Date of release: 5 May 2020
Welcome to my second Chief Nurse’s blog. I have been pleased with the feedback from my first instalment last week, so thank you for your positive comments. While I’m new to Twitter, I’m learning quickly and am pleased to see I’ve started to generate a following, so hopefully I can build on that!
I want to start this week’s blog by focusing on a hugely significant date in the nursing calendar - International Day of the Midwife, on Tuesday. This day has been commemorated by the International Confederation of Midwives annually since 1992. The current restrictions due to Covid-19 mean we cannot celebrate the day as we normally might. But it is vitally important to recognise their contribution, particularly in these challenging times. Here at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, the Midwifery team on the Midwifery Led Unit has been shortlisted for the RCM’s ‘Team of the Year’ award, with the winner announced on Thursday, via virtual appointment. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for them! The Midwifery Led Unit has been an asset to the Maternity Service, accounting for 18 to 20 per cent of the total births for RWT each year. The Maternity Services had an extremely positive peer review conducted by NHSI last year and the NHSI commended midwifery leaders and midwifery teams on their innovations, quality improvement projects, women-centred service and safety culture. The camaraderie, care and support staff that have given each other, their women and babies during this time has been unprecedented.
Our maternity staff are celebrating the occasion, marking how proud they are to work for the Trust. Photographs of this will be posted on the Trust’s social media to showcase our Midwives, promoted with the hashtags #IDM2020 and #YearOfTheMidwife.
The Covid-19 outbreak has meant adapting our working lives and approach things differently. Many nurses have been redeployed in different roles and through those changes we have seen some excellent examples of innovation. We have had to learn to work smarter, keeping patient care and experience at the centre of our working practices. Recently, The Academy of Fabulous NHS Stuff (or Fab Academy as it has become known) launched the Trust’s ‘NoGoingBack’ campaign showcasing the ideas staff have developed during this testing time. Post Covid-19, there must be no turning back on the speed and spread of innovation across the Trust. Doreen Black, Lisa Hall and Chrissla Davis are three senior nurses who have shared their innovations in short video clips which have been promoted on Twitter and the Fab Academy page.
District Nursing Team NGB Video
Doreen Black Video
Lisa Hall Video
Chrissla Davis Video
Help with bringing those innovations about can be sourced with help through Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI). As we enter a ‘new normal’ it is likely teams will be considering how they want their service to look. If anyone needs help or advice on how to make the changes sustainable, the team are able to be contacted via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, I am very aware that the current conditions place nurses in situations which they might find extremely challenging. It can be very emotional, perhaps not so much at the time in the line of duty, but maybe when they reflect afterwards. Nursing is by nature a selfless profession, but for delivery of care to be effective, personal wellbeing must be a priority.
I was reminded of those things this week when an old friend, Ursula Trainer, a lawyer who was involved in human resources at a hospital I worked at in Qatar, sent me a poem. Through her work in health services abroad, Ursula understands how challenging it can be to work in isolation. I thought it appropriate to share the poem with you here:
‘The Mountain’ by Laura Ding-Edwards
If the mountain seems too big today
then climb a hill instead
if the morning brings you sadness
it’s ok to stay in bed
if the day ahead weighs heavy
and your plans feel like a curse
there’s no shame in rearranging
don’t make yourself feel worse
if a shower stings like needles
and a bath feels like you’ll drown
if you haven’t washed your hair for days
don’t throw away your crown
a day is not a lifetime
a rest is not defeat
don’t think of it as failure
just a quiet, kind retreat
it’s ok to take a moment
from an anxious, fractured mind
the world will not stop turning
while you get realigned
the mountain will still be there
when you want to try again
you can climb it in your own time
just love yourself til then
I hope you some comfort in this, like I did.