When thinking about what to write this week, I realised I have had a number of firsts over the past few days. And I will not be the only one.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the FY1 doctors joining Team ASPH in their first job as a qualified doctor. They did a first together, which hopefully meant they were able to support each other. More often we do a first on our own, but sometimes they are shared.
I had two firsts this week. On Saturday, together with colleagues from ASPH and Surrey Heartlands, I attended my first Pride event when I went to Pride in the Park in Woking. It was fantastic event full of energy and enthusiasm, and really well organised by Ishbel Davis and Amraze Khan who did a great job of flying the NHS flag and demonstrating that the NHS, ASPH and Surrey Heartlands support equality, diversity and inclusion for all.
On Tuesday, I spent the day with Andrea Lewis and Richard Woolley as guests of Middlesex and North London Army Cadet Force, on Salisbury Plain. As you know, Richard supports us with Armed Forces engagement and recruitment. We spent the day watching Army cadets being put through their paces as they developed important leadership skills and self-awareness. We got to chat to some of the cadets who live locally, and who are keen to come on placements to see what the NHS has to offer which we will help them with-we were so impressed with their confidence and enthusiasm! I got to try some of the activities and tried my hand at clay pigeon shooting and archery – rather tame compared the cadets’ full-on day of exercises and activities; I can advise that I won’t be giving up the day job!
It set us thinking though; the Army does a great job of engaging with young people and helping them to develop life skills whilst enthusing them about careers in the Armed Forces. I think the NHS could learn a lot from the Army and I’ll be thinking more about that over the coming months as we develop our role as an anchor institution.
Doing something for the first time can be nerve wracking, whether it’s starting a new job, going to a new place or trying a new activity.
It made me think that many patients come to one of our hospitals or clinics for a first time every day of the week. I know Team ASPH do a great job of putting patients, and their families at ease, when they come for care and treatment but it’s good for us all to remember that it’s often their first time. They might be nervous, scared or anxious. Part of our role in the care we provide is to make people feel safe and comfortable whether it’s their first and only visit or they are here for a number of weeks.
With our transformation programme, colleagues across ASPH will experience things for a first time. On Wednesday we closed the top part of the ramp car park at St Peter’s to staff to make additional visitor spaces. As a result some colleagues who normally park in the ramp car park had to find a new place to park. Not a major issue for most people, but the start of a new routine for some. As our transformation progresses there will be many more firsts. (And most will be much more significant than changing where we park!) Yes, change can be uncomfortable but we have to do something for a first time to be able to do it again, and it’s also exciting and good for us to stretch ourselves and step out of our comfort zone.
This weekend, why not try something for a first time?
With best wishes