I have spent much of the time between my previous bout of poisoning and this next and final one making up a thank you gift for all those working on the chemo unit. Because I make jam for a living, a gift of jam was always the obvious choice but I wanted to somehow convey the importance of individual introductions without seeming to complain. I do not have a problem pointing out when something is not being done correctly but I know how fragile morale is in the NHS and these people are amazing. They work incredibly hard in less than ideal circumstances so the last thing I want to do is demoralise them further. I want to encourage and build up. But I also want to explain what a difference knowing the name of your nurse makes.
After much brain racking, I hit upon the idea of individual pots of jam with named labels. I got a list of all the staff from the unit and made up labels accordingly, each one including the #hellomynameis downloadable graphics from Kate Grainger’s website I also included a condensed version of the following quote that sums up the whole thing to me – it is about connecting:
‘Introductions are about making a human connection between one human being who is suffering and vulnerable, and another human being who wishes to help.’
Dr Kate Grainger
I then made a thank you card and wrote thanking the staff for everything:
Thank you so much for all the care you have given me while delivering my chemotherapy. It has not been the best experience of my life but I have appreciated knowing that I could rely on you all to make the whole process as bearable as possible. We’ve even shared a few laughs along the way. I wanted to particularly thank those of you who took the time to introduce yourselves to me by name. As a former nurse and midwife, I know how easy it is to overlook this but as a patient I can’t begin to explain the difference it makes. I am sure you are aware of the late Dr Kate Grainger and her #hellomynameis campaign. Her experiences resonate very much with mine and I wanted to give you a thank you gift that would let you all know just how much those introductions meant to me. You are all important to me so I wanted to thank each of you by name.
Having left the NHS (God bless it!) behind me, I now work for myself and have a small (but perfectly formed!) preserve company making jam, marmalade and chutney. This year has been a bit of a disaster workwise but I thought you might enjoy the little pots my husband and I have made for you. There is one for each of you by name and should be enough for two more each if you rummage through the box. Alternatively please share them with whoever you think would appreciate them. And please, if the named ones are not to your taste, do swap them! I would hate to think someone is lumbered with chutney when really they’d prefer marmalade.
Finally, thank you once again. You are a fantastic team doing an extraordinary job under tremendous pressure. I sincerely hope I will not have to be back with you again but if I do return, I know I will be in very capable hands.
With this I enclosed some #hellomynameis literature to explain and make sense of the campaign in case it was unfamiliar to them. I hope that I have made my point in such a way that they will feel encouraged to introduce themselves in future.
Time will tell but I guess it will not tell it to me as I am unlikely to receive objective feedback from them. Whatever happens, I hope they enjoy the jam. And the marmalade. And the chutney.