As those who are in the Fire Service well know, as I'm sure do many who work in the Services, where teamwork is essential to carry out tasks successfully when someone has your back, you can confidently progress. Trust and experience will take time to build, but when it's strong, you can achieve anything. Being in situations I could never have imagined before joining the Service, and with just one other person or even momentarily on your own, as you become separated in the thick dense smoke, it may be just that re-assurance of a voice that you both needed to hear. Seeing flames dancing above your head along the ceiling is hypnotic and beautiful, yet it is superheated gases and not a good place to be really. If on your own, it wouldn't be unrealistic to be questioning why you are there and to get out, but when you have another colleague next to you and a common goal to achieve, you find yourself pushing on into the room. The casualty at this point is also reliant on you getting them out after all. Quite a huge incentive.
Yet how many of us get a 'well done' or praised for risking our necks? I'm not talking about the false praise that gets floundered around when it makes the service look good or it's a 'PR' stunt. Trust me, I've had many a bollocking given out as quick as possible, ok I certainly would have challenged it and justified myself, but I can't recall any officer rushing out to say 'well done.' Only the one time springs to mind by a great officer that attended a house fire we dragged 2 students out after setting their kitchen alight, falling asleep after having a few beers too many. But as we were between strikes and being shafted, we didn't even get a mention. That wasn't the issue, the 2 we got out actually thought it was funny. Chuff me!! This mentality is beyond me. A few F***'s were thrown at them from me in the back of the Ambulance, clearly no idea of reality and the dangers.
This isn't about me having a pop at management or members of the public, they have their own struggles to deal with and their own perceptions. Management has their own extremely different problems compared to those being on the 'shop floor' like the rest of us, dealing with members of the public and seeing and feeling the pain and emotions.
So, to have someone give you genuine praise is the ultimate feeling you can have. A shake of your hand from an elderly, frail relative as they rush out following the Ambulance crews and the travel cot their loved one is on after a difficult extrication or rescue. A strained smile through their pain as they are released from the car and out on a stretcher, knowing they are being cared for. When you make that connection, and I mean really look into someone's eyes, seeing the pain and desperation they are in, to seeing that glimmer of hope as they are released and relief from the intense pain they were in is very real.
This for me what some of my struggles have been.
We joined to help others.
Compassion is within us despite the bravado that is shown as a cover-up. A coping mechanism!
Or when an elder gent came up to us at a school fete, hobbling on crutches and his wife with both arms in plaster. He asked if we had attended the car crash on the Lacock by-pass a month earlier. We had attended and I recalled it in detail. It was a head-on, 2 cars and the man was trapped with a broken leg and the lady had broken both arms as she braced herself against the dashboard. The other car was a young lad who broke his nose on the steering wheel. He was 'most likely' speeding and overtaking where he shouldn't have. But of course, we can't have an opinion on this lol Getting a tearful thankyou from them was and still, after all these years and having retired, is very moving. This wasn't even a bad accident in comparison to some I've been to. Yet traumas and memories run deep. Sights and smells are bad enough, but feeling someone's pain and emotions when with them is another level.
Getting a thank you can and will mean so much to us all. Complaints come thick and fast, yet who stops to think that what they've just lashed out saying hasn't hit deep in the recipient.
How many Nurses get verbal abuse daily.
How would you feel being on the receiving end?
Things we see, cannot be unseen, and things we say, cannot be unsaid.
The words, 'Sorry', just doesn't cut it.
Some people giving their all are so close to breaking point and even the smallest jibe or comment can be enough to topple them.
They may hold on until they are out of sight.
Remove the uniform and we are all human.
Think before you snap at them.
Yes, your life has been shaken and you're protecting your loved one, we get it.
We are just doing our best.
Being acknowledged and recognised for the small things you do. Always .. and I mean Always, Encourage and Inspire, even if harsh reality is pointed out too. That’s called being honest constructive criticism only.
Help and assist to overcome problems, don't add to them. But comments that chip away at someone's confidence and self-worth need to be replaced with comments of support and belief.
You are appreciated by so many and without you, we would be in a complete mess. It may only be a smile or a hand on a shoulder or a handshake, but trust me you are appreciated.
So if Firefighters and Police can feel like this, how do you think Nurses feel when they are far more emotionally attached daily.
I have written this to acknowledge so many that get nothing for the incredible work and skills they carry out without thought for their own well being.
For those struggling, please remember, there are far more people out there who care, respect and believe in you.
When someone believes in you ....you can achieve anything.
Be Proud of who you are and what you've gotten through.
It's ok to not be ok, so please reach out and speak out.
Asking for help, when being a helper is hard, but you are important too.
Thank you for everything.