, around a board table or on the shop floor.
A chameleon, you can adapt to what’s needed from you in the moment.
You think you’re just a regular person, nothing special, who has fallen on their feet to work in such a great team, but that team functions because of you.
There are no born leaders. But plenty are self made, by working with others, finding out about them, getting to know and understand them, and then doing your best to help them achieve their best. Forget the Superman costume and leading from the front, fancy spreadsheets and expensive suits. None of that matters.
Selflessness, interest in others, dedication to the job, and a sense of perspective. I have met maybe ten in fifteen thousand. My life is all the better for having had you in it. Thank you to all the genuine leaders out there. You probably don’t know who you are, but we do. And we need to tell you more often.
Friday 28th June 2019
“I’m so sorry for keeping you waiting.”
I heard the words spoken from within me as my next patient walked through the door from the waiting room to the minor injury area of the Emergency Department. It was after midnight. My shift had officially finished over three hours ago, but the department was heaving and the waiting time over four hours, so I thought I’d try and attend to a few more patients before I left to go home, not wanting to leave the night team with a near impossible task.
My patient walked though the door I held open, stony faced, making some comment about his legs being stiff from sitting waiting; I pretended I hadn’t heard and directed him to an empty cubicle.
A torrent of abuse then followed. Did I know how long he had been waiting? It wasn’t his fault he was here, he didn’t want to be here, 111 had told him he had to come. No, he hadn’t taken any painkillers or spoken to his GP about the problem despite the fact it had been present for several days. Why didn’t I think an X-ray was necessary? What do you mean there is nothing you can do?
Keeping my game face on, voice controlled, emotions in check, I completed the consultation, explaining what I thought was the problem and the self care necessary for recovery. I tried not to show my frustration – frustration that my patient had been directed to A&E by 111 for a problem he really didn’t need to be here with and frustration with the way in which my patient was speaking to me: angry himself as he had been kept waiting and that the quick fix he’d hoped I’d provide wasn’t possible.
And then he left.
As I sat writing my notes, a nurse came to find me. She was working in the resuscitation area of the department, and came to tell me the grandparents of a child who had arrived barely 2 hours ago had now arrived and had asked to speak to me. I had led the team who had attempted to resuscitate the child for an hour. I had been the one to tell the parents there was nothing more we could do and that their child was dead. Words I wish I hadn’t had to say.
As I followed the nurse to the relatives room I momentarily thought back to my previous patient and what I’d really have loved to have said to him: be thankful- thankful that you were well enough to have been kept waiting; thankful that you were not one of the relatives I was about to go and talk to and explain that their grandchild has died.
But of course these were words I could never say.
Friday 21st June 2019
“ I have found that the smartest, most competent, empathetic women in medicine are the most likely to rate their performance as ‘awful’, ‘terrible’, or a failure. This characteristic gets worse the higher the level of coaching that I am providing. This is ridiculous; to make it in front of me, showing me what you can do, you have already achieved more than your peers. Yet when I ask you to describe your smiling, smart and captivating performance that has blown away me and the rest of the group, why can’t you back yourself? You smashed it, so why don’t you say so!
I understand that our popular culture is based upon an unachievable idea of perfection that undermines people’s self esteem, but this is relatively recent phenomenon and you all have at least a decade of medical school and NHS training under your belt. Trust me, the NHS is not that susceptible to modern thought.
So, if this attitude is ingrained in you through the system that trains and sustains you, change must happen. The lack of progressive thought towards work life balance, inherent bias in a system that hasn’t changed in over 70 years and the treadmill model of career progression for doctors must be challenged by those who it most affects. The NHS will survive as long as there are people who will fight for it, if they are crushed, it is finished. So please check out this blog, orthowomen_uk on Instagram or any other of the social media resources showing the women that inspire me.”
From a male surgeon.