Hello my name is
Hello, my name is Katie.
Back in July one of the weekly emails was dedicated to Kate Granger who had recently died aged 35. This post is a version of that email with a couple of updates.
Kate was diagnosed with a rare form of sarcoma in 2011 and after five grueling rounds of chemotherapy she decided to focus on quality of life and that included going back to work as a registrar on a gerontology ward. It was her ambition and passion to be a consultant in this field and to care for older people.
The justice and dedication she deserves cannot be summed up in one blog post or email so there is more than the usual number of links to people who have a better way with words than me and knew her personally. There are also links to speeches Kate has made and the results of her efforts and campaigns. I was aware of the Hellomynameis campaign and who she was, I followed her on Twitter, and read her heartfelt tweets while she was in the hospice during her final days. Following her death I read more about her life and soaked up all I could.
Kate had always been an advocate for compassion in care and this was part of how she worked. During a time of needed treatment in 2013 and an emergency admission following surgery, she was frustrated by the lack of introductions, she didn't know who the people were that came in to take blood, do obs or even talk to her about the plan of care for her. And from that the #hellomynameis campaign started.
I first came across this campaign in 2014 at a conference in the UK where there were a lot of people with 'hello my name is' badges on. I was a bit cynical - Don't we all introduce ourselves, don't we all show compassion and empathy from the patients perspective, aren't we all aware of how frightening it is to be stuck on a bed in a hospital, aren't we dumbing this down, is this really necessary?
It seems we don't and it is!
Kate's words will inspire you. Here she is talking at the NHS confederation in 2014 and I would urge you to watch this
The #hellomynameis campaign is massive, mainly driven through Twitter, which Kate loved (and may have been a bit addicted to - her own words). Take a look at the Twitter hashtag which has some incredible links to dedications to the life and work of Kate, and pictures from all sorts of folks (including the Top Gear Team of all people) endorsing #hellomynameis
While working my few hours of clinical time on the wards I was invited into a patients bed space who needed an urgent procedure. I was acutely aware that he didn't know who I was or why I was there. When was the right time to say hello - while mid procedure? It started urgently so there was no time before. As soon as it finished I took his hand and said hello my name is Katie. I explained who I was and thanked him that I could observe his team doing what they had to do. Interestingly a couple of other staff around the bed then also said hello. It was a good moment.
Kate Granger used social media to a positive extent that produced real change, worldwide acknowledgement and uptake of #hellomynameis.
Kate has written two books and the proceeds are donated to charity. The Other Side of the Story is her account of her journey from diagnosis to treatment being able to apply the perspective of both doctor and patient and The Bright Side which builds on her determination to remain positive despite what has been thrown at her. Order you copies here
Her life and death touched key points that are crucial to healthcare, that of compassion and how to talk about dying.
The Dying Matter website has a summary of Kate's story, but also a very personal and emotional video that Kate and her husband made for the Dying Matters Annual lecture in 2014
There were several newspaper columns and articles back in July, here is one from the Guardian
Since July I ordered and read the two books Kate wrote, I've continued to follow the #hellomynameis campaign and wondered how we could embed this locally (still working on that one). Take a look at the signing campaign that was part of the NHS Fab Change day
A celebration for Kate's life was arranged this month so it seemed a timley moment for me to take the July email and add it to this blog with these latest social media updates take a look - as always via Twitter