My experience with the NHS

Somebody has asked me recently if my treatment was any better because I worked for the NHS.  The answer is NO, for a start not all of them were aware of where I worked.

My treatment throughout this whole process has ranged between good to excellent. The best part was being treated within a specialist hospital. The Univercity College London Hospital (UCLH), has it’s own cancer centre. It is a fairly new building, opening about a year ago. The building was well thoughtout and the environment is spacious and airy with plenty of natural light coming in. It makes for a good place to work, (I asked one of the nurses) as well as a relaxing place to visit as a patient. This makes a difference to the staff and they all seemed very calm, professional and caring. The service I received there was excellent. If I am being really picky, there are a few areas for improvement I suppose. The hospital has a patient portal system. This is a website where you can log in with your hospital number and find out when your next appointments are and leave messages for the people you are working with. This is fairly new and does seem to have some teething problems. The information is often wrong or out of date. I think, like any data base, it’s only as good as the information that is fed into it. So often I would be told of an appointment time by my specialist nurse and that would then differ from the information on the system, so I soon learnt not to trust it. Other than that my treatment has been faultless. All the doctors I have seen have been professional and friendly. I felt that I have been treated as an individual and have been given time whilst my wishes have been heard and respected. The nurses have also been excellent, nothing has seemed too much trouble and they have always done their best to make sure I have understood the procedures I have had to undertake. I have also been given excellent written information which I have been given time to digest and then I have been asked if I have had any questions. When I had my harvesting done, lying there for six hours allowed me to observe the nurses practice. They were short of staff the day I was there, and extremely busy but even so, I observed them to always wash their hands and put new gloves on in between each patient they attended to. They were professional but friendly at all times and a credit to their profession. Janet, my care co-ordinator and a research assistant, working alongside the doctors on the trial, has always been very supportive and ensured appointments were made at the most convenient times to allow for the journey time we had to make. At all times she kept us fully informed with the appointments and procedures I needed to undertake. For example yesterday I received an email from her explaining that I would need another bone biopsy carrying out. She asked if I would rather be sedated or not, clearly explaiming the pro’s and cons of both. She then said she would organise the appointment for after the party.

Locally I have been supported by the palliative care team, working for Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust. Yet again my treatment has been excellent. The nurse assigned to me was at all times extremely professional but also friendly and approachable. Nothing was ever too much trouble as she supported both Colin and I through some difficult times. She arranged for my medication to be changed and ready promptly for collection at my local GP practice, co-ordinating with my GP and the hospital. Louise also managed to set up more appointments with my psychologist when she recognised the need. My psychlogist was also extremely professional but helpful and accommodated my needs by visiting me at home and then organising appointments at the local Hospice. The support I have received at the Hospice has also been wonderful, with the doctors there spending 45 minutes listening and working alongside both Colin and I to plan the best course of action to holistically manage my pain. They also have and still are providing me with regular reflexology sessions.

So looking at the health service from the other side I couldn’t feel more proud. I was a reluctant patient and making the transition from nurse to patient was a difficult one, but at all times I have felt confident and comfortable with the support and treatment I have received.

 
Thank you to all of you who have been involved in my immediate care.

Deborah x

Book Proposal

I thought today I would share a book proposal I put together in 2004 (I can’t believe it was that long ago), the idea was to send it off to a publisher. If I decide to finish this book I would bypass a publisher and just self publish. One of my best friends has done just that and is earning nearly £100 every month. OK thats not enough to pay the mortgage but it’s a start.

I would be grateful for your thoughts, please be honest as I have other book ideas and don’t want to waste my time on this one if you don’t think it’s worth it.

So hear goes:

Welcome to the Meday Concept

An inspirational guide to taking control of time that will change you’re life forever.

Written for all those busy people who think they haven’t the time to read it!

Because….Smart People do Lunch!

What is ‘Welcome to the Meday Concept’ all about?

‘Welcome to the Meday Concept’ is a self help guide to improving emotional wellbeing. The term Meday is being used to illustrate a moment in time taken for oneself. This book is for anyone struggling to balance the demands of the workplace, school or family life or for those who just want to step off the treadmill and claim back some time for themselves.
The concept is accessible to anyone regardless of age, culture, religion, or gender. Very soon the idea will become common practice and people all over the world will be taking a Meday. Employers will encourage staff to take a Meday as they start to recognise its contribution to increased productivity and its ability to reduce stress. Single parents to busy executives, children to grandparents will soon be talking about their own unique Meday experiences.

This book will discuss the importance of the Meday and how it guarantees to change your life. Packed with invaluable advice, checklists and action plans it will provide a simple easy-to-understand guide on how to achieve the perfect Meday.
Taking small steps and periods of time out from a busy schedule will allow individuals to revaluate their strengths, and put some balance back into their lives.

The concept uses a solution-focused brief therapy approach by focusing on solutions rather than investigating problems.
It can be used by the reader alone or with the help of a therapist either way; by investing time in ones emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing the improvement in quality of life can be unbelievable.

Who will buy this book and why?

This book is aimed at anyone interested in improving their emotional well being. Self help books have become increasingly popular over the past few years. The strongest target group most likely to buy this book will be women who want to make sense of their lives and slow down. It will also be of interest to professionals who want to explore its concepts in order to increase productivity in the work place and therapists who want to use its ideas in their own work.

This book is just the beginning and will be followed by more books on the subject such as; ‘365 Meday Ideas’, ‘Celebratory Meday’s’, and ‘How the Meday concept changed my life around’. There will be a range of Meday products and services for sale. The Meday concept is revolutionary and will change lives forever.

The Meday Concept will be talked about on morning TV and late night shows. The author will travel the world giving conferences for business professionals to women’s institutes.
I have no doubt that this books willing formula will make it a best seller with many by-products, making its author and publisher a household name and a tidy sum of money.

Contents

Chapter 1 – Introduction
Explanation of the Meday Concept
Why we need it? – Research into effects of stress on physical and mental health.
Benefits of following the Meday program
How it will work
Who this book is for – Check list with tick boxes

Chapter Two – Why taking time for yourself has never been so important
Living in today’s busy world
Juggling time
Pressures and its effects both long and short term

Chapter Three – What is a Meday and how it can help change your life
Taking time for ones self
Lunch breaks
Weekends
Annual Leave

Chapter Four – Recognising the signs/When to take a Meday
Symptoms of stress

Chapter Five – How to plan the perfect Meday
The importance of planning
Ideas for the perfect Meday
Charts to help you successfully plan your time

Chapter Six – How to help others achieve their perfect Meday
Using the concept in a therapy setting

Chapter Seven – Noticing the changes within yourself
Recognising the differences you’ve made to yourself and the effects on those around you
Sharing the secret

Chapter Eight – Lie back and enjoy the sunshine
Recap
Reflection
Evaluation

So there you have it, I have written quite a bit already but will need to hunt it out because all I could find so far was the above book proposal I put together.

Happy Tuesday another day we need to wrap up warm unfortunately.

Deborah x

Which therapy is best for me?

Oh dear it’s another early start for me as I avoided taking a sleeping tablet last night. I have however still had 5 hours sleep which, for me, is pretty good going and I have at my disposal a day of succumbing if need be, but I do hope not.

I have been thinking about mental health, as I usually do, and the minefield of different types of therapy and therapists out there. How does one choose which is best for them. I of course have my own ideas and preferences but these are based entirely on my own experiences and my personal  map of the world.

This blog post would be far too long if I were to tell you even a little about some of these in one fell swoop so I shall do so over the next few days.

I shall start with sharing my own journey into therapy and why and how I have come to the conclusions I have. Please do remember these are not necessarily the right ones they are just MY beliefs and like I said based on my experience of the world so far. I am forever in training and learning more, so develop new thoughts and ideas as I go along.

Many years ago, person centred counselling was the buzz word and therapy around, and I took up the opportunity to train undertaking a diploma in counselling at my local college. As part of the training you go into therapy yourself.

I will be explaining more about what each therapy contains in a little more detail in the days to come, but generally this type of therapy is one where you sit and talk as much or as little as you want , and the therapist skilfully listens and reflects back, clarifying what they think they have heard. Some people go into this type of counselling for many years.

When working as a specialist nurse for children, mostly teenagers, who had been in care, I
listened to their experiences of counselling, and decided for myself that there must be a better approach to helping this group of young people. Many of them had told their stories over and over again to numerous social workers etc. Some of the young people were now living semi independently alone in their own bedsits. They often reported how unhelpful they found it to go and sit with a therapist where they felt they had to bring up there past yet again and then return to their homes to mull it over. They also reported that they were looking for more practical advice and support rather than someone to feedback what they think they had just heard. I felt fully in agreement with that and was anxious about the effect some of this therapy was having upon them. This is what led to my journey into finding out more about Human Givens (HG) and completing a diploma with the Human Givens Institute to become an HG therapist. During this time I managed (quite a feat I must say) to get hold of some funding to employ two qualified human given therapists to work with this group of vulnerable young people. This produced some excellent results and some very positive anecdotal feedback from the young people themselves. HG therapy is short and quick and does not require the client to go over their story in great deal or in fact at all in some circumstances. You will just have to wait a few blogs to find out more!

As I was coming to the end of my HG training I stumbled across Neuro- linguistic programming (NLP) and as I have previously explained in an earlier post.

https://mymyelomajourney.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/nlp-and-my-personal-journey/#comments

I found this personally life changing. NLP to me, is more of an attitude and a deeper understanding of what is happening in my mind and body as well as the external world around me. For me it is a toolbox of different techniques drawn from, or very similar to, a number of other therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Narrative Therapy , Psychoanalytic Therapy and Human Givens. NLP uses a range of techniques to help the client and the therapist gain a better understanding of their own world and resources, helping the client to move forward in their lives.

The biggest difference between the traditional therapies and the newer therapies like HG and NLP is the scientific evidence to back these newer theories up. However both of these are going through much research and analysis and the evidence is stacking up as to the positive impact they are having, so I hope they will soon be fully accepted and more respected by the scientific and academic community. All I can share is that for me personally and from what I have seen and experienced with my clients the techniques have had good results.

Since setting up a small team of mental health advisors and employing two excellent Clinical Psychologists I have been very lucky enough to listen and learn a little from them and their views and experiences. I have also experienced the support from a Clinical Psychologist on my own recent health journey as I tried to come to terms with my diagnosis. I learnt from them the importance of knowing and understanding something about my narrative. The story of my life to date and why this might be important in understanding the here and now. So I have a much more respectful view of why sometimes this may be appropriate.

At the end of the day , I believe it’s back to that old sage TIME. For me it is all about giving myself and the client time to think and explore together their resources and the best tools I have to share with them in the given time and situation being presented. Therapy is not something you do to some one else it is a journey you go on together with the therapist acting as a guide along the way. I believe you come into therapy to change your future not your past, but having a greater understanding about how your past history may have influenced your thinking today can be the key in helping you move forward.

So we have lots to explore together and over the next few blogs, I will talk in more depth about the different approaches and types of therapy you can access to help you with this.

On a different note, today I hope to bag up all the lovely scarves and hats that have been donated so far, ready to deliver to the Macmillan Centre next week. I shall make sure I get some photo’s to show you.

I also hope to have a visit to the wholesaler’s and start to better organise all the gear I have collected for the Village Secret event. So not much time for succumbing today I just hope my body agrees!

Have a happy day.

Are you getting your messages from the universe yet? If not don’t forget you can have them emailed to you for free by signing up at:

www.tut.com

Deborah x

A very proud mum and the NHS change day…

I am very proud of both of my daughters but today I want to share with you the success of my eldest daughter and how I feel so proud of her, especially in the last few weeks and months.

Pollyanna is undoubtably a very bright and focused young lady. This is not only demonstrated by her academic achievements that include, a first degree in politics and philosophy, a distinction in Masters of research, and her recent completion of the CIMA
(Chartered Institute of Management Accounts) course, (so far she has passed all of her exams for this with flying colours and is all set to receive her qualification as a charted accountant). I also want to acknowledge her dedication in supporting my own organisation, me personally and the rest of her family.

Pollyanna is always ready to help her elderly grandmother calling her most days and visiting her weekly, she supports her sister with her baby Elliot, and of course is there for me and her step father, calling us daily with offers of support and regular visits.

She finds the time and energy to do all this whilst finishing her NHS graduate scheme, which was no mean feat to get on (the competition was very tough) and is juggling her studies with her regular work place.

I am sure like me, having the support of a caring partner helps, so I must also thank her lovely boyfriend for his contribution.

I certainly appreciate that I couldn’t achieve all I do without the support and care of my loving husband and I often think Colin should be on my trusts pay role with the unseen time he spends rushing around printing, binding and generally supporting me behind the scenes. No wonder the poor guy has chest pains! Maybe I had better take a look at his work / life balance! Colin really is the wind beneath my wings.

Pollyanna has lots of resilience factors and her mothers drive, energy and enthusiasm for life.

Only a few years ago her paternal grandfather, to whom she was very close, died of Myeloma and her biological father has only recently got over ( if you can get over such a thing) bowel cancer. Now with my own diagnosis to come to terms Pollyanna’s powers of resilience and positive mental attitude are really coming into play

She is presently being offered various jobs and has to consider her next move very carefully. There is nothing tying her in to the NHS and with her connections in the city she could easily get a job with a bank earning mega bucks.

But not Pollyanna she is passionate about the NHS and making a difference, (now where may that have come from, I wonder ?).

Relatively recently , together with a few of her young graduate colleagues, they came up with the idea of the NHS Change Day.

This day is drawing close, it is set for March 13th, so only one week to go.

If I had been well and working (not signed off on sick leave) , I would have been more involved in our trusts drive to get our staff involved. I do hope, however, that many of the staff have read the newsletter that came out on February 27th . It was all about the NHS change day and how our chief exec David Law, is calling on us all to make a pledge.

David Law, will pledge…….”We will discuss how to reduce paperwork for the clinical teams”

and…The Quality Directorate Team pledges that on that day, each member of the Quality and Governance Directorate will visit one of the Trust’s services to meet the patients and team members, find out more about the services offered and support them to get involved in the day.

If you are working for our organisation have you made your pledge yet?

You didn’t think a little thing like Cancer would keep me quiet and off your back did you, even if I am running a little behind schedule?

For the many readers of this blog who aren’t health professionals and we are up to nearly 10,000 views now , let me explain to you what this is all about.

This information is taken directly from NHS Change Day website:

NHS Change Day is a single day of collective action to demonstrate how small changes can have a big impact.

On the 13 March 2013 NHS Change Day will bring together the individual creativity, energy and innovative thinking of thousands of NHS staff from across clinical and non-clinical areas of work, in a single day of collective action to improve care for patients, their families and their carers.

Change Day is an NHS grassroots initiative devised and driven by new young and emergent clinical and managerial leaders from primary and secondary care across the NHS in England, who want to make this call to action the single largest simultaneous improvement event in the NHS.

It is an ambitious programme of activities aimed at galvanising and engaging the frontline in the process of improvement through individuals and teams pledging to make a change in their practice which will improve patient experience and/or clinical outcomes by spreading and adopting best practice and championing innovation.

This will be a country wide event covering the whole of the UK and will coincide with Healthcare Innovation Expo at Excel in the same day.

The idea of NHS Change Day is to create a mass movement of people working in the NHS
demonstrating the difference they can make – by one simple act – and proving that large scale improvement is possible in the NHS. The aim is for 65,000 people to take part, 65 being the number of years the NHS has been in existence.

Those who wish to take part can go to the NHS Change Day website at http://www.changemodel.nhs.uk/changeday and make their pledge online, join in the discussions on the forum and become part of the growing list of active supporters and organisations taking part on the day.

You can see how proud I am of Pollyanna for coming up with such a great idea , (alongside a few of her colleagues of course)

My pledge is…to increase the resilience of our workforce by empowering them to improve their own mental health and emotional well being and achieve a better more healthy work / life balance.

I intend to do this by writing a blog for our organisation, very similar to this one but perhaps more specifically sharing the mental health parts of this blog with all the Hertfordshire Community NHS staff.

Should I just share this blog, which could perhaps act as a good role model for coping with adversity and demonstrating resilience?

Or write a more specific new blog? I am not sure as this one is quite a bit more about me rather than how I can help others.

I know some of you reading this are working in our trust so I would value your opinion in particular. Also have you made your pledge yet?

Remember you only have a few days left to deliver your pledge.

I am also considering going down to London ( yet again but not for treatment this time) to take part in the Heath Innovation Expo being put out on to celebrate the day.

I just need to find some one to go along with who is happy to perhaps drive or at least accompany a bald, bloated but enthusiastic cancer patient who is still holding on tight to her passion for work and mental health.

I think I must also ask the nurses etc at UCLH today what they know about the NHS change day and check to see of they have put their pledge in yet.

Hmm I wonder if my own team have put out their pledges, it’s hard being out of the loop. Hopefully one of them will be reading this blog and encourage the others to get their pledges in. It doesn’t have to be anything big just one thing that you are pledging to do to make a change in practice that in turn will improve our patients experience. Please let me know.

I urge you all not to just read, or necessarily believe all the bad spin stories often reported about us in the daily papers. We are, in the majority, a caring bunch of extremely dedicated people who want to keep the NHS alive and something that our whole country can feel proud of. I do however feel thst we have the private sector biting at our ankles, hungry for a piece of the action, and just perhaps offering a cheaper but not necessarily greater quality of service. In this day of financial constraints , even at the cost of reduced quality, money talks, and with new commissioning arrangements we are all having to work with a business head on. This is not necessarily something nurses have had needed to think about never mind worry about and do before.

Well it looks like I have got plenty to keep me motivated and out of mischief, so I am so pleased those cancerous cells have been taking note and dying off. They really do have no place to hide in my body. Together we are seeking them out and if one rat gets pregnant we shall be after it and its young, (sorry poor rats I didn’t mean to necessarily pick on you as my metaphor).

I am also grateful for my ten plate spinning abilities and will certainly not let the ‘Village Secrets’, ‘ Especially for You ‘ charity scarves or ‘Hinxworth Festival Birthday Charity Party’ , fall to the ground, with much family and community support they are continuing to spin well.

So just to finish off, this post is dedicated to Pollyanna.

Thank you for being the beautiful shining star you are and letting others benefit from you glorious rays of sunshine.

Your very proud mum

Deborah

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