Linkedin professional groups seem to indulge in discussions ranging from the banal to the fascinating and one recently started by NHS Professionals Network sits somewhere between the two.
The question posed was: ‘What one word best sums up how people who are working in the NHS feel at the moment?’
On the face of it – an interesting conundrum to while away a couple for minutes of boredom at the pc. The discussion point prompted a myriad of replies giving a thought provoking insight to the diversity of agendas of those associated with the state health provision. All comments were personal, some selfish, some insightful, some ridiculous and some didn’t even follow the rules and used more than one word!
The personal ones, which appeared to be talking about the individual rather than ‘people’ included such plaintiff wails as ‘Bedraggled’ ‘Undervalued’ ‘Disillusioned’ and ‘Bullied’. Ouch.
Others wanted to display their command of the English language with ‘Somnambulant’ ‘Discombobulated’ (which means state of confusion – I looked it up). A few hopeful, positive souls used ‘Resilient’
Opportunity’ and ‘Interesting’
Others used the platform to vent their particular frustrations or promote their businesses. Interestingly, none of these self promoters could manage that in one word. A few brave souls commented ‘let’s stick to the question’. My point entirely. But what does this all mean?
I think this discussion thread sums up perfectly the biggest challenge facing the NHS. There are so many personal agendas coming into play. There is nothing wrong with looking out for yourself, especially as most employees within the NHS also care deeply about their jobs and the people in their care. But where is the shared vision? When I first read the question, my immediate thought would be to answer it on behalf of all people working in the NHS, to try to capture the mood, and some of these one word answers have achieved that.
But where is the consistency in views? Read any management manual on successful team building and without fail it will stress the value of a shared vision.
As Winston Churchill said ‘The empires of the future are empires of the mind’
In my opinion, one of the most vital areas for reform in the NHS is the mindset of individuals and the emotional intelligence of the organisation as a whole. It is entirely understandable that there are so many differing views, even in this straw poll. But as a matter of urgency, the leaders within hospitals, care centres, remaining Primary Care Trusts and all other areas need to find the Winston Churchill within and lead, encourage and motivate.
I was heartened by a lovely comment on this Linkedin discussion by a nurse, Jan Potts who posted:
‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going, come on guys take some control here, when its been bad before admittedly not this bad the best innovation has appeared. Think of the things that are going well and build on them however few they maybe at the moment. Never give up’.
Well said Jan.
And my one word answer to the original question? ‘Surviving’