How to feel good ? BE POSITIVE & PROUD – An antidote to negative thought



My jacket pin – that I do wear with pride 

I spent the day with NHS England colleagues today. You know ‘us’ ? The NHS staff saved from redundancy, placed in new roles, with new job descriptions in new organizations, with new areas of work, in new work bases …you know ‘us’, a little bit scared, stressed, excited and optimistic all in equal measures.

I am not asking for any sympathy, I realize that in a country today we are lucky to have jobs. I feel lucky that I am in a job, being paid to do something where I feel I can make a difference and contribute to a greater good, our NHS. Our NHS, which is now 65; a pensioner of a service!

So what is my gripe? Well, I just want some positive reinforcement of what the NHS is doing!

To be honest, I am ‘sick’, totally ‘sick and tired’ of hearing what’s negative about our NHS.

I’m not stupid, neither are my colleagues! We KNOW what is wrong with the NHS. We know about Mid Staffs, we know about fragmented services, lack of staff on wards, the need for money in some areas, the need for improved care, the issues with ‘111’, the need for compassion and respect. We understand a mum does not want to wait in A&E for 3 hours and 55 minutes on a Friday night with a sick child. We understand some people don’t die where they wish, that people didn’t always get the food, the drugs and the care they should have.

We know why some of this has happened, and we also understand the ‘Politics’ and what a  ‘hot potato’ the NHS is. That policy does not always align with the ‘real world’ and that peoples voices are not always heard. We know , and we try to work with it .

I accept that some of the NHS has NOT done their best. I agree the NHS is NOT perfect, but do people REALLY think NHS staff wake up each day with a plan to do a terrible job?

We know some things are not right …all we need to do is pick up the Daily Mail to be bombarded with such news (I must admit I cant do this as I come out in a rash!). I know a ‘good NHS story’ may not sell papers, but it will do a hell of a lot for the morale and motivation of the staff. As well as do a lot for the confidence and anxiety levels of a patient.

So as a leader, when things go wrong, what do you think is the best thing to do? Do you think on a daily basis, you should tell your staff what a rubbish job they are doing, that they are useless, uncaring uncompassionate beings? That it is their fault, or at least it is not YOUR fault that something has gone wrong?

What would Tesco or John Lewis do? I think they may apologise, attempt to rectify the problem, keep open and honest communication going and to keep listening. Learn from things; but turn a negative into a positive.

If your child does something wrong; fails an exam, falls off their bike, drops a glass, makes a spelling mistake, what would you do? Would you tell them they are stupid? Tell them they are useless? Or would you sit with them, talk to them, listen to them, help them understand what went wrong and how best to fix or improve next time?

We MUST listen to what people tell us, LEARN from it, keep communications channels open and do our best to FIX THE PROBLEM. And share this with others. We MUST look to what is good, yes learn from what didn’t work, but look for what DOES work.

Find the notice board in every ward, which shows the new ‘Thank You’ cards, consider the smiles and the appreciation when we deliver the service the patient expects. The relief on faces when something is done as promised. For every negative story we are faced with, find the ones that are positive.

Consider the ground breaking medical procedures we can give to our citizens, the IVF programmes, the artificial limbs, the drugs, the diagnostic tests, the transport in an ambulance or helicopter and (at the moment, mostly) without a bill.

Lets celebrate the good, share success.

 So I am proud and also thankful. I am thankful for the surgeon in Oxford who cut away a brain tumor troubling my dear friend. Thankful for all the staff who cared for my mum when diagnosed with breast cancer, the nurses who administered radiotherapy with care and respect, the compassion of the District Nurse who quietly told me if was not a good idea to be too far away from my Mum as she ‘didn’t have long left’. This allowed us to spend time as a family, with my mum, at home for her last days. Giving my Mum the peace she wished for and in the place she wanted to be.

I am thankful for the people who safely delivered my two boys, and cared for one in Special Care Baby Unit. Thankful for those who supported me with dignity and empathy when I miscarried a baby. Appreciative of the nurse who asked if I wished to have the baby’s name recorded in a book of remembrance.

The GP who listened to me and promptly referred me ,over  a Christmas period for diagnostic tests and the consultant who held my hand as I cried when I thought I had the same cancer that so cruelly took my Mum.

The care in A&E, late at night when my Dad was rushed in with suspected appendicitis, the porter that walked me to tea machine when I was tired I was lost. The nurse that placed her hand on my Dad’s shoulder, when he was frightened and worried about a procedure. These are just a few of MY experiences, across a few years. I am sure you have your own, some could have been better but I’m quite sure there is good in those experiences too. Imagine the positive experiences of the MILLIONS in our country since 1948!   

Can we not just remember these too, bring these to mind as we work, as we communicate, as we share and we re-build our networks and community. I am in no way making any excuse for what has gone wrong and I feel so desperately sad and disappointed for anyone who has experienced poor quality or unsafe care. But we MUST consider the good too.

Positive thoughts and sharing a smile, a ‘good patient story’ is just as powerful. I want to remain ‘Proud of the NHS’, proud of what is happening each and everyday in practices, ambulances, hospital wards, the community …proud of emergency practitioners working through the night, those on call for any potential emergency, those who deal with drunks, abuse, and still administer and deliver good quality care, those who plan and improve services, proud of staff who keep our hospitals clean, proud of those who manage our finances.

I’m proud to be a part of our NHS.

Lets join together in being proud, lets be positive and lets do our utmost to fix what is broken, tired and poorly in our ‘pensioner NHS’. Make sure we have this service fit for our futures and that of our children and grandchildren.

Spend money like it was your own money, only commission or provide services you would wish your family and friends to receive!

BE POSITIVE, BE PROUD and at all times, remember we are here to serve others!


To conclude – a student nurse  Molly Case, who expresses what it is like to be a nurse. Beautiful , a must watch . ‘Nursing the nation’

And some music , a little cheesy you may think , but I think it is an amazing song. What have YOU done today to make YOU feel proud?  Heather Small – Proud


About Michaela Finegan

Passionate about the NHS and making it better; for patients and staff. An avid fan of social media with the belief that, along with social marketing, social media the potential to positively affect how we use the NHS and how it provides services to us. First love is music, spending as much time as possible at gigs and festivals. Enduring, everlasting love for my two beautiful sons. All views my own.
This entry was posted in call to action, motivation, urgent and emergency care and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to How to feel good ? BE POSITIVE & PROUD – An antidote to negative thought

  1. Gareth Howells says:

    Its the usual story that if you have a positive experience of a service you tell one person, but if you have a negative experience you tell 10! I have spent my professional life caring for people and equipping others to do the same, to the best of my ability, and it is something that, despite the adverse publicity in the media, I still feel intensely passionate about. There are times, and I have witnessed this myself many times that staff, especially clinical staff, take criticism far too personally and become defensive in the face of it. We need to do exactly as you suggest and keep an honest and open dialogue with our communities and learn and reflect on what went wrong.
    The drive to meet targets and to tick boxes in the NHS over the past 10 yrs has taken staffs eyes off the ball, and the role becomes more about managing the system, rather than about caring for vulnerable, scared and needy people. If we rediscover that golden thread of why we all come into healthcare in the first place, ie to provide the very best care that we can to our service users, and spend less time worrying about the system that delivers that care then the service quality we deliver will surely improve as a result. Perhaps after Mr Nicholson departs in the near future, we may actually get a chance to do just that…………. We can but dream!

    • Michaela Firth says:

      Thanks Gareth, I appreciate your comments and feedback. and I agree , lets remember why we do the jobs we do , the passion that just needs a little igniting every now and then x

  2. Trevor Gay says:

    The NHS is ALL and ONLY about people. We can have the best technology and top notch equipment but that is frankly useless if you don’t have the passion, enthusiasm and professionalism of our terrific front line NHS staff. Add to that leadership that sets an example; sets a direction; creates teams; and brings the best out of people and you have excellence. I am proud of the NHS that paid my salary for 35 years and we must fight to correct right wing media lies and exaggerations that we see in comics like the Daily Mail..

  3. Love this blog post! We’ve almost all had these good experiences.

    It’s all about the ‘human connections’ as you say.
    Molly Case has a very bright future – saw this on a few different media so she is getting (some) of the following she deserves – she is on twitter.

    Reading ‘If Disney Ran Your Hospital’ – ALL about customer service, team scripts with a message not rote words, and imagination. Acting great customer service doesn’t cut it.

    Your post really cheered me – a real call to action

  4. robwebster1 says:

    Thanks – great stuff 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s