Charity, Children, Community, Gifts, Helping others, Kindness, NHS

✨My chosen charity – Barnardos✨

This year I have been sorting through things that I no longer need, things that could be useful to others and donating them to my local Barnardos shop . A couple of weeks ago I was in the shop and I had a look around  realising that as well as donating I should be actually buying something to support this worthwhile charity . I spent £4.57 on two CDS , a candle , a model of a fisherman, (as I have a thing for the sea ) and a butter dish which I have decorated here is my tweet CLICK HERE to see the tweet. 


When I arrived home I started  thinking about the gifts we buy others and thought of the way the media portrays wealth and indeed how some see the need to show their wealth by displaying their possessions to the world . Some obscene purchases of the wealthy really irritate me when I see how many people live in poverty not just in underdeveloped countries but also in developed countries like right here in the good old UK .  One example that recently made me question the true value of wealth was the story of Kim Kardashians nappy bag – A bag worth over  £10k . Imagine living in poverty & seeing this kind of story splashed over the news most days , and the effect on a humans resilience to keep going . Wealth means more than actually having enough to live on – wealth is about learning , kindness, humanity , giving to others , realising there is only so much you can  own and also sharing with others . I feel rich every day because of the family & friends that I have . They give me gifts that are not tangible but yet make me feel like a rich woman . 

I enjoy some quiz shows and relish learning. Whilst I watching the Charity donation segments on some “celebrity versions” of well known quiz show,  I was struck by a thought

 “if celebrities can have a chosen charity then why can’t normal people like me?” 

 I then researched some charities and chose Barnardos because it is so much more than a charity it has actions and outcomes and this year is celebrating its 150th year . Click HERE to read more about the history of Barnardos, listen to children’s voices and experience the impact that the work of Barnatdos is having on so many lives .  

This year until the end of 2016 I am making Barnardos my chosen charity and I pledge to do the following 

  • Donate anything I no longer need to Barnardos 
  • Purchase all future birthday presents and Christmas presents until the end of the year from my local Barnardos shop as far as possible . If this is not possible I will go to the nearest Barnardos shop after this one 
  • If I need to buy anything for myself or my home I will always first look for it in my local Barnatdos shop before going to a mainstream retailer. 
  • I will tweet my purchases to prove to others that I am staying true to my pledge 

I challenge you all to find a chosen charity of your own to support for the rest of the year and to help you feel like you are making a difference . 

As Ghandhi said  “Be the change you wish to see in the world ” 

Thank you Barnardos from me for all the children in the UK whose lives you have touched and changed 

Thank you for reading 


Midwifery and birth, NHS

Skin to skin and the WHO checklist board

The day has arrived – several large cardboard flat packs were delivered to the Women’s Unit Theatre today and I could not wait to open them ALL – lucky for me Nick (a Consultant Anaesthetist) who totally ‘gets’ my passion for skin to skin was there .
“Nick” I said “if those boards don’t have skin to skin on them I’m going to have a huge tantrum and I don’t do tantrums”
“lets get them opened then Jenny” he replied
The first ones were “checkout boards ” which are to ensure that everything is correct prior to the woman leaving theatre –
“let’s try these Jenny ” bear in mind these are huge boards about 2-3 metres by 1.5 metres and very heavy – a theatre nurse joined us to help –
“you and your skin to skin you certainly have a passion for it don’t you ?” Mark (an ODP who was tidying up in the pre-op area) commented

Inside I was overwhelmed – not because of the actual board but because of the effect that seeing the actual words would have on a woman and the staff in theatre – I felt that women , midwives and theatre staff would now feel courageous about skin to skin in theatre , ask about it more and that our board might inspire other NHS Trusts . I get lots of private messages on Twitter asking me to help improve skin to skin in theatre and I believe that a positive change in one Trust can spread like a flame through the NHS

Skin to skin is not about @JennyTheM it is about women wanting to hold their newborns that they have nurtured and grown inside their bodies it is about feminism , valuing a woman’s role as a mother and it’s about love – it’s also about quality care , safety , compassion and making a difference as well as the immense health benefits that close contact can bring to both members of the dyad.

The second lot of boxes were moved to the front – Nick opened the top we peered in “can you see skin to skin Nick?” –
he replied “yes Jenny look !!!”
I peeped inside and sure enough there it was …..

‘skin to skin?’ …..they’d even remembered the question mark ! That was crucial as it had to be about reminding , choice and also rhetoric – I hugged Nick and he looked quite shocked – this was just the start and I’d gone through so much with all the staff to get to this point – I was so excited I couldn’t stop smiling – just you wait until those board are on the wall – writing on the wall was well worth it – 20141021-225150.jpgIMG_3870.PNG

Babies, Birth, Care of the elderly, Community, Courage, Discharge from hospital, Discharge planning, Human rights, Kindness, Learning, Newborn, NHS, NHS Systems and processes, Nursing, Patient care, Skin to skin contact, Teaching

Processes within the NHS 

There is a phrase “going around” that takes the impact of what it’s like to be an elderly person without support and this derogatory term totally dehumanises a very human situation. Talking about humans as processes instead of shouting out loud that caring does not start and begin in a hospital is like saying that once a person reaches 70 nobody really cares about them. The roots of care, compassion and indeed humanity itself  are intertwined into community , family life and neighbourhoods. Love and care begin at birth when the impact of instinctual kindness and love from one’s own mother is portrayed immediately at the moment of arrival by her display of emotions, indescribable craving and total need to hold her newborn child. It is my quest that every midwife, obstetrician and in fact anyone who is privileged to be there when a child is born knows this and thinks about it every second before birth occurs and is instrumental I helping to facilitate it or shout out when it doesn’t seem to be . 

NOW I’d like you to imagine that you are a senior NHS manager questioning your clinical leaders about how to address the problem of  “bed blockers” you are driven and you don’t tolerate excuses . Suddenly fast forward your own life – you are 79 years old and living alone . Your family live just far enough away from you to prevent a daily visit . You are isolated and feel depressed so gradually without any realisation of it , you stop looking after yourself . Your home becomes as uncared for as you are and then you fall . The reason for your fall is that you didn’t like the new slippers your granddaughter bought you for Christmas they were too much like shoes. You therefore continue to wear your old worn ones and on this particular day as you descend your steep unsafe-for-a-79-year-old stairs, your slippers “tread free” soles slip on the edge of a stair – suddenly you’re in flight mode. Your hip dislocates and your femur breaks – time to realise after your operation and recovery in a rehabilitation centre that you can’t get home. Mainly due to the fact that your family are away for a few days in France and social services have deemed your house as unfit for you to move back into . One particular day you are “sat out” in a chair behind some curtains and you overhear a Dr and an occupational therapist talking – your name is used and that familiar term “bed blocker” Is mentioned. The words ring in your ears from when you used to say them about others and now you are one. 

Did you know  when ambulance crews take patients to accident and emergency that they have to wait and cannot leave their charge until the care is taken over by the hospital team. I know this because last year  I worked with an ambulance team for a day . We were transferring a woman to another hospital & I was the escort midwife – once in another zone the ambulance was recognised on the radar and unable to leave each time a 999 call was made . It was like being in another galaxy unable to return to our own a sort of NHS antithesis to Brigadoon. So if SEVEN ambulance crews arrive at a particular Accident and Emergency department all waiting to handover the care of their patients -SEVEN ambulances are simultaneously  off the road-what’s to be done about this?

A few months ago I realised I was digressing from my ” #skinToSkin” work and asked a friend what I should do . Political issues were starting to interest me more , I felt more aware of care for people living with dementia . I had started reading about how mental  health issues are addressed and pigeon holed. Nick Chinn taught me about silos and I realised that the NHS works in silos. My friends reply was “keep going Jenny – as a NHS Midwife you have a duty to be political so that you can tell others about the day you spent with the ambulance  crew, why skin to skin matters to society and is a public health issue . To be frank I’d be more worried if you said you felt apolitical” 

So my friends let’s keep going and let’s keep championing good care , outing systems that don’t put the patient and/or family at the heart of what we do – one day that “bed blocker” might just be you . 

Thank you for reading please feel free to leave comments – your input helps me to reflect and develop as a midwife , mother and human . 

❤️Jenny ❤️