I have always considered myself a positive and naturally optimistic person but several events this week sought to test that. To be fair some were truly awful. However there were some things that, in my opinion, restored an equilibrium.
The first was the news story about mental health as championed by William, Harry and Kate:
I quite liked the honesty with which they talked about the British ‘stiff upper lip’ culture. This is such a ridiculous notion when faced with the tragedy of losing your mum at such a young age. There is no silver lining or looking on the bright side. It’s just bloody awful and should be treated as such. That said I do think how they have channelled it into something good is remarkable.
They are not the only people who are able to do such things. Look around and you’ll see people from all walks of life trying to create something good from terrible circumstances. It could be running a marathon for charity or volunteering.
There are parallels with our daily NHS life. Recently I helped one of my trainees complete a near miss incident form. There was no harm and the patient and family were informed. The main thing from my perspective was to identify exactly what went wrong and more importantly how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
The process of documenting failure is, by its nature, long, depressing and overwhelming negative. There is no way to make it a positive experience for anyone. What you have to do though is pick everyone up and somehow turn it around. It’s a difficult one to balance as you want people to feel empowered to make a change but equally you’re trying not to diminish the mistake in the first place.
I believe we managed to achieve this balance. A plan was made and over the next few weeks I am optimistic we will have something in place that ensures this particular incident will not be repeated.
Which then brought me to this quote that I saw the following day on my twitter feed (thank you @johnwalsh88):
This to me is much more reflective of who I am nowadays. I think it’s what we should all be to be honest. So with the glass half full I would argue that for every situation you hope for the best but plan for the worst. To me that is about having plan A, B, C, D etc etc
This philosophy is reflected in a postcard I have on my wall at work that says ‘Failure is not an option’ It’s from the Apollo 13 mission. It makes me smile every time. Now you may think I am deluded or living in denial but I agree with the statement. Failure is not an option. You just haven’t found the option that works. It is true of the NHS and in life that you will need to try out many different options until you find the one that works.
So on that note I go into another week with my eyes wide open, optimistic that it will be a good one. If it’s not, well, that’s just a chance to try out Plan B…