Bill Dynes, Marie Curie nurse
”I nursed a lady in her 80s on a hospice ward for five weeks for pain management. Her family lived abroad and although she had friends, she was going back to an empty house. She was upset to leave because she knew she would miss the hospice and the company of staff.
”The day before I went off on annual leave she and I had a conversation and I told her I was going to see Les Misérables - she told me how much she loved the show and jokingly asked me to bring her back a fridge magnet.
“When I came back to work, we talked about the show and she said “I bet you didn’t remember my fridge magnet”. When I pulled the magnet I had chosen her out of my pocket, she burst into tears and said “You don’t know what that means to me.” She was right, I had no idea how touched she would be by me simply thinking of her in my own time.”
James Merrell, staff nurse in the intensive care unit at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and Speak Out Safely ambassador
“I cared for a patient who had been an inpatient many times over the years and had always had a bad experience.
“On this particular admission the patient had received a poor prognosis and they asked to see me and handed me an envelope. I opened the envelope on my way home and what was inside filled me with emotion (see below).
“I went back in the next day on my day off to say thank you to her but just before I arrived she passed away.
”I love my job - it’s the most amazing career in the world. Changing people’s perceptions of nurses is important to me by delivering safe, compassionate, empathetic, timely care.”
james merrell poem
Marissa Dainton MSc RN, senior lecturer in adult nursing at Canterbury Christ Church University
”Among many moments of which I’m proud during 20 years as a nurse in renal really has to do with helping a long term patient to have a good death.
”The lady had been on haemodialysis for some years but of late was deteriorating quite quickly and it was clear to her and the team on the dialysis unit I ran that she would not survive much longer.
”She lived alone and was not fit to be discharged home but didn’t want to remian in hospital for fear of dying there. Within the space of the morning of what turned out to be her final dialysis session, I was able to arrange a palliative place for her in the local hospice – she was happy with this and was discharged there following the session with lots of good byes to the whole team on the unit.
“She died in the hospice, surrounded by family, less than 48 hours later.”
Rosie Field, service manager, children and young people’s learning disability service
”I had made a geographical error and forwarded two referrals for two different young people to the wrong services.
”Upon discovering my error I redirected them. I felt that I should ring both their Mums and be honest with them about my error, apologise and offer them the opportunity to make a complaint.
”Despite my worries about making the phone calls, both Mums were so good about the situation and grateful that I had taken the time to call and explain - they were just glad that I had followed the referrals up to find a suitable service.
”I came away from both phone calls having never felt so humble in all my life! I had made an error but they both made me feel like I had achieved a gold medal. They had every right to complain, I was just left feeling so humble.”
Hannah Dow, third year mental health nursing student at staffordshire university
”When I was on placement in a prison, one of our clients wanted to detox off her methadone as she wanted to prove to social services she was drug free in order to gain access to her children.
”However the doctor advised her against this due to her mental health not being in the right state to detox at that time.
”After listening to the conversation between the doctor and client, I thought about implementing a portfolio for the clients to be able to build up during their recovery, so that they have something physical to take out with them and show their social workers or family how far they have come.
“Or even for themselves to look back on if they are ever feeling low to remember how much they have gone through to get to where they are now.
”I designed a reflection form and action plan that would meet the needs of prisoners and tried to produce something easily understandable and included voluntary drug testing forms to complete if they wanted to.
”The portfolio is quite simple, but the women can choose to have as many or as few forms as they want to put in and can write anything they want, whether it’s something that’s happened in the wing or purely around their recovery.
”It is now being implemented in HMP Stafford as one of our clients wants to build a portfolio to show the parole board, which I will start with him next week. He wants to include action plans around the time he has spent looking for work outside of the prison and reflections around his charity work during his time in prison etc.
“I’m immensely proud that my idea is being taken on board and is making a difference to clients’ recovery pathways.”