Xxx

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.

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7 thoughts on “Xxx

  1. This is a good article as it helps you look at things from a different perspective. It also helps to understand that one thing can have a number of different meanings.

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  2. Prior to reading this latest post I did not think there would be many things that could be put forward in relation to the letter X. However after reading through I have found myself thinking of certain things that can also be associated.
    The letter X can form an association with situations that are dangerous or daring; even representing death and death defeated. In the sense of extreme sports it can often be shortened to X-sports; these are the most, risky or even reckless activities that can be carried out in order to tempt fate. As student nurses and registered nurses it may be common to see patients who have experienced some form of injury due to extreme sports or even general sporting injuries.
    An X may even signify the ending of something, in many cartoons and art forms X’s may be used in place of the eyes in order to promote the idea that death has occurred. We are aware that eyes do not become X’s once an individual has died which begs the question of how X’s over the eyes has become an indicator and representation of this situation.
    Despite having these negative associations X, once turned to make the symbol of the cross, may also be linked to the faith of Christianity. One of the main teachings of Christianity is the love of God and the love of one’s neighbor. The 6 C’s of nursing can be seen as a way of representing the love of ones neighbor; through caring for those who are sick and their families, showing compassion to those who we look after and people who are experiencing a difficult time due to the deteriorating health of a loved one, competence in understanding those around us and understanding the needs of individuals who may not fully understand their own needs, using our skills in communication to provide the highest level of service to those who look to us in times of need, the courage it takes to stand up against bad practice and identify when things can be improved and finally the commitment it takes to show any neighbor love despite what they may have chosen to do in life prior to needing our help.
    The thoughts about Christianity can also provoke the suggestion of life after death. The idea of the soul moving on to a better place after death can bring many people a sense of comfort, whether this be for a loved one who is coming to the end of their life or even themselves. Being a Childrens nurse it is common to see parents with terminally ill children fearing what their child may face once they pass away. Some parents talk to their child about the belief of going to heaven. This idea of going to heaven can be used not only to reassure the child but also reassure themselves that things will be okay. In some cases parents may not discuss it with their child and may just think about it to themselves as a way to come to terms with the situation they are facing.

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    1. Xxx. My initial thoughts: This is how I sign off a text to a loved one.
      Valentines Day for me means another way for big corporates to control me and my spending. I don’t understand why I need to be told that I need to be showered with flowers, gifts and cards on the 14th Februaury, for me this act of love should be unconditional and should be shown regardless of the date. It doesn’t cost pound nor pennies to show someone you care. This is one of many reasons why I made the decision to leave my job and become a nurse. The compassionate and caring nature which was shown to me while my time in hospital in July 2018. One Nurse Donna made the difference to me; at my most vulnerable she showed she cared and ensured she advocated and communicated for me. She gave me a sense of routine not just because she was professional, but because she showed her human side.
      As I go through my journey I look towards Donna as my role model ( not that she knows the effect her care has had on me) and has inspired me to become a brilliant nurse, by empathising and communicating to people without prejudice. This kind of self pressures makes me not want to fail and learn all I can from the people I meet on my journey. It’s about learning to be courageous and speak up and learn the skill of confidence.
      It is amazing how the letter X can symbolise so much to different people and groups. For me, X needs to turn around to make ‘+’. This symbolises addition and to continue to absorb knowledge from people around me, ensuring that I intentionally do the right thing both in my personal and private life.
      Kind regards
      xxx

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  3. I enjoyed reading this post, as it is an important reminder to me that a cross for something wrong on an assignment does not mean I have failed, it is just an area for improvement. I think most of us see failure is the be all, end all, but we should see it as constructive criticism. This is always hard to do, but without identifying our lack of competence in certain areas, we are putting ourselves and our patients at risk. I enjoyed reading about the positive connotations of crosses such as the British Red Cross you highlighted too.

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  4. XXX, my initial thoughts; this is how I sign off a text to a loved one.
    However, Valentine’s Day to me means another way for the big corporates to control me and my spending. I don’t understand why I need to be told that I need to be showered with gifts, cards and flowers on the 14th of February, for love should be unconditional and should be shown regardless. It doesn’t cost pounds let alone pennies to show some one you care. This is one of many reasons why I pursued to become a nurse. The compassion, caring and humanness which was shown to me when I needed the NHS service. One nurse ‘Donna’ made all the difference to me, at my most vulnerable she gave me a sense of routine, not just by being professional but by showing human compassion.
    As I go through my journey as a student nurse I look towards ‘Donna’ as my role model, where she has inspired me to become a brilliant nurse, as she was.
    As a student nurse, my desire to do well and not to fail is already taking its toll; as people on my course are on their own journey I feel that I just need to learn and be a sponge. But not everyone shares this desire; I need to learn to be patient and look at my fellow students for support and learn from them.
    For me ‘x’ turned around ‘+’ symbolises addition. To add to my knowledge and to continue to strive to learn and achieve all I can while on this journey.

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  5. To my knowledge, valentine’s day is a commercial day as i believe that everyday should be a day of love, we should not wait for just one in a year to show those we love that they are loved or cared for because, not many of our loved ones come to see that day. I will not wait for Valentine’s day to show my love and care to the world. However, I have learned quite a lot about what X symbolises, so this post has been an eye opener. thank you.

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  6. I enjoyed the concepts brought to light in this post as it is true that perspective is everything. To me, colour plays a key role: if the X is red, I connote this with negativity as that is how academic work is marked. X means that you have made an error which may make you feel inadequate. If that x was in green, however, I would regard this as a more positive symbol which may encourage me to read further so that I could correct my own work, as without recognising my mistakes, I fail to protect my clients with good practice.
    Flipped on its side, the red + of the British red cross organisation implies to me the key values and principles of not only nursing, but humanity and what it means to be a good person.

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