Why I want to hug the NHS

Christie Waston.JPG

Charlotte Leask, Journalism Undergraduate, University of Roehampton

The NHS is arguably one of our greatest accomplishments of the past century, along with military tanks, televisions and the electric kettle.
All the above have significantly contributed to our modern society but the NHS really is a cut above the rest, providing 24/7 non-stop care, countrywide since 1948.

Employing almost 1.5 million people, including nurses, doctors, surgeons, midwives and many more the NHS is one of the few healthcare systems paid for through taxation, meaning it survives solely from money provided by the government.

Christie Watson is one of the many paediatric nurses who spent 20 years working for the NHS, in various hospitals. After quitting nursing, she began writing, and having published two novels she decided to write about her experience working in the NHS.

It’s clear the NHS is heavily reliant on its staff, particularly nurses and becoming one is a long, arduous process. However, Watson’s memoir The Language of Kindness illustrates just how vital the role is to both us, and them.

I would like to hug the NHS because thanks to our increasing population, hospitals are becoming busier and busier and our current economic climate is preventing the training/hiring of new staff. We are currently short of 42,000 nurses, leaving the remaining working force struggling to keep up.

Another huge issue facing the NHS is the increase of obesity, alcohol and drug related healthcare problems. Valuable resources are wasted to combat these problems (which are preventable) leaving little help for others.

Thirdly, a current phenomenon in our culture is the ‘Kardashian’ influence. Where previously it was socially encouraged for young people, specifically women to enter the nursing field, it is now seen as ‘unglamorous’ and is not a career that is particularly encouraged by parents or teachers.

Despite all these issues facing the NHS and those that work there, outstanding work is delivered every day. And kindness, compassion and empathy are the leading forces behind each action.

Kindness and nursing go hand in hand, throughout history the predominant reason behind ‘nursing’ has been our innate need for help when were sick. The art of ‘helping’ is born from our love of others.

A great example of kindness is when Christie spoke about a cherished memory. An elderly lady whose husband had passed away a week previously came into the hospital worried she was suffering from a heart attack. Luckily Christie’s day wasn’t busy, so she was able to sit and chat with the lady, discovering the news about her husband. She offered her a tea, sandwich and sat for half an hour simply talking. The lady was not suffering a heart attack, but a broken heart, and being able to simply eat, and have a chat with someone made all the difference.

There may come a time in our lives where we are in the same position as this lady and for that reason, we should hug the NHS and feel honoured to have a health system that cares so much.