Day one. New Years Day. I volunteered to work the early shift as we were short. My most favourite day of the year is New Years day. It is literally the quietest day of the year. The silence of the morning is amazing! Not even the sheep or the cows are making much noise. Its like having the whole world to yourself.
The noise was of course shattered by the hullabaloo of the acute receiving unit. It’s about this time that beds become scarce. Xmas isn’t too bad. Not that illness is any less prevalent. I think many people have this idea that they should ‘hang on’ over Xmas so by the time New Year comes they are usually pretty sick.
The only new year resolution you hear about is trying to get through the day without writing last year’s date in the notes.
Another thing you’ll hear people say is “When can we get back to normal?”. Normal in the NHS is usually defined as a fully functioning multi-disciplinary team and various other departments working ‘normal’ hours e.g. social work, pharmacy etc.
To be honest I’m not sure there is a normal anymore. When you have the head of the Red Cross talking about ‘responding to the humanitarian crisis in our hospital and ambulance services across the country’ it is not surprising that people may feel like they are working in a war zone.
Add in the changing language that some in management use (we don’t board, we transition care…) and it also has the feel of that scene in Titanic when the string quartet played as the ship sank.
So when I came across this book the other day I thought ‘You know what, yes! This is a book I need to read and apply in my working life’
I even showed it to colleagues and suggested we use it as a template for future job planning sessions. Much hilarity!
However predictably I started to find it less funny. In fact I was a little worried. Not that I had any time to mull on it – work, work, work…….
Periodically that sense of unease would work itself to the surface. I’d try to latch on for a closer look but some other issue would divert my attention. It was only when a comment about the ‘prickliness’ of work colleagues came back in my mind did I really stop and think.
We were desensitising.
Now most of us are already desensitised to the minus X bed emails and phone calls (people are usually referred to as beds before ‘transitioning’ to patients). No, my worry is we are desensitising to each other and that we’re too busy to notice or care.
So with this in mind one of my aims for the coming months is to try to bring people together again. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how successful I’ll be but I think its worth the effort. If history tells us anything then we owe it to our NHS and the people it cares for. That it includes the people working within it…..