Religion Magazine

Carrying on …

By Richardl @richardlittleda

Where excellence and ordinary collide

Hospitals are not miracle factories, where every patient is ‘made better’. Nor are they staffed by ‘angels’ who can do no wrong. They are staffed by people who get stressed, get out of bed the wrong side, make mistakes and forget. In short, they are staffed by people just like the rest of us. That said, hospitals are also places where the outer edge of scientific understanding and the ordinariness of human goodness team up for the benefit of all. Often it is the spirit in which the care is offered, as much as the care itself, which is therapeutic. I have met many examples of this in the past few days:

  • A consultant, who said it was ‘good to see you’ to his patient.
  • A cleaner, who smiled graciously as I walked across his freshly mopped floor.
  • A healthcare assistant, who cheerfully accepted back a plate of untouched food which she had just served hot.
  • A nurse, who said times without number that nothing was ‘any trouble’.
  • A receptionist who explained patiently about complex parking arrangements, apologising for restrictions which were not of her making.

These things matter. From the cleaner who mops the floor to the academic who splits her time between research and theatre, the staff present an outstanding demonstration of care. Not only that, but they do so in a climate which often brings criticism and ingratitude raining down upon their heads. If ever there were an example of ‘keeping calm and carrying on’ they are it.

If you can find a healthcare professional today – why not say thank you to them? Don’t do it because they are amazing but because they are ordinary. When ordinary is done with extraordinary devotion it deserves a fanfare, don’t you think?


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