After a recent nightshift I was chatting with three of my colleagues about the shift and the ward.
One of them, a healthcare assistant started to tell a story about when she first started on the ward and how I spoke to her when she hadn’t documented something properly.
My mind was racing. I wondered what I had said. Obviously I try to be fair, kind and educate staff but on occasion when I’m tired I can be short and it’s something I am aware of and try not to do.
Anyway she went on to say that the way I had spoken to her, the way I had shown her how to document properly and the way I had reassured her was much appreciated. Phew! She went on to say not everybody talks to their colleagues like that and it makes a real difference to how somebody feels and works.
On my way home I thought about what she had said. It’s interesting as I don’t really remember that conversation. I had addressed the issue and moved on, but for her it had had a big impact and two years later she still remembers it clearly and has remembered what I said and completed her documentation the way we discussed.
The importance of how we communicate with colleagues can and should never be underestimated, as it can have a real positive or negative effect on a health professional’s career.
I think this is especially true when starting a new job in a new area or transitioning from student nurse to newly qualified. Words can give much needed support and reassurance to members of staff.
We are all encouraged to ask if we are unsure or don’t know how to do something. It’s essential to guide and assist colleagues. It may also be that they have new knowledge to contribute and they need to be listened to and their contribution valued.
“In the current ever-changing climate, communication, support, reassurance and patience are vital”
I know it’s easy to say but sometimes difficult to do if someone catches you at the wrong time when you’ve been on your feet all day without a break and have a million things to do. I know I’ve been there. Tired and hormonal equals no patience!
In the current ever-changing climate, communication, support, reassurance and patience are vital to enable us to get through this emotionally as well as physically.
Nursing (my colleagues especially) has been a massive support to me in my life. It is always there, always encouraging me to gain more knowledge and to give the best care.
It has taught me most importantly that caring isn’t all about the patients, it is about my colleagues too.
Sian Rodger is patient education and health coaching lead, London Spinal Cord Injury Centre