By Karen Barraclough, Senior Nurse / Head of Governance at NHS Professionals
Three years ago, Dr Kate Granger, an elderly care physician, was diagnosed with a rare form of terminal cancer. During her time in hospital, she noticed there was an extreme lack of compassion and consideration for patients on some of the wards. The first thing that struck her was the absence of an introduction from her carers. As Kate revealed at the NHS Confederation Conference at the beginning of June, the staff delivering her care repeatedly referred to her as ‘bed number seven’. As you can imagine, this was extremely de-humanising and unsettling, especially as she was already in a vulnerable position as a hospital patient.
Kate was frustrated by the way she was treated, but instead of filing a complaint, she decided to do something positive to remind and encourage healthcare staff about the importance of introductions. With her husband’s support, Kate launched a social media campaign using the hashtag #hellomynameis. It soon became clear that her experience was not an unusual one as the campaign has made more than 26 million web impressions in ten months and has had countless people sharing stories and photos of their own experiences. People from all over the country were agreeing that small gestures such as welcoming introductions can make a massive difference to the confidence they have in their healthcare team. This simple idea certainly hit a nerve as Kate was flooded with messages of support from people across health and social care who have promoted the idea in their own workplaces.
NHS Professionals recognises the importance of treating patients as you would want to be treated yourself. We already encourage our workers to adhere to the 6C’s – care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment and we are now also particularly keen to promote the #hellomynameis campaign to demonstrate our commitment to delivering compassionate care.
Introducing yourself to your patients only takes a second and doesn’t cost anything, but to the patient it can make their hospital stay less frightening and really improve their experience. So go on – why not start every patient interaction today with ‘hello, my name is…”