Dignity in a tick box?

I am sharing this post which I have added to the dignity forum because I would like to know how others feel about such standards of management/leadership.

Dignity Doesn’t Come in a Tick Box

I am a dedicated dignity champion myself and therefore am disgusted that such an important cause is still able to fall victim to the all too familiar ‘tick a box and done’ attitude and practices of managers in some areas.


I have recently witnessed an establishment clearly show their apparent lack of respect for dignity or indeed for common decency in my eyes. So they want to say they are dignity champions and maybe even get a press release out of it so they wrote a list and started to tick off what was needed:

  • They introduce a tree and call it dignity.tickbox
  • Print off a resource pack.
  • Register themselves on the dignity site with a single sentence stating their passion, commitment, aims, etc next to their name.
  • They then add several staff names to certificates and off they go to the printer again.
  • Press release written.
  • Line manager informed that the job is done.

All tasks completed. All boxes ticked.

Task masters they may well claim to be but dignity champions they certainly are not.

I am saddened that these managers in their now proudly ‘dignity championed environment’ do not feel it necessary to complete any of the audits to actually action a plan for enhancement or indeed any other steps that would improve standards of care. They do not feel it necessary to engage staff in the introduction of their new practice/pledge/commitment. Unfortunately they hold so little regard for the entire initiative that actually they didn’t even feel the need to ask the staff they have named and certificated if they wanted to champion dignity at all.

So with staff names now proudly advertised in the main entrance they can safely dismiss any actual work to introduce or change anything in their advertised culture change of great compassion and care. The only benefit of this fake show of care being so well placed in the entrance is that the staff they have named as dignity champions have seen it and so at least now they are aware as apposed to being completely oblivious.

Health and care professionals nationwide work so hard to raise awareness and inspire others to also pledge to ensuring their practices are indeed promoting dignity that this disregard really does grate.

Such pride and celebration is held by establishments when they come to advertise their dedication to the dignity campaign that I do not feel that it should be able to be used as a tick box to a press release in such a way as these have done.red-box-cross-square-wrong

It is disrespectful and in my opinion only benefits the marketing department and potentially the companies monetary value at best. With no desire to work towards even a tiny glimpse of any of the aims and objectives of the campaign being even considered this company is surely more proof that we have still got a challenge on if we are to see this country become one of dignified care provision.

It is scary to witness such blatent disregard from those who should be inspiring others through their own care and practices. What further adds to this sad tale is that the actual grassroots staff members would have been fully engaged and passionately taken the concept and ran with it had they been given the chance.

I hope the tree gets chopped down because it certainly hasn’t got the roots to grow in strength.




#Permission2Brew @CuppaCare
When was the last time you felt able to have a cup of tea with a patient?


There is no doubt that spending time with patients is beneficial to everyone, but is sitting down and having a drink with your patient culturally acceptable in your place of work? Maria Davison thinks it should be

Tea: the British cure for everything

If you have a good day, you put kettle on

If you have a bad day, you put the kettle on

Community nurse Maria Davison reached boiling point when, working up and down the county, she was routinely quizzed by staff for having a cup of tea with a patient.

“I’m fed up of being asked: ‘What are you doing?’ when what I’m actually doing is using my common sense,” she says.

#CuppaCare is a patient-centred initiative, started by Ms Davison and her partner Gavin Sykes, to draw attention to this grey area in nursing practice. “There are pockets of the country that allow it, and pockets that don’t, so nurses don’t know if they should, even when they can see that it would be a useful thing to do, ” says Ms Davison.

Changeday? What has that got to do with me?

“What’s it got to do with me!?”

I’m pretty sure every person that reads this has heard that statement and felt the negativity hit like a freight train. Sadly when I initiate conversations about NHS Changeday I get this comment from time to time but I LOVE IT!

You see it gives me that opening to flip someone’s whole thought process and attitude on its head. Let me explain, to me these people tend to be ignorant or uneducated about what Changeday can do for them. Human nature naturally makes people feel interest when there’s something in it for them, so let’s for example imagine a Porter.

Porters are an invaluable asset and members of our services but they are not clinicians and as such tend not to get involved in some initiatives because they don’t feel they are relevant. Well here comes Changeday!

So this Porter transports patients from Ward A to Treatment area B, to do this the quickest route is straight through the centre of the hospital down the same artificially lit drab corridors which takes on average 7 minutes. After a conversation with a particular patient about this mundane journey our Porter decides he’s going to do something different (shock, horror, gasp).

One day the Porter decides to take the long way around, along different corridors that have windows facing the outside world. Whilst on this journey Mrs Patient sees a squirrel scurry across the grass, her face lights up with a joyous grin as a memory of a day trip to a country park with her late husband starts replaying in her head. Now during the remainder of the journey stories are exchanged and Mrs Patient starts to feel like a human being again.

The benefit to our Porter, well he got the satisfaction of sharing this ladies story but also a warm and more importantly sincere thank you upon arriving at their destination. The cost of this little change? Simply 2 minutes added to the journey. This one small change made a massive difference not only to Mrs Patient but to every future patient our Porter transported because he simply dared to do something different.

As a society we sometimes forget the importance of the little things and the impact they can have, so I say to these people it has everything to do with you. You can change the little things, you can dare to be different and you can do something positive. You really do have the power to make a difference and all it takes is that one positive thought.

Limits to Nursing?

“I couldn’t believe it when I first came here” said an overseas student to me recently “and they told me the nurses had to wash the patients. In my country, that’s the family’s job”. I remembered those words at the weekend, as I read Nicci Gerrard’s heartbreaking description of her late father’s last stay in […]


LD timeline

My LD experience timeline

As a student nurse I remember asking for experience with LD individuals, I was told I was on an adult nursing course not an LD course. I sought my own experience through a local voluntary group.
As a newly qualified nurse I asked for training with LD related elements of care, I was told I worked on a rehab ward and not an LD ward. I sought my own training through an organisation nearby.
As a first year nurse I voiced my fear of not having the right training or awareness of Learning Difficulty specific areas. I was informed ‘our area does not do those sort of patients.’
As a second year post-registration nurse I observed in horror the way in which an LD individual was treated. The horror being at the difference in approach from the moment the referral came through, the automatic assumption of extra staff being needed, the opinion of this person being almost not entitled to a bed, the opinionated uninformed misplaced and somewhat ignorant chit chat it caused throughout the whole building.
As a wiser, braver, more confident and more aware third year post-registration nurse I recently had the honour of meeting and caring for a gentleman whom had the ‘label’ of ‘Learning Disability’ attached to his amazing character. Was he as demanding as the patient whom thought I was her personal slave? No. Was this gentleman as rude as the patient who stated he had paid his taxes thus had the right to whistle me like a dog? No. Did I have to take a colleague when I went to see him like the man who felt the right to touch my bum each time I went near? No.

This gentleman was polite, dignified, honest, genuine, thankful, patient and modest but overall he was an amazing guy; funny, clever, witty, full of character and charming with it. Like I say, a pleasure and honour to nurse. Did I need any of the training I had requested? No. My compassionate and caring nature sufficed. My concern now? What about the ones denied the training who do not hold these characteristics?

By Maria Davison

They all look the same in blue! What if we didn’t?

Exactly, if you can read this and then still tell me you are not interested then there is something wrong somehow with the majority of folk you meet in communitys

Personalisation in Health Services

 Written by Maria Davison, Ward Sister

Maria OPPI am a Ward Sister for Derbyshire’s Bolsover Hospital.  After qualifying as a Nurse almost three years ago, I chose to work in a community hospital because I felt that this is where I could make the biggest difference. I knew that I wanted to connect with people and support them on a level beyond administering medication and to have the time to get to know them as an individual which can be more difficult in acute hospitals. I knew that I wanted to work with a team that were motivated and that valued each other because they were able to take pride in the work that they do. I am very fortunate that I have found this at Bolsover.

We are a community hospital. That means we are run differently to a mainstream or acute hospital and it also means that we…

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Come on what is Change Day Maria

“Come on Maria, what exactly does NHS Change Day mean

in real terms for us?”

This was the question fired by a friend of mine the other day.

I had finally managed to complete my first ever blog and proudly read it her aloud. Needless to say my enthused tone and usual over excitement upon finishing reading it were both brought back down to Earth with the killer noise [SIGH].

‘Do you want my opinion?’ I was pretty sure I had already had it but she continued anyway, ‘Just type your ‘Change Day Chatter’; the blog might still be rubbish but they won’t forget your commitment or passion in a hurry.’ Harsh but potentially correct!

So, I hear you ask. What does NHS Change Day mean for you? Well, for me NHS Change Day is about everyone who cares about the NHS – both staff and public, that’s patients and visitors, inclusive of everybody, thus meaning NHS Change Day, for me; is about you and your loved ones. It’s a ‘call to action’ encouraging people to pledge to do something differently so as to enhance patients, visitors and staff members experiences a positive effect on their journey through healthcare.

My favorite analogy of how I see NHS Change Day is the knock on effect of people having the courage to ‘Rock the Boat’, a wave of change caused by a single ripple in still water.

E.g. A dance school could pledge to promote healthily eating and inspire others to do the same. This pledge, this single ripple could splash somebody who it inspires to rock their own boat (so to speak); make their own ripples and eat healthily also. This could be the difference in this person developing diabetes for example. Then again this ever growing ripple would splash others as the story is shared. Before you know it a decision to ‘rock the boat/challenge status quo has made a tiny ripple into a huge wave, all through people rocking their boats together; team work!


NHS Change Day celebrates inclusion of all not the seclusion of any. It is handing back the reins to our National Treasure, our NHS; and we can all be involved. For example, the local youth club’s pledge to do shopping trips for the older generation through the bad weather may be seen as ‘not appropriate, not NHS, not relevant’; these views couldn’t be more wrong. Let me tell you a story of ‘what ifs’, just imagine…..


– this pledge from the youth club ultimately may lead to Edith not risking the snow this  winters evening, therefore; Edith would not be at risk of falling on the ice walking down the short lane to the local shop.

– This means Edith won’t need to lay freezing in the snow, in pain, unable to move, until somebody comes by.

Now imagine the upset that wasn’t caused because Edith wouldn’t need to go into hospital so she wouldn’t have to miss going to bingo club.

– Edith would not become isolated through being scared to go out again, just in case.

– She wouldn’t even start to sleep in the chair as she didn’t tell the nursing team the fib of having no pain; just to get home to her beloved cat, Oscar.

– In fact, Edith would still be Edith and still be living as she chooses to do.

                          Oh yes and what happened to the others linked to this story?

– Well the man who found Edith hurt in the snow freezing cold, he wouldn’t have had time off work or needed his partners support that night. He wouldn’t have gone through his struggle to accept it was not his fault that he didn’t go out earlier like planned.

– The ambulance that came to Edith that day they may not have been ‘just a minute too late    for that other person’.

– The hospital admin team have needed to sort the notes of the little boy sat crying with his mummy whose turn it now was to see the doctors,

– and mummy could have stopped feeling sick with worry and wouldn’t have forgotten to take her insulin.

– The porter? He had the time to help the lady living with dementia to safely find the right area in the hospital,

– and the nurse? She was able to support the daughter of the palliative lady whom had just took her last breath,

– and this daughter? Well she had luckily just arrived in time to be with her mum at the end.

But imagine…..

– That was only because her husband wasn’t upset as he had not witnessed a lady laid in the snow freezing cold and obviously hurt……

Now looking again at that youth club, we salute you. To one and all ‘Anchors Up’. Welcome on board, now let us fly the flag for #NHSchangeday whilst we sail the rough waters together to reach the golden sands of ‘Change Island.’  SHIP AHOY!!

Maria Davison

NHS Lead Change Day East Midlands

07443 568145


I am the ward sister of Linden Ward,

Bolsover Hospital, Derbyshire Community HPiccyealth Services. This is the first blog venture I have completed yet am very interested in furthering this blogging skill, or lack of! I am passionate and proud of my compassionate care with inclusion for all not the seclusion of any.