Sunday, 17 November 2013

Getting to the heart of the matter: Compassion in Cardiac Care

Yesterday was a long day. At 07.00 I caught the first plane out from Zagreb in Croatia, to Frankfurt, and then onto Manchester Airport. I had a quick shower and change of clothes at the Bolton House. Then it was driving up the road to the quintessential English Village of Hornsby for afternoon tea, and wedding planning with youngest son and future daughter-in-law and her parents. A few hours later it was up to the House in Scotland for a house warming with friends who have just moved into their home in the village.

I was in Croatia at the invitation of the Croatian Cardiac Nurses Congress, a member of the European Society of Cardiology. I was to speak at their conference – my paper explored what ensuring compassionate cardiac nursing care might involve – which I think involves bringing together the theoretical and practice based knowledge nurses have, with patient experience knowledge and valuing these equally in our relationships with patients, carers and our colleagues. A lively and collegiate discussion followed the presentation. It felt good to be in the company of such committed and passionate colleagues.

I was also able to meet with the President of the Croatian Nursing Council, Dragica Simunec, who has written much about the development of nursing in Croatia. She was someone whose ambitions for the future development of nursing were matched by her actions. I hope both our Schools will be able to work towards achieving a better future for nurses in both countries.

The final meeting of the trip was with Professor Davor Milicic, Dean of the Medical School at the University of Zagreb. The University which was founded in 1669, is one of the oldest University’s in the world, and has over 52000 students studying programmes in 31 different faculties. The Medical School was founded in 1917, and amongst other programmes has a full medical education programme which is taught entirely in English. The medical school is consistently in the top 10 medical schools world wide.

It was a wonderful experience from the moment I arrived at Zagreb (which was much later than planned due to the world renowned efficiency of Lufthansa Airlines) and entered my hotel room to find a magnificent array of welcoming gifts, to the kindness of the night porter who at 04.30 yesterday morning (03.30 GMT) sorted out a cup of tea for me while I waited for the taxi. Thanks too, to the patient who agreed I could watch her coronary angioplasty - a first time experience for me, and a profound one too. I am very much looking forward to going back there, but right now I am looking forward to turning my computer off and enjoying a long luxurious lay in this morning!