Common purpose

I’ve just counted how many people who I don’t line manage who helped me last week. It was 26.

That’s 26 people who had no obligation to put my request before their own work priorities. The list includes an emergency department consultant, a lead nurse, two midwives, a physiotherapist, a facilities manager, dietitian, matron and several directors.

Without their support, the hospital couldn’t have passed its Information Standard (IS) assessment or hosted national BBC news for 12 hours on the doctors’ action day. Both of these activities were time consuming, hard work and certainly not imperative.

So why did they help? Was it personal gain (thinking of their own CV)? Maybe some of them wanted the glory of being on telly (really? This was a tricky subject matter with stardom extremely unlikely)? Or perhaps they wanted some distraction from the routine?

You know, I don’t think it was any of these.  I think it’s the old favourite – coming together to deliver a shared goal. In both instances I needed staff from different disciplines to respond urgently and in some cases, asking them to drop what they were doing (with the exception of patient care) to respond to assessors or news crews.

There’s something about being able to influence here (more on this another time) but I also think they did it because we all share the same goal of wanting patients to have confidence in what we do and how we do it. Going the extra mile without hesitation and with passion is easy when the end point is so obvious.

We already know from anecdotal evidence that local people were impressed by what they saw of their hospital on the BBC coverage and now that we’re able to use the IS kitemark on our patient leaflets, well that means they can trust the information we give them too.

And that’s all thanks to 26 people who had other things to do.

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