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

The NHS heroes who came to Manchester’s aid in the city’s darkest hour

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.





12 thoughts on “Questioning

  1. An interesting read, very relevant and informative. Raises a number of questions and causes you to think about what is being said, not just a read through activity, definitely food for thought. Brilliant section on how we have pulled together in the wake of the devastating attacks. Although I would like to add this is not just a pull together of healthcare professionals but that of everyone in the entire community from ‘registered nurses’ to ‘homeless people on the street’.


  2. The whole of last week was shrouded in sadness, shock and disbelief. The events at the M.E.N arena certainly made me hug my loved ones a little bit tighter and longer. It opens up a whole host of debates and opinions which then make you think about your own views and thoughts on the issue of terrorism and what the future may hold for us as individuals, communities and as a country. I wasn’t surprised by the way in which the public all ‘pulled together’ as I think that is ‘just what we do.’
    What pulled me in different directions personally was the notion of us standing together to not allow ‘them’ to win and to carry on going to places as we normally would. I wholeheartedly agreed with this statement, however, there was a part of me that had this pang of panic and fear inside at the thought of it happening again. That thought in the back of my mind of my loved ones going to ‘risky’ areas and the ‘what if’s’ that came with that. I couldn’t help but think that each and every time an act of terrorism occurs and lives are taken, they have won to a degree.
    Ultimately, will this ever stop?


  3. This post is so relevant following the recent attacks in Manchester and London. The role of all healthcare professionals has been highlighted in the past few weeks and their care, compassion and professionalism is a credit to the country. I’m sure we have all been quite reflective in recent weeks and this has already led to, and will continue to lead, professionals to ask “What can I do better?” The care and comfort of the patient are at the centre of nursing practice, and I admit this blog did make me think about how to question the patient without these questions becoming an “inquisition” for them.


  4. A really interesting and eye opening post. Really enjoyable read highlighting the positives after the tragic events that have been occurring recently . The post really allowed me to think of the importance of questioning and the difference it can make which I believe a lot of us have also learnt more and more of through experience in order to increase understanding and gain more from experiences . As well as this it is crucial to be considerate in the way in which we ask these questions.


  5. This is a great post! I think recent events, and the fantastic response of registered nurses, other professionals, and the general public, have touched us all in one way or another. However, the response of the nurses in particular did not make me ask questions, but rather answered one very important one for me… yes, this is definitely the career for me! I am proud to be a part of the nursing community in a student capacity, and this only makes me even more determined to get through this last 14 months and join the nursing community as a registered professional!


  6. I believe the support for staff and students affected by the attack is vital as this influences the care the public receive. After I have cared for some victims and families from the attack while on placement I have noticed this is a very sensitive matter. This sensitivity must be acknowledged by all staff.


  7.  this was a very interesting read and definitely highlights the importance of togetherness and heroism of the supporting organisations.

    Also good to have found out the following information too

    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. 


  8. Reading this allowed me to reflect on the events at the MEN and how the community came together to help care and rebuild Manchester. As a student at the University, it is brilliant to see that facilities are provided to support students through difficult times such as the attack. Events like these allow me to reflect on the roles of professionals during this time; how they should be proud of themselves for the role they played in helping the injured.


  9. Manchester is a tight knit community of people from different cultures, faiths, sexuality etc. The city united in response to the Manchester attacks showing what a strong community it is. The response is inspiring to healthcare workers to carry on promoting such unity and fantastic response to healthcare.


  10. I have recently resumed studies and joined Year 2, I am definitely understanding the Voltaire saying “the more I read, the more acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing” quoted in the articl especially with the exam looming and then OSCE.


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