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Jane Bates: Random acts of kindness do nursing proud

Amid pressure and a hectic workload, the kindness and good-heartedness of nurses has diminished not a jot, says Jane Bates

Amid pressure and a hectic workload, the kindness and good-heartedness of nurses has diminished not a jot, says Jane Bates

‘Stand still a moment, my dear,’ said the sister in the emergency department. She brushed back my hair and then proceeded to wipe away the blood and tears that streaked my face.

My daughter had been in an accident, and I was a mass of weeping. The nurse was effective and competent as a clinician, but her gentle ministrations to this distraught mother, who wasn’t even the patient, went above and beyond the call of duty.

In a similar way, when my mother-in-law died, the nurse looking after her enveloped me in a bear hug of such generous proportions that I thought I might not get out alive. It was a spontaneous act of compassion, and it meant so much.

When I read about the scheme at North Bristol NHS Trust for blue plaques celebrating acts of kindness by nurses and others I thought it was a bit strange – this is what should be happening all the time, I thought, and of course it does.

In the midst of mayhem

But why shouldn’t we acknowledge it? Those random acts of kindness, surpassing any professional requirements, are what characterises nursing and make us so proud to be part of it.

The busy-ness and pressure on staff have the potential to quash such imaginative care. But in the midst of the mayhem, I find that nurses’ generous-heartedness has diminished not one jot.

I hear it from patients all the time – it is the first thing they say when you ask about their NHS experience. The doctors and nurses were so kind, they stopped me being afraid, said one. They treated me like one of their own family, said another.

And on it goes. Whether it’s a blue plaque or a pat on the back, let’s wave the flag for kindness – and for nursing.


Jane Bates is an ophthalmic nurse in Hampshire

 

 

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