Not so much a word as simply the letter X which has prompted some musings for this blog post, a letter frequently associated with an expression of love for others. Today is Saint Valentine’s day. He was a third century priest martyred and since commemorated on 14 February and connected with love since the middle ages. There are many legends connected with Saint Valentine this video refers to one. Millions of individuals across the world today may be taking the opportunity to demonstrate their love for the important people in their lives.
Perhaps a suitable point to remind ourselves of what it was that made us want to be a nurse. It has been a pleasure and a joy to meet our latest cohort students as they begin their professional journeys. Whilst they may be at the start of their professional journey many of them already have experience of engaging with caring in various settings before they began their studies. Indeed, perhaps it is these very experiences which helped to consolidate their decision to commit themselves to become a professional registered nurse. Several of this new cohort already have an awareness of the 6 Cs and like many neophyte practitioners they have a great desire to exhibit care and compassion. Interestingly when asking students what are the other components of the 6 Cs they frequently refer to “Cs” which are not included in the chief nurse’s original thoughts. Perhaps you might like to contribute to a wordcloud of words beginning with C which help to explain the diversity of the profession of nursing and the individuals who are committed to being nurses.
For many students X may have negative connotations as the symbol is utilised to denote when they have misunderstood or expressed themselves incorrectly in their assessments and assignments. It is hard to be told that we have got things wrong and the majority of students probably do not relish the prospect of receiving an X place against their work. However, it also marks an opportunity for students to appreciate the limits of their competence, understanding and learning to date. It provides the spur to develop an action plan to address any identified deficiencies and so continue to expand and grow their individual professional knowledge base.
Turning that X around is a reminder of the amazing work of the British Red Cross organisation; with their mission to intervene when crises strike anywhere in the world; as well as in the UK, to help anyone get the support they need. Nursing has its 6 Cs and the British Red Cross have seven fundamental principles; humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. You may find it interesting to explore these principles in more detail and read about those principles in action all around the world today as the organisation seeks to bring hope in the midst of humanitarian crises. You may even consider supporting them either financially or as a volunteer yourself.
A significant part of the British Red Cross organisation’s work is to encourage individuals to learn simple first aid skills so that everyone, not just student nurses and registered practitioners, can be confident in helping others in an emergency. Students and registered practitioners must always be mindful of what the regulatory Code says they must do to achieve the standard “Always offer help if an emergency arises in your practice setting or anywhere else”.
The X turned around also is a reminder of the country of Switzerland, the destination for some individuals who have taken the decision to end their own lives. Under English law euthanasia is illegal and is considered manslaughter or murder. However, last year, the UK Supreme Court ruled that legal permission would no longer be needed to withdraw treatment from patients in permanent vegetative state. The judgement continues to divide opinion, as well as provoking ethical discussions and challenging religious beliefs. Some individuals regard such rulings as humane and compassionate whilst others are concerned that highly vulnerable group of individuals are affected by the removal of a vital legal safeguard. Earlier this week a video was released of a man who had motor neurone disease and decided to end his life rather than experience the final stages of the illness. In the video he and his wife talk candidly about their experiences of dealing with his condition and fulfilling his wishes. The video culminates in his wife saying “I just wish the law would allow me to have him for a little longer”. This issue is likely to continue to be a subject for much debate and reflection from all perspectives.
is also the means by which we express our opinions and our support. Whether this is in the political arena through our participation in general elections and referendums or engaging in the plethora of surveys which we encounter through our professional lives. Unfortunately sometimes we are sceptical about the impact of recording our X in the political arena but it should not stop us from doing so.
Reference was made to the work of the UK Biobank in a previous post. Respondents across the country; including me, are continuing to complete the surveys sent to us in order to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses. The latest survey has been in relation to chronic pain an issue which affects a significant number of individuals across the UK. Hopefully the X’s place within the survey will help to improve our collective understanding of this important matter and help us to develop mechanisms to alleviate chronic pain.
Finally also earlier this week X marks the spot as individuals who played key roles in the development of global positioning systems (GPS) were awarded the £1M Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. GPS touches all of our lives, listen to the judges discussing the importance of GPS.
If you are reading this on 14 February 2019 there is still time to express the sentiments of the day if you have not yet done so to the people who matter most to you.