By Lucy Ashton
A little kindness goes a long way, the saying goes. A quick word, a smile, a hand on the shoulder of a worried patient or colleague. That was the subject of a series of talks held by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde recently.
The talks were hosted by Tommy Whitelaw, National Lead for Caring and Outreach at Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, a veteran of the speaking circuit who has held more than 2000 talks attended by more than 270,000 people.
The talks, at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and Inverclyde Royal Hospital, were open to all staff, and explored the theme of Intelligent Kindness – an idea that encourages staff to think about their interactions with people, and how the right actions, and the right questions, can have a huge impact on wellbeing.
Tommy himself has first-hand experience of the power of even the smallest action, and in the talks he recounted his own story of being a full-time carer to his mother.
During this time, when Tommy was at a real low due to the demands of his mother’s care, a simple hand on the shoulder from a member of staff made a huge difference to him – ultimately setting him on a path towards talking to many NHS staff including those at the IRH and RAH.
As is the case throughout Scotland, all staff across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are under considerable pressure. Despite this, and the time pressures all staff face, around 120 people attended sessions at the two hospitals.
It is hoped they will be able to use what they heard to fully consider how moments of kindness can improve the person-centred care they provide patients and their relatives, and also build a great place to work by improving relationships among their teams.
Sessions were organised by the Clinical Nurse Educator team in NHSGGC’s Clyde sector.
Clinical Nurse Educator Liz Simpson said: “We have worked with Tommy before, and we have found his talks to be extremely valuable in improving morale, teamwork, and ultimately the quality of care we can all give to our patients.
“We look forward to seeing the topics our staff explored and the things they learned, being put to good use in future.”
Lorna Loudon, Chief Nurse for Acute Services in NHSGGC’s Clyde sector, said: “I am hugely encouraged that so many colleagues came along to the sessions at both hospitals. All our staff are extremely busy just now, and it is testament to the value they all place on this important aspect of their work that they made time to attend.
“I would like to thank them all for their hard work and commitment – but also for the fact that they are prepared to go the extra mile for the good of our patients, their relatives, and each other.”
Jennifer Rodgers, Deputy Nurse Director at NHSGGC, said: “Kindness is at the heart of who we are, what we do and how we do it. Listening and learning from Tommy’s experience helps unite us through core principles of person-centred care, urging us to continually improve and importantly to listen to what matters to people.
“I’d like to thank Tommy, the Nurse Educator team and all the staff who attended this event.”
:: The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland is a national third sector body which works with health boards, Health and Social Care Partnerships and a range of other bodies to support people who are disabled or living with long term conditions, and unpaid carers.
Too much to ask for any human rights though.