Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Thank You, Bexley Wing Ward 98

For many years now I've been involved in Communication Skills teaching to doctors and other healthcare professionals such as nurses and pharmacists.

More recently, I've been teaching on a course for medical students which includes such topics as patient safety and professionalism.

During the Communist's illness four years ago I noted with despair many incidents of unmotivated, careless and uncaring staff and some of these incidents I have been using as teaching materials for the students.

Today, at the Bexley Wing of St James's Hospital, Leeds, they gave me a glorious example of how things SHOULD be done and I felt like cheering.

My mother was there for a CT scan-aided biopsy.  She has a tumour in her abdomen:  that's all we know really.  Today's procedure was to find out what it is and how far it's spread.

It's a newish unit, all sparkling clean and we (Mum, her gentleman friend and me) were shown into a large single room with a bed, chairs and its own bathroom.  They greeted us all with offers of tea and coffee, which we gratefully accepted and which arrived at top speed.

Mum had to drink some fluid before the scan to show up on the scan, and also she had to have a cannula put in.

The nurses talked her through everything.  They introduced themselves, were warm, kind and positive and happy to explain everything several times.

She had to get changed into a gown and then transfer to a trolley and at all times when she was moving about they carefully checked that the door was closed so nobody could see in.

A friendly porter took us down and then another nurse explained that the procedure would take about half an hour so Mum's friend and I could go for a coffee.

When we came back I knocked on the door (as I'd been asked to do) and was told that Mum would be out very soon.  And so she was.  The radiologist came out and told us that the biopsy had gone very smoothly.

Mum had no pain from where they had put the needle in her abdomen to take the sample.  Another friendly porter came and said he'd be taking her back to the ward "in two minutes".  Then he came back in two minutes and explained that there'd been a slight delay with the paperwork so it would be two more minutes.  Such attention to detail is so helpful when you're in a strange place and don't know the procedure.

Back on the ward, Mum - to my amazement - declared she was hungry and a meal instantly arrived.  Chicken soup, fresh ham salad and sponge pudding and custard.  Of course she couldn't manage all of it but it was excellent quality and she loved it.

She had to wait for four hours to make sure she hadn't had an allergic reaction or any bleeding.  Mum wanted to get home and got a bit impatient but the staff were so lovely to her that she stayed calm.  She was simply not the same person as the hospital-phobic person she usually is.

Today was a shining example of the National Health Service at its very best and I will be quoting it to my students next term as a standard to accomplish.

"It was lovely to meet you," said the young doctor as we were about to leave.  My mother reached forward and kissed her.

Soon we will get the results and I am pretty sure that it will not be good news.  But I know I'll be forever grateful to Mum's gentleman friend (who has been just wonderful) and to all the staff who helped to make this day so much better than it might have been.  In terrible times, they have made all the difference.


Blogger Silverback said...

A lot of those things you'd HOPE would be the norm but often aren't and many were 'above and beyond' which is wonderful to hear about.

Praise when it's due, indeed.

I always comment on good CS when I get it and I'd regard this as CS too, despite being in a hospital setting.

So glad it went smoothly for all concerned and putting realistic pessimism aside, I hope for some positive news with the Friday results.

8:47 pm  
Blogger Jennytc said...

It makes such a difference when you experience good treatment. I do hope the news is Ok on Friday.

8:57 pm  
Blogger Helsie said...

Glad you had such good treatment. It sounds like it made a difficult day bearable.
I always think we should acknowledge the good with a letter to the higher powers just as you would with a letter of complaint for poor treatment. It seems we always make our complaints known but don't take the same effort with praise for a job well done and I know from years of experience as a mother and teacher that a positive response has much more impact for good resuts than a negative one does.
Fingers crossed for your mum

10:02 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

How very lovely and I guess that at the end of the day the professionals you met went home with a warm feeling that, as a team, they had worked well together to provide the sort of care that is typical of the NHS at its best. I am sure that this recent news about "uncaring" nurses has had a lot to do with the stresses of poor staffing levels.

11:38 pm  
Blogger Kate said...

Oh. Sorry to hear there will be possible difficult news, but so glad things are going well on the professional side of things.
If it's any help, warm wishes sent your way from the other side of the world...

9:24 pm  
Blogger Daphne2 said...

My husband is a porter at St James' and always has a chat to his patients and takes good care of the elderly, so it is good to see some praise for the customer services there.

7:35 am  
Blogger Daphne2 said...

My huband is a porter at St James' and I know him well enough to know he always speaks to his patients and is kind and caring, but sadly sme of his colleagues see moving patients around as a logistics exercise, and just hurry to get the job done.
I'm so pleased you and you had your mother had a good experience.

9:34 am  
Blogger Daphne2 said...

Dedn't mean to post twice - thought I'd failed the "robot" message first time. They are so dificult to read, and I'm not a robot!

9:37 am  

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