It is incredible how loneliness can impact on health and wellbeing. It is important though to be mindful that there are some that prefer to be alone, with equal necessity for health and wellbeing. These are two very different things yet can be interconnected. If someone is lonely, it is often because they are missing contact due to circumstances beyond their control. Loneliness is much more common than we think. You can be around people and be lonely - it is about the interaction. Some people say that their pet is company, that they talk to them, stroke them, feed them and there is that interaction, even without speech. Those who like to be alone, may be quite content in the company of others but do not wish to engage with the interaction.
There are conditions that can contribute to either of these, but there is also something about the nature of others too that requires that deeper knowledge and understanding, that they are not imposed upon but being communicated with. This is a fine balance and requires an empathic sensibility.
So how do we tackle loneliness and the need to be alone, maybe talk to the person in the queue next to you or on the bus ride into town. Invite one of the parents at the gate for a coffee. Ask a close friend if they are getting enough time to themselves to rebalance in a world of noise. We are better connected than ever, but there remains something about the solidarity of a look, or a smile or a touch on the arm that can bring that special something that is, being connected. Just being, when someone wants to be alone in your company, shows true understanding.
Loneliness and being alone, different yet connected through the ability to understand one another at a truly human level.
It always strikes me the difference of the worker perspective on work given the style they experience. You can have two individuals with similar issues, but one can have a whole different perspective due to that supportive and trusting relationship provided by an effective and responsive line manager. It is about the manager having the tenacity to understand that life happens, but at the same time if it is time to move on in order to facilitate growth of the individual, that this is done in a coaching manner with the person at the centre.
It is a position that people can find themselves in and there is an expectation often that this should come naturally, or there should be a persona of authoritarian or paternal approach. Management is not for everyone yet managers find themselves there, lacking confidence, that, given the opportunity to develop competence, could be encountered in a very alternative way that is of benefit to all. This demonstrates how, through the chain of escalation, that the variables could be reduced by the development of shared values and the effective provision of an active appraisal and professional development system. This does not need to be hierarchical but in a coaching and mentoring manner that allows for growth and development whilst nurturing talent in an inclusive and equal way.
So reflect on what kind of manager you are, how you would like to be managed, what are the traits of a good manager in your experience. If you think it doesn’t matter, it really does and this is observed every day in the make or break of whether workers are able to be resilient through the diversity of life and work or struggle.
I have been reflecting on a speech that was given at the most recent Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service back in the Summer asking directly to recall the rationale for taking the path of nursing. As revalidation comes around again I have been looking over the past three years to collate all the various elements that I have put together, and this was one of them that was impactful on considering my relationship with nursing.
As with many careers in healthcare, the paths are not always straight and many other avenues can be explored. For me though, my nursing background has provided a framework of a person-centric approach that is a fundamental in any role within healthcare. Why? - because healthcare is about relationships, whether with patients, families, colleagues, other sectors and providers, the list goes on. I have always been fascinated by people and my training gave me the opportunity to explore humanity in so many varied states, having the headspace for enquiry into the many aspect of the human self both looking inward and outward alike. I came out of my nurse training a very rounded person, far more ready for the world and life than I imagined possible. The most incredible aspect for me was the trust that existed within relationships with patients and most colleagues too. However over time I have recognised and observed that this alters between stakeholders due to the competitive nature of business. I do believe that this will be recognised further in the pursuit for change. Coming back to the centre of nursing you see the person, a sum of many parts, intertwined, needing to have needs met and independence promoted, individuality respected and uniqueness lauded. So when looking at collaboration, put the person at the centre and you have your focal point for vision and implementation - seek their engagement and you will progress with precision.
So nursing, for me, is a template that has shaped my self both personally and professionally. The demands and expectations have changed within nursing since Florence Nightingale’s time, however the words within the declaration of passing on from generation to generation holds the essence of sharing of knowledge and skills from colleague to colleague, nursing and multidisciplinary alike. For me this also includes the patient as the expert on themselves, and by doing this, we are facilitating self management and empowerment through a trusting relationship.