Clinical placements

Small acts of kindness can change lives

When nursing student Sofia Pereira gave a patient with mobility problems an activity book, she learned how small acts of kindness can have a huge impact on patients’ hospital experience.
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When nursing student Sofia Pereira gave a patient with mobility problems an activity book, she learned how small acts of kindness can have a huge impact on patients hospital experience.

On clinical placement on a stroke ward in my first year of training, I helped to care for a female patient in her sixties, who I will call Jane.

Jane had mobility problems, including a lack of coordination and balance, and had to spend a lot of time in bed. She had also been diagnosed with early-onset dementia. Janes mobility problems were having a negative impact on her psychologically she did not have any family close by to visit her or bring her anything, and was feeling down. I feel miserable and frustrated because all I can do is to stay in bed

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When nursing student Sofia Pereira gave a patient with mobility problems an activity book, she learned how small acts of kindness can have a huge impact on patients’ hospital experience.

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Staff attitude can make patients feel more supported. Picture: iStock

On clinical placement on a stroke ward in my first year of training, I helped to care for a female patient in her sixties, who I will call Jane. 

Jane had mobility problems, including a lack of coordination and balance, and had to spend a lot of time in bed. She had also been diagnosed with early-onset dementia.  
 
Jane’s mobility problems were having a negative impact on her psychologically – she did not have any family close by to visit her or bring her anything, and was feeling down. ‘I feel miserable and frustrated because all I can do is to stay in bed and look at what other people are doing,’ she told me.

Later that day, when I went for my break, I saw activity books for adults in a shop so decided to buy one for Jane. When I gave her the book, she became very emotional and thanked me.  

Feeling supported

A few weeks later, when Jane was being discharged, she told me that my small but kind act had changed her hospital experience, not because of the activity book itself but because my attitude and the therapeutic relationship we had built up made her feel much more supported. 

This experience made me grow not only as a health care professional but also as a human being. I discovered that if everyone does their best to contribute and gives a little bit of their time to those who need it, we can all help improve the patient experience. I realised that going the extra mile for someone – whether it’s an extra five minutes or an extra 50p – really is worth it as it can change lives.

Small acts, with little or no financial cost, can have a huge impact on patients, and change their views of healthcare professionals forever.  

Little things count

After reflecting on this event, I came up with an idea to improve patients’ hospital experience which I shared with my university colleagues. During the Christmas period, we plan to go round the wards of local hospitals offering festive treats and company to patients who will be spending Christmas in hospital.  
 
Following some quick research, I found that one of our local hospitals has 250 beds and that a pack of six mince pies can be bought for less than £1. For about £40, which we will make through fundraising, we could make a huge difference to the lives of patients who have to spend the festive season in hospital.  

A local shop which had recently closed offered me some adult colouring books free, which I will donate to my next placement.  

The little things really do count, and I will continue to do my best to help make life a bit easier for patients who are experiencing difficult times in their lives. 
 


sofiaAna Sofia Pereira De Oliveira is second-year nursing student at Swansea University  

 

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