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Putting patients at the centre of everything we do – Dr Kate Granger

Dr Kate Granger, a Specialist Registrar in Geriatric Medicine currently working at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, is terminally ill with cancer. She will be appearing at Innovation Expo 2014 in Manchester to deliver her latest message about compassion in care:

I am extremely excited to be part of NHS Expo 2014 and was so flattered to be asked to take part.

Positive events like this that inspire and induce creativity among the whole cross section of healthcare professionals are just what the NHS needs in my view.

Jane Cummings, the Chief Nursing Officer for England and I will be discussing my #hellomynameis campaign and some of my wider experiences as a patient at a plenary session at the event.

What has struck me since I began to publicly share my experiences as a patient nearly two years ago now is just how powerful the voice of a clinician living life on the other side can be. I never dreamed anyone would listen to what I had to say but now my voice has been heard I am determined to use it in the most positive way possible in my remaining time.

#hellomynameis was an idea I created just over 5 months ago. I had been admitted to hospital with a serious post-operative infection and one of my starkest observations was the lack of proper introductions from the healthcare team looking after me. It felt awkward and very wrong. A friendly introduction explaining your role and what you intend to do is the first rung on the ladder to building rapport with a patient, establishing the essential trust and therapeutic relationship.

Using social media including Twitter and my personal blog, I started to encourage healthcare staff to pledge to introduce themselves to every single patient they met. It is all about inspiring staff to be creative and use the idea to bring about a positive culture change within all care settings.

The response has been overwhelming with everyone from porters to student nurses to chief executives getting on board with all manner of ideas.

I think if you’d asked me what was the most important quality in a doctor before I was unwell, I would have said competence. The last three years have taught me how much I now value ‘softer’ aspects of care; by that I mean values that mainly revolve around the patient such as “no decision about me without me” and “see me not just my disease”.

I have yet to meet a doctor on this journey who displays these compassionate attributes who wasn’t also competent.

So if you’d like to hear more about #hellomynameis and my experiences it would be amazing to see you at the Expo in Manchester. My husband and I will also be presenting the inaugural Kate Granger Compassionate Care Awards at the event to an outstanding individual and a team who are putting compassion right and the heart of everything they do.

  • For more information on Innovation Expo 2014 at Manchester Central on March 3 and 4, go to: www.expo.nhs.uk and follow all the news as it happens on Twitter @NHSExpo  #Expo14NHS

Image of Dr Kate Granger, a final year Specialist Registrar in Medicine for the Elderly working in LeedsKate is a final year Specialist Registrar in Medicine for the Elderly working in Leeds.

One of her main clinical interests is Palliative Care in the acute hospital setting and she is currently studying for a University Certificate in Palliative Medicine.

Kate is also a terminally ill cancer patient with a very rare type of sarcoma and is currently having palliative chemotherapy for a recent progression in her disease.

Kate has written books, as well as posting tweets and blogs regularly about her experiences of illness.

She is passionate about Quality Improvement and how she can use her experiences and observations as a patient to make the care delivered in the NHS better.

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