Jane Bates: Just saying

Jane Bates puts her faith in the proverbial.

Jane Bates puts her faith in the proverbial

Time you wised up, my daughter said, as she gave me a book of proverbs for my birthday. Hang on a minute… but maybe she’s right?

After all, it is much better to get wisdom than gold. I know that now. Experience is the best teacher, and if you refuse to learn you are only hurting yourself.

So I was all agog to take in these ancient pearls and apply them to my working life. It was difficult to imagine how ‘a cursed cow grows short horns’ could make any difference to my role as a nurse, but there were others that hit the nail on the head.

If one of your colleagues offers to make you a cup of tea, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. A friend in need is a friend indeed. It might be hours before you get another chance to have a drink, and we must remember the adage that opportunity seldom knocks twice.

Modern truisms apply as well. ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is the right approach to medical care in most cases. But then a stitch in time saves nine, and it is better to be safe than sorry.

To the kill-joys who object to a bit of levity in the workplace, my book says that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Or Jill a dull nurse. We need to lighten up sometimes to cope with the hard times.

And because we care about our patients, we understand that if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Cutting corners, which is at times inevitable owing to our chronic lack of resources, goes against the grain.

So here’s the proverb that applies to all you nurses struggling to keep up best practice for your patients: better to light a candle than to curse the dark.

About the author

Jane Bates

Jane Bates is an ophthalmic nurse in Hampshire

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