How I am with doctors has changed.

By Jen Smith, RN, Australia  

I was reflecting and appreciating recently on the fact that how I work with doctors has changed over the last few years. I have nursed for over 25 years and I had never until recently really given myself the opportunity to appreciate what doctors offer and the level of care they have for their patients. I basically viewed them from the perspective of providing a function to patients and I carried out whatever it was that they prescribed.

Early in my nursing career, I struggled with what I perceived was a hierarchy in terms of whose input was valued with patients and I had opinions about what was offered in terms of treatments. As a result I reacted to most of what I saw and decided that I was going to focus my efforts on building a career in natural therapies so that I could leave nursing behind and therefore have very little to do with doctors and what I thought was a limited way of working. I also saw nursing as lesser, with no independence and subservient to medicine.

I saw natural therapies as a way out, a way to being an independent practitioner and independent regarding how I worked with people and a way to seek recognition for the work that “I” was doing. Continue reading “How I am with doctors has changed.”

A walking vagina? We are so much more.

by Jane Torvaney, Physiotherapist, Scotland 

Within my work as a physiotherapist, I assess and treat women who have what is termed ‘urinary dysfunction’. Most often this means that the women have either stress incontinence (leakage of urine when the body is under stress e.g. coughing, sneezing or running), urge incontinence (a sudden and strong need to urinate) or a mixture of both.

As part of the training to more fully support women who have urinary dysfunction, physiotherapists can attend a course to be taught how to perform a vaginal examination. This allows us to measure the strength, tone, laxity, coordination and connective tissues of the pelvic floor muscles and gives women a reference point to feel the contraction of their pelvic floor muscles from within.

Knowing that on this course I would be trained in vaginal examination and then taking it back to carry out with women, sent me in a spin and raised the following questions for me to consider. Continue reading “A walking vagina? We are so much more.”

The ripple effect of speaking honestly in nursing. (Inspired by a nursing colleague)

By Anonymous

Throughout my 20 plus years of experience in nursing, I have been inspired every day by the colleagues I work with – the skills and the care they demonstrate and the thoughtful way my nursing colleagues are with our patients, families and each other has always been clear…

Recently, I learnt so much from witnessing a colleague who didn’t hold back as they advocated for a patient: they significantly changed the outcome and treatment plan for that patient.

Whilst outcomes for our patients are important, what I really observed and appreciated was how this simple action created a ripple effect within the broader local nursing community.

Continue reading “The ripple effect of speaking honestly in nursing. (Inspired by a nursing colleague)”

The Value of our Expression in Research

By Jen Smith, RN, Australia

Two years ago I participated in a research study on self-care for health professionals who work in palliative care. It was a qualitative research study where I was interviewed on what self-care was to me, how I understood it and how I applied it to my own life. This interview was a wonderful experience, which I shared in a blog at the time called ‘The Value of Qualitative Research -Understanding and Expression.’  

The research has since been published and it’s had me pondering further about what we call research.

In fact, I re-read the article that I wrote on my experience at that time. As a result of participating in that research I came to new understandings about:

  • Myself, working as a nurse and how important self-care is
  • How confirming it was to discuss with a researcher how my life has changed with the simple activities of self-care
  • Research itself and how amazing it was to participate in a research study.

Continue reading “The Value of our Expression in Research”

Quality of life or quality in life?

by HR professional in healthcare, London UK. 

In medicine, and in life, ‘quality of life’ can be used as a measure or as a way of making decisions.

Quality of life has many definitions including:

  • “The general well-being of a person or society, defined in terms of health and happiness, rather than wealth.” (1)
  • “The standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group.” (2)
  • “The patient’s ability to enjoy normal life activities.” (3)
  • “The degree of satisfaction an individual has regarding a particular style of life.” (4)
  • “A patient’s general well-being, including mental status, stress level, sexual function, and self-perceived health.” (5)

In health, decisions can be made based on quality of life e.g. helping patients make decisions about treatments, decisions about a care pathway through a particular illness, disease, or surgery, and decisions about end of life care. In our lives we can also make healthy living decisions about our quality of life – e.g. exercise, countryside walks, certain foods or nutrients. We also make quality of life decisions based on where we live e.g. to live in the countryside or in a certain town or village, and about what type of work or where we work e.g. flexible hours, or somewhere that is easy to commute to.

Whilst these conversations and decisions are important, do we ever consider our quality in life?

What if our quality in life is equal to or more important than our quality of life?

What’s the difference between our quality of life and our quality in life?

Continue reading “Quality of life or quality in life?”

What is the responsibility in our work as medical professionals?

by Lieke Campbell, Dentistry Student, Ghent, Belgium.

There is a saying that goes something like: ‘you can only truly care for another when you care for yourself’. This makes sense because when we do not make sure our body is well cared for we might get tired, exhausted or even ill to the point we cannot care for another anymore. I have also found that becoming very emotional, e.g. angry or frustrated, and taking on too much from or for others, are also signs that we are not truly well and not taking care of ourselves first. Taking care of ourselves is a key part of the responsibility of being a health care professional.

If this is true, and if this is the way our bodies naturally work, why is this level of responsibility not lived in everyday life? Continue reading “What is the responsibility in our work as medical professionals?”

The Evil of Hope

by Fiona Lotherington, Registered Nurse and Complementary Health Practitioner, Northern NSW. 

You may think that the word evil is extreme when describing the effect of hope. Yet I define evil as anything that holds back our growth and development and anything which perpetuates the separation from the truth of who we are or which delays the healing needed to return to our essence. Defined in this way, evil and hope are perfect bedfellows.

I was recently listening to a friend talk about his experience with his partner who had died many years ago from breast cancer. As he shared the details of the events around her illness and eventual death, the word ‘hope’ came up several times. Each time I heard this word, I experienced a growing sense of dis-ease, as I became aware of what a detrimental role hope had played in her illness and death.

For a moment this surprised me, as hope is normally considered to be a virtue. Like a warm coat in winter, it is used to comfort ourselves or other people when we are ‘down on our luck’. It is common to hear people say, “I hope you get better soon” or “don’t give up hope” and consider this a kindness. We give generously to charities dedicated to researching medical conditions, in the hope that a cure will be discovered. Continue reading “The Evil of Hope”