A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!

ho-dgriSince starting work I have been more aware of the tendency of the media to focus on the negatives. It is almost daily that we hear stories of how the NHS has failed a patient, waiting times are simply unacceptable or that hospitals are not clean enough.

I appreciate that it is this negativity that sells newspapers. There is nothing overly dramatic about the tale of a wonderful NHS experience. The patient came in as planned, the procedure was carried out without complication, they felt better and they went home. Not exactly something which can be spun into a gripping yarn.

While press sensationalism is not something new, it has surprised me that at times we struggle to focus on the positives at a local level. We are trained to learn from our mistakes. For the sake of patient safety, adverse incident reporting and critical incident analysis are now key parts in quality improvement. This is important. There are always lessons to learn when a mistake is made.

However, is it possible that we also learn from the things that we do well?
When teaching children in their early years parents are encouraged to use positive reinforcement. Just because we become older and supposedly wiser does not mean that positive encouragement loses its’ impact. While we strive to improve on the areas where we can make errors, it is important to also remember the things that we get right. We are always asked to reflect on what we could do differently, not to address the things that you would approach in exactly the same manner. Something which in some situations would be an interesting topic to broach.

From my own limited experience I know at times you can feel totally out of your depth. However, if someone takes two minutes to reassure you that you are on the right track it can make a world of difference.

IMG_2447So here is my positive feedback. I was told prior to starting work that FY1 would be the most horrendous year of my life. However, I enjoyed starting work. I have was well supported and for that I must thank you all. Everyone working within DGRI has made me feel well supported and at the same time given me room to grow and develop. It is as a result of this that I have continued to enjoy my work and develop as my career has progressed. You have created a supported learning environment for trainees which I hope is something that is recognised, as we all strive to achieve more.

So in attempt to round off this entry: if you notice a colleague, family member or a friend doing something well let them know. It takes no time at all and you never know what you might inspire someone to do.


8 thoughts on “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!

  1. An interesting point – we are seemingly so focussed on change and ‘doing things differently’ that we risk forgetting that change is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

  2. So true. Yesterday I was in a conversation with several people when somebody made a statement about ‘bad managers’. I said that there were some really good managers whom I greatly admire for the way they do their job. It was only when reading this article that I realised that although I have praised a particular manager to others I haven’t fed this back to the manager personally. Thanks for reminding me of one of the fundamental principles of mental health nursing: positive reinforcement. And the importance of putting it into action by giving it directly and immediately.

  3. I always try to learn from my mistakes but even as a senior grade nurse I appreciate when a colleague junior, peer or medical says to me that I have made a difference or done a good job. In my role as an educator I look at that praise and consider what it was I did well that I can pass to the new staff and students so that they can also be their best for the patient:
    This thought process I encourage in staff that I complete recalidation with. If you receive good what is it you can share with colleagues to assist them to get consistent patterns of quality care,

  4. Couldn’t agree more – and it is not about annual awards ceremonies but about the little daily, routine things as well as the ‘extra mile’ stuff. An appreciative thank you in whatever form encourages, motivates and inspires staff in so many ways.

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