Over the past 6 weeks or so I can honestly admit that I have been taking things rather easy. I am now over the experience of organisational change and redundancy and from my encounters with colleagues employed in the new worlds of NHS England and the local Commissioning Support Unit, I am well shot of it all. My pension has now paid up (suggestions by NHS Pensions that it would all take 3 months were unfounded) and I am about to become an investor in ‘funds’. Soon, I will swop the Nursing Times for the Financial Times, well, maybe not.
I have begun to consider what work I would rather do in the future and on balance, while I am unlikely to find my way back to a bedside any day soon (my back has been playing up something chronic), I would like to work closer to the patient and hopefully with some nurses. A week ago I helped out at a training session for community staff, something that I have contributed to a number of times. It didn’t take longer than coffee time to dust off my brain, and I know that I could and would like to do more of that. I also stepped up and sorted out a presentation for an ex boss last week, banking a few hours of self employed work (there is more to come). Plus there is a job in the pipeline which I intend to apply for, but which I am waiting for the advert to appear.
Yesterday though, I went of my own free will, unpaid to a nurses day celebration and I am glad I did. It filled me with an enthusiasm for nursing and the NHS that I have not felt for a while. So much has been written and said about the state of the health service, about whether nurses have forgotten the purpose of providing care, forgotten perhaps how to care.
It is easy to buy into the idea that nurses who are out there now are in some way inferior to the way they once were. The concept that they have in some way lost their vocation and that they lack the compassion to deliver the best that they can. It is easy to believe that nursing leaders are lacking in some way, that they are not committed to ensuring that they set the vision, to inspire and support their workforce.
The conference took place at a local university, run jointly between acute, community and mental health Trusts. Present were all of the nurse leaders from those Trusts as well as in excess of 100 nurses from across the area. The purpose was to celebrate nursing locally and nationally, to inspire and to inform. It did just that. The keynote speakers, one from the chief nurse and the other from someone who has achieved so much despite and because of his disability were great to hear. But equally the quality of presentations from local nurses was of equal quality. It made me proud that I am still a nurse and it inspired me to get back to work soon. I want to work with these people, to be able to support their ability to overcome the negativity and continue the great work they do. To recognise the complexities of modern healthcare and to show people that compassion still exists in nursing. To celebrate nursing.
Near the end of the day, we were shown this youtube clip. I think it tells us what we need to know about the future.