I plugged the HDMI cable in to his laptop and the desktop image appeared on the screen behind us.
“Thanks. You know, we’ve actually met before.” I look puzzled and embarrassed at the same time, searching to recall the young man in front of me. “It was way back, when I was an F1, I couldn’t get a chest drain in and I came to A&E to look for some assistance. You were really kind and helped me. It must have only taken you 15 minutes but I always hoped we’d meet again so I could say thank you.”
This was a conversation I was privileged to have today. I still don’t remember the events this doctor was referring to, I don’t remember his name or even recognise his face – but he remembers me and how I made him feel… that must mean something?
Most days I struggle to know where to start. There are just so many things that are wrong with work, with our country, with the world, that I feel overwhelmed. How can I fix any of it? Where would I start? What could I do? The hard reality is that I have little to no influence over what is happening in my Trust, let alone the NHS, and as for the rest of the world…
Then, today, this young doctor walks in to my life and reminds me that I can have an impact, I can make a difference and whilst it may not seem much to me, to someone else it might mean the world. As I battle through systems that appear to treat me as a resource to be managed and consumed I must not forget, ever, the impact I, as an individual, can have on a colleague: a personal contact in an impersonal system.
So what am I going to do this? How can I start ‘making a difference?’ Well, I can create a bubble around me, an area of work, of life, that I can influence and will make different from the rest of the world. I can make it a safe place for others to be in, a place where the individual matters, where people feel cared for and important just for who they are rather than for what they can do. It won’t build itself, I’ll have to make a conscious effort each day to do that, but build it each day I will. I know it might be fragile, that the bubble may not last through some days, and on occasion I’ll struggle to fit even myself in it… but I’m going to keep trying because there is something else I know too – I’m not alone. I know there are others out there building bubbles too, others who want things to be different and when we meet our bubbles will join together and create a bigger, stronger space to support each other and those around us. And then, one day, if enough of us build bubbles… who knows where it might lead?
Do you fancy being a bubble builder?