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Mental Health

This week on Monday (it really was blue Monday for me!) I underwent surgery on my leg, as I have suffered with painful varicose veins for the past six years. I wanted to tell you about my experience and why I think we should be so proud of our NHS. We often hear so many negative comments about the NHS, but I want to remind us all that despite the ever increasing challenges and pressures on the NHS, we have something very special here in the UK.

As you know I’m a registered nurse and have worked in the medical sector for the past 21 years. However 6 years ago when I gave birth to my Daughter, I had an awful traumatic birth which wasn’t helped by the care (more like lack of care) that I received in a certain London hospital. My experience was so bad that I wrote an official complaint to the NHS Trust in question, this in turn lead to the member staff concerned being unable to work in that Trust again.

The whole experience left me wondering what had happened to the NHS that I know and had loved? The place where I have spent much of my adult life working, it even made me question my career choice. However, my experience this week as a patient has left me with a new view point. I now once again feel proud to be part of the nursing profession and I can tell you that there are still nurses who do care and know how to really get down on a patient’s level.

I have needed varicose vein surgery since 2016, but essentially I have been putting off having the treatment, because in reality I was so terrified to put my life in the hands of health professionals again! To cut a long story short the first time my surgery was booked, unfortunately the hospital had to cancel it. The second time it was booked I cancelled it, because I was having mental health issues with anxiety so bad that I couldn’t face it. So it was third time lucky!

Warning – there is a graphic picture of my bruised leg below!

This is just after I woke up from the anesthetic! I think I was still as high as a kite!

Anyway, the point I want to make is that my Daughter’s birth was just one bad experience and this time (obviously I was not giving birth, more having an uncomplicated procedure) at Charing Cross Hospital – part of Imperial Healthcare. I was treated with dignity and respect. I was very nervous about having a general anesthetic, but everything was explained to me and it was the little things the nurses, doctors and other members of the team did that made me feel cared for.

So now the surgery is done I feel like a weight has been lifted from me. My leg as you can see doesn’t look very pretty, I had what is known as a ultrasonography guided percutaneous radiofrequency ablation of the long saphenous vein. I am still finding it very uncomfortable to walk and sleep at night, as the bruising can get worse before it improves. However I am back at work and trying to get on with things, I’m just a bit slower than usual.

I have found a new prospective of both hospitals and medical care. I also think being a patient myself again has reminded me what is really important in nursing and that really it is the basics. As cheesy as it sounds it’s the human touch and the reassuring words that make all the difference. I was so lucky to have a lovely recovery nurse looking after me when I woke up from the general anesthetic. I remember her looking at me and making direct eye contact. She spoke softy and was reassuring, she didn’t rush me and I felt heard when I said I was in pain and very cold. She held a cup of water for me so I could drink small sips and made sure I had an extra blanket.

To practice as a Registered Nurse in the UK you must be a member of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and you must uphold the code of conduct. I have just pulled out the very first part of the code for you to read, as for me this part really stands out, but every single part of it is really important too. You can read the full code on the NMC Website.

Prioritise people

“You put the interests of people using or needing nursing or midwifery services first. You make their care and safety your main concern and make sure that their dignity is preserved and their needs are recognised, assessed and responded to. You make sure that those receiving care are treated with respect, that their rights are upheld and that any discriminatory attitudes and behaviours towards those receiving care are challenged”.

“1 Treat people as individuals and uphold their dignity

To achieve this, you must:

1.1 treat people with kindness, respect and compassion

1.2 make sure you deliver the fundamentals of care effectively

1.3 avoid making assumptions and recognise diversity and individual choice

1.4 make sure that any treatment, assistance or care for which you are responsible is delivered without undue delay

1.5 respect and uphold people’s human rights”

From the NMC Code of conduct – Publication date: 29 January 2015
Effective from: 31 March 2015
Updated to reflect the regulation of nursing associates: 10 October 2018

My School of Nursing & Midwifery badge from The University of Sheffield, where I completed my training in 1997.

Finally, I want to thank every single member of staff at Charing Hospital for their care (I doubt any of them will read this), this post is for their hard work and dedication. From the lady on the ward who brought me a cup of tea up to the Consultant Vascular Surgeon who performed my operation. I thank you for your care and consideration.

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Why As Parents We Need To Take Our Own Health More Seriously

May 30, 2017
Comments Off on Why As Parents We Need To Take Our Own Health More Seriously

How many times have you suffered with a health issue and thought I really should see a Doctor about that, but because of the busy and hectic life you are leading you don’t manage to make that appointment? I know this feeling well and as a working parent there have been many occasions over the last four years that I have perhaps not taken my health as seriously as I should. We are all too busy running around looking after everyone else in our lives. Our children are our main focus, so we rarely have time to stop and think about ourselves.

It is obvious that your own health should be your priority, because if you are not mentally and physically fit to look after your own family then who will? In today’s society it is often the case that we no longer live near our immediate family. In my case both my parents live more than 100 miles away, so are not in a position to help if things go wrong. So now is the time to start looking at what you can do to improve your health.

First of all, are there any outstanding tests or investigations that you have been putting off? Are you up to date with your cervical smear test? You should be having a test every three years. In my job as a Practice Nurse I perform numerous smears on a daily basis. One of the things I hear nearly every day is “I know I should have come sooner, I have been putting it off”. Please don’t put this test off, it really does just take a couple of minutes and it could save your life. So if you have had a letter recently reminding you your test is due, pick up the phone and book your appointment at your GP surgery today. For more information about cervical screening have a look at NHS Choices .

My next question to you is are you over forty? If so did you know that the NHS offers a free health check? This is something that not everyone seems to be aware of and doesn’t always take up. It is a check up of your overall health and it can tell you if you are more at risk of: heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and stroke. First you need to attend your surgery to have blood tests taken and then you will be invited back to discuss the results. At the appointment you will also have your blood pressure and weight taken. This is usually done by the Practice Nurse or Health Care Assistant. Once completed it will be able to give you an overall picture of your health and the areas you need to improve upon.

You might wonder if having a health check actually makes any difference? The NHS latest research suggests that,
“For every 27 people having an NHS Health Check, one person is diagnosed with high blood pressure, for every 110 people having a Health Check, one person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and for every 265 people having a Health Check, one person is diagnosed with kidney disease”.

Getting this check done could be the first step to ensuring you get the correct treatment for a condition, that you might have otherwise not known you had.

Don’t forget about your mental health either. 1 in 4 people will have suffered with some sort of mental health problem in their lifetime. Stop for a second and think about how your mental health may be effecting your daily life?

  • Are you eating, drinking or smoking too much?
  • Are you short tempered with your children or partner?
  • Do you lack energy or always feel tied or run down?

All of these things could be related to your mental health. Not all of us want to or need to go for counselling, but have you considered it? You will be able to get help via your GP. For more information about mental health see the Mind website .

Finally, I would like to draw to your attention to that health niggle that you might have had for some time. Whether it be the mole on your back that you have noticed has been getting bigger, or perhaps you have suffered with heart burn/acid indigestion for a long time or you have had a change in bowel habit, but have done nothing about it. Make the time now to speak to your GP. Our health is so precious and you should never under estimate the benefits of an early diagnosis.

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