Taking time to Care

When I trained as a nurse in the early 1980’s we were encouraged to take time to care, in fact, the school of the nursing slogan was “Nurses take time to care”. At that time this meant taking time to care for the patients. As nurses, we were supposed to show a stiff upper lip and not get emotionally involved with our patients. Many young nurses felt this expectation difficult as they did take time to care and that meant they became involved.

Working in the long term care sector for many years enabled me to care for residents not patients, we have the privilege of getting to know the people and their families and participate in those family events, that perhaps nurses in the acute sector do not get involved with to the same degree. This canbe stressful and is not for everyone.

This year more than ever the Social Care Sector has faced unprecedented challenges, and this has seen many long term residents lost to Covid-19, it has meant visitors restricted and fellow colleagues lost to the virus. In many cases, nurses and care staff have stayed apart from their families to protect the residents in their place of work. There are not many care providers who provide occupational health services for staff, so it is time we take time to care for each other.

We at Swift Management Services would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone in health and social care for the fantastic job they have done this year and the sacrifices you have all made.

Sometimes thank you is not enough, and everyone needs a little bit more. Normally care home staff who need a little bit of extra support looks to their home manager for support. But this year, the home managers are just as overwhelmed, overworked and overburden with additional tasks. Who is there to support the managers? Who is there for the staff when they know their go to manager is so very busy? It is time to support each other.

We all have friends and acquaintances at work, but how much do we really know about each other. Do we chat or do we have a meaningful conversation about the things that matter?

Take time to care, take time to greave when a resident is lost. Simply ask if someone is ok. If they are not be prepared to offer support and keep the conversation confidential.

You may think all of the above is a given, but you will be surprised how much goes unsaid as people do not want thing discussed in the staff room or they simply feel they should be able to cope and stress or distress is a sign of weakness. We all need a hand sometimes.

Going back to the home manager, they need support to, take the time to talk to them and I mean having a conversation, not to score brownie points but because you are taking the time to care. It may just mean more that you can imagine, managers are in a lonely place at times. Their only point of support may have been reduced from face to face support to Zoom or Teams discussions, which whilst has been revolutionary for business has taken the personal touch away.

The residents in a care home cannot manage without the staff, so it is now more important than ever to care for each other.

Find out if your care home provider has a confidential staff helpline and use it if you need to.

Recognise each other as important people that make a difference.

Covid-19 has been difficult for everyone but maybe it is time for something positive to come out of the crisis.