The importance of hope in healthcare

MCARDLE PaulAs this is my first time writing in vital signs I ought to introduce myself.

My name is Paul McArdle and I am a Consultant Maxillofacial surgeon and Assistant Medical Director for Quality and Safety.

Over the last week I have observed lots of different staff working and carrying out their day-to-day duties under lots of pressure. Despite that pressure, I observed something that I believe to be really important, but which we talk about infrequently; love and hope.

Now don’t be fooled and stop reading, these are not soft or fluffy words. I appreciate they are not perceived as macho or particularly scientific. However they are important, even critical words, which underpin the care we give.

The great news is that I saw these delivered in bucket loads this week, not just by our nursing and medical staff, but also by those who work more behind the scenes.

For example I’ve seen Serco staff give hope by taking the lunch order for a patient really well, meaning the patient knew exactly what they could have and have something to look forward to; a cleaner doing a really thorough job helping a patient see their risk of infection being reduced; the medical and nursing staff showing real compassion and making light of difficult situations in a kind and caring way with patients; well co-ordinated appointments; kind and capable reception staff and jovial and efficient portering staff.

We must never forget that it’s all of these things that bring hope to our patients. The hope of their lives getting a bit better.

Personally, being able to offer hope is one of the best parts of my job but I recognise that it is all of our teams working together that makes that hope real. No matter if we are a performance analyst, a prepper and car park attendant or a finance director, we can all make a difference to people’s lives for the better.

Of course not all of our patients can look forward to getting better, but we can still make a difference. That is where the love word comes in. Delivering compassionate care, respecting patients dignity, being gentle and supportive and listening when it is needed and ensuring a hospital visit is as easy as possible. All these things offer hope even when things seem to be at their worst.

QualityAcademyLogoSo hats off to you. All you great staff that deliver hope and love every day through your skills, providing great care and great medicine. Thank you for making a difference. We have much to be proud of.

If you are interested in making more of a difference, and would like some support, why not get in touch with me at p.mcardle@nhs.net or with one of our team at the Quality Academy. We want to support great ideas to improve care for our patients.

Thank you,

Paul McArdle

Consultant Maxillofacial Surgeon and Assistant Medical Director for Quality and Safety

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