Kindness counts!

Giselle Cope RNLD, BSc (Hons) - Practice Development Facilitator

Giselle Cope, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator

Over the past couple of weeks my thoughts and reflections have centred on the dichotomy between the build-up of the festive celebrations both at work and at home, and the extra pressures and demands faced by many frontline staff at this time of the year. As we know this time of year can be very difficult for many people and for so many different reasons.

On my recent visits, some nurses have talked about how in spite of current day-to-day workload pressures, they are implementing various initiatives to keep spirits high and momentum going within their teams.

I was struck by one team who spoke about how they had introduced the idea of ‘Acts of kindness’ within their service. This immediately put a smile on my face, as I felt so much joy in hearing about its impact on team effectiveness and staff wellbeing.

The nurse manager shared examples of how each day during handover they would specifically capture and feedback recognition of thanks to staff and patients from that day.  Each month, the manager would present a nominated staff member with a small token as a gesture of appreciation for their commitment and hard work during that period. The nurse manager could recognise that these small gestures have helped to lift morale and bring together greater team cohesion, which has ultimately had a positive impact on patient and staff experience. The team itself now recognises the importance in making time to prioritise these acts of kindness. In doing so, this has paid dividends in creating a genuine and appreciative culture within the service.

On reflection, I feel it is quite remarkable how a small gesture such as saying ‘thank you’ can be so empowering not only for individuals but for the wider teams. This has made me consider my acts of kindness within my own day to day practice and personal life.

With all this in mind, I’d like to signpost you to a couple of really great resources.

Firstly, thinking about acts of kindness reminded me of the Drew Dudley, Leadership Tedtalk on ‘Lollipop Moments’! A great watch! These are moments when someone has said or acted in a way that has fundamentally made someone’s life better. The person doing may not always know and appreciate the true extent of the impact it has had for the person receiving. For me it is a wonderful way of being to ‘celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other’s lives’.

Secondly, over the past year or so I have been drawn towards the various calendars produced by Action for Happiness with each month having a specific focus and intention. Please do be curious and explore this website. For December, the focus is on ‘Kindness’. Each day proposes a different activity that we can do to spread a little kindness within our/other people’s lives.

Finally, in these final weeks leading up to Christmas and the beginning of a New Year I would like to ask how will you spread a little kindness to someone? And please do not forget yourself! If you are stuck for ideas, the Kindness calendar has suggestions of actions to do throughout the remainder of December.

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