International Nurses Day 2020

Never has there been more of a time to show our appreciation of the incredible commitment of nurses around the globe.


Our brilliant Head of Psychology, Dr Charlotte Caton, would like to share her thoughts and experiences of working alongside our brave and resilient nurses at Cheswold Park Hospital.


"2020 has been designated the year of the nurse and midwife by the world health organisation. For my part as the head of psychology at Cheswold I wanted to take some time to write some reflections on the gratitude owed to nurses and midwives for the incredible bravery they display every day. I also want to highlight the complimentary role of nursing and psychology and how nursing has influenced psychology.


I remember starting at Cheswold following working in the prison service. I soon realised that this was a place I wanted to work due to the influence of nurses and the approach of offering care and compassion in the face of distress and resulting challenging behaviour. I realised ‘these are my people’. To me it had been simple, treat people with kindness and fairness, focus on strengths and ‘job done’. That is easier said than done however, in a secure hospital and I have a vivid memory of a now very experienced nurse (although very young then) standing in front of a very unwell patient screaming at her and making various threats. She was very calmly asking him what was wrong and to come and talk to her. He did in the end relent to the offer of a drink and chat and was able to talk about what was bothering him. This was a valuable lesson for me about ‘being on the front line’.


Nurses deal with highs and lows of the people around them all the time. They stand along side patients at their most distressing points offering support and care but also have the privilege to see the small important achievements and share in proud moments too. They have patients first and foremost to support but then they have the staff they are responsible for. They also have visiting professionals such as occupational therapists, doctors, pharmacists, social workers and psychologists to work with. Finally they have families to reassure and support regarding the care their loved ones are receiving. If there are 30 seconds left they may have a few precious moments to process their day!


The work of nurses prompted me to consider how psychology might look and rather than a ‘one session a week and that’s it’ approach which is how psychology usually works, as a team we’ve tried to follow the lead of nurses and be more flexible helping patients in their most difficult moments.


Over the years I have worked at Cheswold I have met some brilliant nurses and I hope you know who you are and what a difference you make to the people around you. I love a quote and this one summarises the amazing work of nurses:


‘Nurses see the world in its most raw, inexplicable, unfair form of reality and somehow by the grace of their inherent hope for humanity and unmeasurable depth of courage still love it’.


However I also like this one too:


‘Once a nurse always a nurse. No matter where you go or what you do, you can never truly get out of nursing. It’s like the mafia, you know too much’.


You’re incredible thank you."


Dr Charlotte Caton

Head of Psychology at Cheswold Park Hospital

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