Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Fantastic Four

Sometimes it's worth taking a pause in the hustle bustle of life, politics, work to perhaps stand back and simply say..thank you. This blog certainly aims to do that...thank you to four special ladies with whom I have had or continue to have the utmost privilege of working with. Why am I writing about them? Simply because they are the unsung heroes similar to the thousands within the NHS who are self effacing, humble, absolute super- professionals but never recognised in the fast modern world of self aggrandisation and publicity. I have said this publicly, in forums as well as blogs...I have one specific task..it isn't job planned but I do it. It's publicising the work of the department of Diabetes & Endocrinology of Portsmouth.Love it or hate it, call it the marmite effect, whether it be via blogs, twitter, public campaigns or articles, I do indeed try my best to highlight the stupendous work some of my colleagues do...sometimes it's branded as my ego, to some it's cockiness..to me, it's giving these individuals the rightful place they deserve when they don't have the time or inclination to self publicise like so many do on public forums ( but feign mock horror when someone suggest so!) or social media. Looking after our team is my job too..and yes, it does involve going out and showcasing some amazing work that happens day in and day out.

So lets start with Sharon Allard. I have known her for nearly 12 years now- and recently we went out and celebrated her 25 years of being a part of the diabetes department. Always humble, always the quiet one, she has been a pillar of strength for anyone who has done research within our department. An amazing individual, her patient focus has been second to none and indeed someone who patients love unequivocally...there is something special about Sharon...if you know her,it is impossible to have not been touched by her kindness. An archetype nurse specialist..someone who embodies what nursing should be about..and tongue in cheek? She has been doing the 6 Cs much much before it became a hashtag campaign.

Next is Jane Cansfield..another nurse specialist who celebrated her 25 years with us..again someone who I have known for more than 10 years. One thing about Jane? She knows someone who knows someone...master organiser, lynchpin of social events within the centre..everyone within our department loves Jane..without Jane, there never has been any organisation of travelling together to conferences. Her knowledge about retinal screening puts many a specialist to shame..hang on..let me change that..actually, I know very few specialists who know more about retinal changes than her. Jane' s our go-to person..always helping, always accommodating..someone who has and is always there whenever there is a problem.
Testament to how much both these ladies are appreciated? We organised a 25 year party..bar a couple, we had a full house turn out including legendary figures of the Portsmouth team from the past such as Ken Shaw and Sue Craddock.

Next up is Jean Munday...and I cannot describe in words what Jean means for our department. Jean breathed the word "retirement in another 5-7 years"..and the sheer look of panic amongst all of us said it all. Without Jean, our endocrine service doesn't exist anymore..it collapses. A legendary figure in our department..someone who commands respect and admiration from all irrespective of their status or grade, Jean is someone I would encourage any nurse to learn from and try and perhaps achieve even 25% of what she has achieved. It is our pride that she has been shortlisted for Nurse of the Year..whether she wins or not, if we had an award along those lines in our department, Jean would have walked away with it perhaps every year.Her intrinsic knowledge about endocrinology will put most to shame but more than that, her calmness, friendly manner has made her so special...best of luck at the awards, Jean!

Finally, a mention about Gwen Hall. I have known Gwen personally for about an year or more but have known of her for a number of years due to her national profile and work in diabetes education. A strong character, we head hunted her to helm the Portsmouth community team fully aware that she would step down after 1 year or so but boy hasn't that been a recruitment master stroke. She has helped put down the basics for primary care leading on education and support for our local GP surgeries and I suspect the Portsmouth of the future will always thank her for her time, efforts and undisputed passion to improve diabetes care. On behalf of the team and the wider community, thank you Gwen for your time and help to develop diabetes services in Pompey.

All in all, it has been nothing but a privilege and an honour to work with such amazing individuals. There are many such more with whom I work within our department but at this moment of time, these fabulous four and their contribution to making our department stronger and improving patient care must be applauded and recognised. I have always maintained that there perhaps are better departments than Portsmouth but I doubt there are better places to work in...it has always been and continues to be individuals such as the fantastic four who have made it so.

So ladies and gentlemen a moment to pause and say thank you to our Fantastic Four. a moment perhaps for the wider community to also look at where you work and go tomorrow and say thank you to those who are the unsung heroes.
Such individuals exist in every department in the NHS and it is time we have them their just due.Go find them,make them perhaps a cuppa and just say "thank you"

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