Monday, August 5, 2013

Kindness is Magic

The NHS is broken the media and politicians imply; filled with horrendous care; lacking compassion and basic kindness. More reforms, regulation and inspection will fix it. But is it? And will they?

A bitter sweet comedy drama called 'Derek' (written, directed and starring Ricky Gervais) sent me on a surfboard of emotion. Ricky demonstrates his innate ability to capture reality and illuminate every day occurrences.  

For those of you yet to watch, the series, which was inspired by members of his family’s work in care homes, is set in ‘Broadhill’ retirement home where Derek works as a care assistant. I was reminded that kindness lies at the core of high quality care. Derek is Kindness personified.  
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My memory rewinds and I see the kindness that cradled me during my three months in hospital…

A hand on my arm when my inability to stand overwhelms me.

A nurse rubs cream into my lifeless legs and feet at night when I forget they are there.

Carers sit beside me to talk rather than standing miles away at the end of my bed.

We share a belly laugh when a nurse and I paddle in a puddle of urine as my urinary catheter comes adrift. 

I am met with open arms when I waddle across the physio gym for the first time.

None of these acts of Kindness were essential but to me they were 
My Everything Moments.

How do we train this Kindness into people? 

Can Kindness be taught? 

How can Kindness be measured in doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, healthcare assistants… as they embark on a career in healthcare?

At the start of my vocation in nursing I was interviewed. The ‘Matron’ running the hospital asked pertinent questions ‘to get the essence of me’, she watched my reactions, skilfully evaluated my responses. She knew I cared and wanted to care.  But even the interview process has flaws which allow some carers whose pool of Kindness is shallow, to slip through the net.

Now in recruitment the seed of psychometric testing is beginning to grow. But how will that test Kindness? We should ask Ricky or Derek….

Derek Channel 4 on demand Derek (please note this includes some Adult Humour).

As Ricky reminded me Kindness is Magic


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