Sunday, 4 September 2011

Black and Blue Bodies, A Red Letter Day, and Purple Prose

In my opinion, and I know I am making a rather sweeping generalisation here, nurses becoming patients is never a good thing. Disclosing that one is a nurse to other nurses when one is a patient is possibly also not always such clever thing to do.

I was surprised, therefore to find myself telling a nurse armed with a needle poised above my vein, ready to draw blood, that I was a nurse. The somewhat unfortunate result was getting two bruised arms before any blood was drawn. It was unfortunate that the drawing of blood came immediately before the administration of a deep subcutaneous injection into my abdomen. The injection was painful and bruised me. But it was just the start, my belly was turned black and blue during what was a week of daily injections.   

I was at a clinic I last attended in December 2007. On that first visit I came across a very caring health care assistant. I remember her well. Seeing my bewilderment on that first day at the clinic she kindly offered me a welcome cup of tea – which duly came, served in what my Mother would call 'a proper tea cup'. Nearly four years later, we were both there again. This time there was no tea, and she was the one looking bewildered. The waiting room door was locked. It had a numerical lock which defied all her attempts at guessing the code. So we stood outside talked about the advantages of a Kindle versus paper books and whether I knew who had 'done it' in the TV series the Killers – and despite my repeated protestations that I had never heard of the programme she insisted I must know who the villain was. I was saved by the arrival of the Clinic Sister. The painful injection was a small price to pay for being rescued.

I think the Clinic story is likely to run for a bit yet, unfortunately. What I also hope gets to have a long run is our new School. September 1st, 2011 was a Red Letter Day for the School. It was the official beginning of the new School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work. The creation of this new School, bringing together for the first time a much wider range of health and social care professions in one school, is what I believe to be one of the most exciting and significant developments in the Schools history. The opportunities to deliver our programmes differently are limitless. There are many opportunities for new research and to further contribute to the development of health and social care services of the future. I am really proud to be part of a newly formed team of colleagues who will take these ideas and opportunities forward.

Of course at one time in British Universities, there really were red letter days (often referred to as scarlet days) where the full dress gowns were worn. These days such academic dress is usually only worn on graduation days. It is such a shame that it doesn’t these days. I would love to be able to wear of our gowns everyday!

However, it was only the Doctors who got to wear the Scarlet Robes! That is real Doctors (those with a PhD). But it was not surprising to read the outcomes of the 2011 Ipsos MORI Veracity Index which revealed that 88% of adults in the UK reported that they trust medical doctors to tell the truth. It was an annual poll carried out for British Medical Association. The results revealed that doctors were the most trusted profession measured. The least trusted profession were politicians. It was teachers who were the second most trusted profession (81%). Interestingly, since 1983 at least 50% of those taking part in the survey have also said they trust the ordinary person in the street to tell the truth (in 2011 it was 55%).

And finally, many congratulations to our NJL, who also had her own Red Letter Day on Thursday – she got married - well done and best wishes!