I’ve been thinking about the power of stories. We use stories a lot within Involvement and many of our volunteers use their own personal experience to influence our services. These stories are hard to quantify in figures, but are incredibly impactful on the individual, whether it be the service user, carer or member of staff.
I’ve had moments that have stuck with me throughout my career within the NHS, but one that really stands out was actually when the roles were reversed and I was the patient. I’ve been fairly lucky with my health so far in life, I have only accessed the NHS for significant care on a couple of occasions, one of which was during my pregnancy a few years ago.
When it came to the end of my pregnancy, as I had gestational diabetes, I was admitted to hospital on an agreed date and induced. I remember one nurse asking me at the time what was going to get me through labour, my reply being, “The thought of chocolate and Prosecco”. She told me she couldn’t help with the Prosecco, but that if I gave birth before the end of her shift, she’d give me the chocolate bar in her lunch, but she was fairly confident I’d be a while yet.
Fast forward a few hours and my son made a swift entrance into the world with only a slight incident where I needed some emergency assistance which was quickly provided by a team of professionals.
For the next couple of days, the care provided to our new family by the Doctors, Junior Doctors, Nurses and Healthcare Assistants was amazing. The compassion and patience I received as a nervous new mum was a lifeline. In all of this, the moment that really stuck with me was when a slightly squashed chocolate bar was placed on my bed by the nurse who had remembered her promise on her next shift.
The NHS is important to me because all this care was free. It was there when I needed it most, when I was at my most vulnerable and it was provided by people with genuine dedication, compassion and the willingness to go above and beyond their job description. I’m proud to work for this organisation and my part in helping spread those impactful moments to others.
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