Here in Manchester this week as we reflect on the terrorist attack at the Arena and the aftermath inevitably the question being asked is why? Staff and students are urged to support everyone who is affected in any way by this tragic event. Many of our students are on placements in hospitals that are caring for those affected by the attack. AskUS is a first point of contact for students or staff if you would like to talk about what has happened.
There have been many reports commenting on the dedication, commitment and professionalism of health care professionals in the city such as this one from the Manchester Evening News on 25 May 2017
Such an atrocity leads to individuals, families and communities needing to deal with the consequences of trauma and acute stress. You may find it helpful to listen to a Beyond Belief broadcast from 12 September 2016 which reflected upon terrorist atrocities in France, Belgium and Germany and sought to examine the reaction of individuals to trauma.
The University of Salford is a multicultural, multi ethnic and multi faith community which is committed to supporting all its students and staff. The campus has a Faith Centre with extensive facilities which offers a safe space for everyone; whether they express a faith or not, to question ideas and experiences and build positive relationships between all members of the university community, or somewhere just to relax and contemplate your own questions in a pleasant environment in peace and quiet away from the bustle of university life.
Whatever your beliefs the Christian, Jewish and Muslim Chaplains would be delighted to talk with you; in confidence, about anything you like. As Einstein said “the important thing is not to stop questioning”. He also commented “any fool can know, the point is to understand”.
At this time of year there are many individuals preparing to answer questions and so demonstrate their understanding; either in examinations or assignments. Some may feel they have prepared well; others may fear they have not done enough or perhaps even some have done too much. All probably wish to give a good answer to the questions they are asked. Voltaire reputedly said “judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers”; something for students to ponder perhaps when they are wondering whether their answers really respond to the questions of their assessors. Some individuals may feel a greater empathy with another of Voltaire’s sayings “the more I read, the more acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing”.
Many students will be looking forward to the end of the programmes of study and for what their future career will bring. Some will have already made that first application for their first job as a registered practitioner and some are feeling the increasing need to take that step. Undoubtedly as part of that process will be the interview. It is important to remember that interview should be two-way processes; the interviewer will certainly have many questions that they wish to ask the interviewee but the most productive interviews are where the interviewee reciprocates the questioning process. Both parties have a vested interest to get to know each other as individuals and to really listen to the answers to their questions. This is not dissimilar to how practitioners should engage with their clients in order to ensure that the client’s needs are fully understood and responded to in a meaningful manner. Assessment if we are not careful can appear like an inquisition from the patient’s perspective. It takes real skill to gently probe a client’s history in a manner which makes them feel supported and encouraged to participate in their care. It is also important that pertinent information is shared appropriately across professional groups to avoid the criticism from clients that they are repeatedly asked the same questions by different groups of staff.
We should be encouraging our clients to ask questions about their treatment and their care. It is our responsibility to work in partnership with our clients and to empower them to make decisions about their care. In doing so we must facilitate their knowledge and understanding of their own health and wellbeing and actively support them to ask questions about their care and treatment and how to access relevant health and social care information.
The amount of information that is available to us today through various multimedia can be stimulating and thought-provoking but can also be overwhelming. How do we effectively discriminate the helpful places to seek out information whether we are clients, practitioners or students? NHS choices is a useful place for individuals to start to look for answers to their questions about their healthcare.
Reflecting on our practise allows us an opportunity to question our own engagement and approach to our professional activities. It is important to reflect upon our own individual progress; to ask ourselves what we can do now that we could not do a year ago? And what will we be able to do this time next year? Is it more important to have done or to have said more? Ask yourself what is the single most important thing you have learnt in the last year? What makes you do better? The shortest questions are frequently the most challenging; there is simply nowhere to hide when faced with challenging, direct questions.