In collaboration with
70 Years NHS

Blogs

The patient stuck in a room

Header
Posted on Monday 24th September 2018 by Jennifer Gilroy-Cheetham

It's easy to forget how significant time is when you’re not in a hospital bed. For a patient, time is everything. The time you wake, the time you have your breakfast, the time you’re due to have your scans or others tests - and of course visiting time.

When I became a patient I realised I had forgotten how we focus on time. It's hard to understand this until you become that patient in a room, waiting and watching the clock.

Hospitals are not the most interesting of places and rightly so, their main purpose is to help, heal and cure. But as a patient, waiting and wondering, a conversation with the domestic or the nurse who is generally offloading her frustrations is a distraction which helps time to go quicker.

Obviously there are times when you don't feel up to conversation but when you are, knowing there is a team ready for you makes you feel supported, and feeling supported helps you feel safe.

In the NHS we talk about safety culture but seldom do we ask patients about what makes them feel safe, what makes them feel that the wards, clinics and services they attend are supporting them and putting their safety first.

For me it's about the skills and actions demonstrated so well by the staff on the ward where I've spent a total of six weeks in the last year. A startling contrast to a ward where I spent a horrendous bank holiday weekend.

That weekend, what made the difference may just have been my own perceptions, but when you’re the patient, especially when you’re not familiar with the ward environment, what goes on around you can be daunting and very scary. The day to day activities and rituals that are familiar to staff, aren't for the patient. It's easy for staff to vent their frustrations, for example with IT and not necessarily understand how this externalisation of emotions can affect a patient. As a staff member I'm sure that jargon is important, but as a patient when I hear it, I may not know what you’re talking about.

My plea to NHS staff is that they take time to make sure the patient feels safe. That means making sure they understand - I mean really understand - what is happening. I might nod my head when you tell me things but I may not want to admit I’ve no idea what you’ve just said or what is going on.

People don’t plan to get sick, most would rather be at home. If there are ways in which you can make their experience more positive by having a conversation, introducing yourself, showing a smile or by using less jargon, please do.

Jennifer Gilroy-Cheetham

Programme Manager for Patient Safety

@gilroy19


Posted on Monday 24th September 2018 by Jennifer Gilroy-Cheetham

It's easy to forget how significant time is when you’re not in a hospital bed. For a patient, time is everything. The time you wake, the time you have your breakfast, the time you’re due to have your scans or others tests - and of course visiting time.

When I became a patient I realised I had forgotten how we focus on time. It's hard to understand this until you become that patient in a room, waiting and watching the clock.

Hospitals are not the most interesting of places and rightly so, their main purpose is to help, heal and cure. But as a patient, waiting and wondering, a conversation with the domestic or the nurse who is generally offloading her frustrations is a distraction which helps time to go quicker.

Obviously there are times when you don't feel up to conversation but when you are, knowing there is a team ready for you makes you feel supported, and feeling supported helps you feel safe.

In the NHS we talk about safety culture but seldom do we ask patients about what makes them feel safe, what makes them feel that the wards, clinics and services they attend are supporting them and putting their safety first.

For me it's about the skills and actions demonstrated so well by the staff on the ward where I've spent a total of six weeks in the last year. A startling contrast to a ward where I spent a horrendous bank holiday weekend.

That weekend, what made the difference may just have been my own perceptions, but when you’re the patient, especially when you’re not familiar with the ward environment, what goes on around you can be daunting and very scary. The day to day activities and rituals that are familiar to staff, aren't for the patient. It's easy for staff to vent their frustrations, for example with IT and not necessarily understand how this externalisation of emotions can affect a patient. As a staff member I'm sure that jargon is important, but as a patient when I hear it, I may not know what you’re talking about.

My plea to NHS staff is that they take time to make sure the patient feels safe. That means making sure they understand - I mean really understand - what is happening. I might nod my head when you tell me things but I may not want to admit I’ve no idea what you’ve just said or what is going on.

People don’t plan to get sick, most would rather be at home. If there are ways in which you can make their experience more positive by having a conversation, introducing yourself, showing a smile or by using less jargon, please do.

Jennifer Gilroy-Cheetham

Programme Manager for Patient Safety

@gilroy19


Select the elements below that you wish to view on 'Your Social Hub'

SUBSCRIBE

Get all the latest news, events and news releases straight to your inbox.

FILTER YOUR SOCIAL HUB

EVENTS

OCT
23
For the third in our series of knowledge sessions, we're continuing our learning exchange by revisiting the Health Foundation’s.. Read More.
NOV
13
Emergency surgery has only in recent times fallen under the spotlight to raise standards and reduce variability in care, but.. Read More.
More Events »

CONTACTS

YOUR
SOCIAL
HUB

NEWS ARTICLES

Honour for remote telemonitoring service for patients

A ground-breaking project that allows Merseyside stroke patients to...

READ MORE

North West Coast Research and Innovation Awards 2019

If you’ve carried out great work in clinical...

READ MORE

TWITTER

RT @KRimaitis: After researching best onboarding practices and taking on the moodle challenge I delivered my presentation to the @innovatio…


Our region is at the forefront of health innovation – and our annual research and innovation awards honour the best… https://t.co/4Rb9M2u5tb