Seeing the person, not the task

David Foreman is Senior Lecturer in Nursing and Healthcare Practice at the University of Derby. Here he shares why he got involved in NHS Change Day, why he is encouraging his students to take charge of their Change Day actions and how a very small change can mean the world to patients.

  As a lecturer in nursing at the University of Derby I was made aware last year of a campaign to make changes to the NHS. This was in the form of a few leaflets left around our nursing campus at Chesterfield. As a busy lecturer I quickly forgot about this campaign as it was over and I had missed it and it wasn’t high on my list of priorities.

Skip forward a few months and I attended the Association of Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) conference in Prague. How is this relevant? Is he just bragging you might think? But no, during those few days I was introduced to and started to use (and maybe become a little addicted to) Twitter. I had previously known about Twitter, and I had been aware that you can ‘follow’ people and people can ‘follow’ you back, but what I hadn’t realised was the power of this medium as a tool for creating some incredibly influential groups.

As I got more involved with twitter and the various networks I chose to join, (there are millions and careful selection is necessary), I became more aware of some of the incredible work that was being done using twitter as its central resource. Even if the work wasn’t being done on twitter, it was being shouted about using that particular medium.

NHS change day appeared through many of my networks at a similar time, which always sparks an interest! I recalled having seen something about it in the strewn leaflets in Chesterfield, so I decided to enquire further about how I or we as a university could get involved. One tweet led to another and then I was attending a small but select meeting at Nottingham City Hospital.

59 - David ForemanThe energy and enthusiasm at that meeting was a little overwhelming, and some of the ideas bouncing around were a little ‘more’ than I was expecting. The passion for nursing, the NHS and healthcare in general however, was exactly what I want my students to demonstrate. You can see from the notes I made at that meeting that I was getting swept away with the enthusiasm for NHS Change Day and more importantly, what it actually stood for in the context of healthcare delivery.

In a previous job I often facilitated students taking responsibility for projects, audit and research. This quickly led to a thought about students taking charge of events for the change day itself. With that in mind I have arranged for a team of volunteers across all sites and all specialities to come together to plan an event which highlights the effects of one small change in practice and how this small change may have a significant effect on individuals, families, and or communities.

The change I have pledged to make relates to my practice as a nurse and not as a lecturer. When I am with a patient, their families or their significant others, I pledge to really see the person, and not the task I have to perform with them. On a shift recently I sat with a wife and her daughter by the bedside of her sick husband. Only after a few minutes I realised that I had put the cot side of the bed up and she couldn’t get close enough to hold his hand. If my change in view has led to an improvement in that one family’s experience, it shows that a very small change can mean the world to our patients.
  • 100 Days of Change
  • Campaigns > Change Day 2015
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