The human side of nursing

Isobel McDowell, Assistant Team Manager and FoNS Inspire Improvement Fellow

At a recent workshop, the Inspire Improvement fellows were paired up and asked to listen to and record each other’s recent experiences. This time it was Isobel’s turn to listen to Sheeba.

Sheeba reflected on her challenging year; it has been a rollercoaster of emotions moving from surge to surge, crisis to crisis, ward to ward and team to team.

Emotions varied from, disbelief to reality, fear to joy and shock to gratitude. In a blink of an eye, she was in the midst of the initial pandemic surge, unprepared and vulnerable, struggling to support staff and worried she would be regarded as all-knowing and confident. Feeling exposed, doubtful and out of her comfort zone.

When her team fragmented, she felt her visibility had been taken away. How could she support and ensure staff felt safe and cared for? Developing the ‘Quick Check-in’ by telephone allowed her to keep in touch, bring back some control and normality whist reassuring staff that she was there for them. They could vocalise their fears, bring their worries and be heard.

So many lessons have been learned this past year and so many actions validated. Being visible as a manager, connecting with staff on a human level and recognising the strength in coming together has proved that we can come out the other side of such a life changing experience.

Sheeba Jefferson

Sheeba Jefferson

Sheeba reflected that the spotlight has been shone on our profession, both grateful and shocked that it has taken this pandemic to alter perspectives. The human side of nursing has been recognised by many, in particular in the workplace. Staff are individuals with families, they have equally been changed this past year. This must not be forgotten as we move forward. Their strength and courage have been nothing short of amazing.

Sheeba’s powerful message is that everyone has had something change in their life. No-one’s life is safe, the whole world is affected. She is more appreciative every day and is humbled and thankful that the care we give and share as a nursing profession includes the invaluable human side of nursing.


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