I was asked recently by a friend who my favourite photographer was and why I was so passionate about photography – what is it you like about it?
Henri Cartier – Bresson my favourite photographer was a French photographer who was seen as the father of photojournalism and life reportage. He was quoted as saying ‘We work in unison with movement as though it were a presentiment of the way in which life itself unfolds. But inside movement there is one moment at which the elements in motion are in balance. Photography must seize upon this moment and hold immobile the equilibrium of it.’
Cartier – Bresson demonstrated great skill in composition and beauty. Had he not pressed the shutter button when he did it would not have existed. Cartier – Bresson went on to say “I suddenly understood that photography can fix eternity in a moment.’
So, why I am so passionate about photography? It has the ability to capture a moment in time.
Alongside all the photographs I have taken there have been other moments of time that have been captured in my mind and will remain there until the day I die or lose my memory. Special moments such as when both my children were born, the night my granddad who I adored as a child passed away and the moment my partner was diagnosed with MS. It made me think about how our memories enable us to capture and replay at any given opportunity a moment in time. The power of memory recall!
The conversation I had, made me think about how our actions in the NHS are captured as a memory for our patients. We will leave an everlasting impression whether it is direct or non-direct. Some people’s memories of the NHS are joyful, maybe having a baby, becoming a parent, I know from experience that both my children’s births evoke different feelings and emotions due to the level of care I received. I can also replay in my mind the night my granddad died, walking through the hospital corridors in the still of night, seeing him behind a ward bay curtain with no privacy. Feeling totally devastated as I hadn’t been with him when he died. How the nurses were, what they looked like, how they treated us, my granddad.
The majority of people who use our services are vulnerable, scared and often ill. The services we provide, how we treat people, speak to them, show compassion and care for them will be captured as their memory of the NHS and could be the moment of care being diagnosed with cancer, the last breaths of a loved one or bringing a new life into the world. Sadly life doesn’t have the benefits of digital photography, care is 35mm film. We can’t preview to see if we got it right, delete and start again. We need to get it right first time, capturing that perfect moment of care.
Making the transition from being a nurse for 14 years to joining the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme and making the transition to management was daunting. I often wondered if I could make an impact for patients like I did as a nurse. If I could give them that fantastic experience, make it the best it could be without seeing, touching, speaking with them. Of course the answer is yes I can, I can influence the way care is provided, ensure frontline staff are happy, motivated and leading themselves and their teams. To ensure staff are nurtured and cared for too, as evidence tells us this is how we can influence the patients experience and it’s the right thing to do.
I love photography as it captures a precious moment in time, it allows me to create memories that I can see and that I can share with my family, that I can be proud to tell them about. Caring for people in the NHS is the same, it offers a privileged position for those who choose it to create and capture those moments for patients. So, how would you like your care to be remembered?