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Patient experience as poetry

Update from Care Opinion

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This guest post was contributed by Madeleine Olding, Dunya Najat, Christina Louca, Abdullah Khawaja, Yogita Shanmugharaj, Sydney Rodrigues, Sofia Pinto, Fizza Qureshi, Raven Owie and Huma Kiani

We are a team of 10 second year medical students from King’s College London. This year we have spent one day a week at Rushey Green Group Practice in Catford, where we have been learning about general practice and what it might be like to work in the field in the future.

Rushey Green group practice

As part of this placement we were tasked with producing a clinical humanities project, with the goal of encouraging us as students to incorporate creative skills into our clinical practice. Spending a prolonged amount of time in the practice has given us a real insight into the working environment, but also what a complex and varied population the practice serves. Whilst clinical exposure is the primary reason for having a longitudinal placement such as ours in general practice, we have found that one of the most valuable lessons has in fact been acknowledging the diversity of people's experiences.

We wanted to create a project that offered a different perspective on medicine

From the outset we knew we wanted to create a project that offered a different perspective on medicine. As medical students we are bombarded with statistics, NICE guidelines and gold standard treatments, but it is only with clinical experience that one begins to understand how these are shaped around an individual: the patient. Since beginning clinical placement this year, we have been continually struck by the stories patients tell us, and the courage it takes to share them.

Our project aims to explore common presentations in general practice through the eyes of the patient. We looked not only at the blood pressure reading on the sphygmomanometer, but also at how it feels to be told it is going in the right direction. We read not just about the dosage used in medications for treating addiction, but the struggle of walking hours to go and collect them.

With the help of Care Opinion, we have used real patient accounts and composed haikus that reflect these experiences of the NHS. These haikus have been collated into an illustrated anthology ‘Appreciating the Patient Experience: an Anthology’ for distribution in our GP practice. We hope that it might inspire patients and staff alike to appreciate the diversity of experiences of healthcare, and to recognise the qualities of good delivery. We hope there are details within it that you find you can relate to or disagree with, laugh or frown at, but most importantly that make you think about how it felt to be that person.

The patient experience is at the heart of medicine, and at the heart of this project.

Edited by Madeleine Olding and Christina Louca

Illustrations by Dunya Najat and Abdullah Khawaja

Poetry by Madeleine Olding, Dunya Najat, Christina Louca, Yogita Shanmugharaj, Sydney Rodrigues, Sofia Pinto, Fizza Qureshi, Raven Owie and Huma Kiani

Download ‘Appreciating the Patient Experience: an Anthology’ (6MB pdf)

Response from Jane Danforth, Involvement & Experience Officer, Involvement, Experience and Volunteering Team, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust on

This is a wonderful anthology thank you so much for sharing it. 

At Nottinghamshire Healthcare the patient and carer experience has taught us to really listen to what online feedback is telling us and to act on any suggestions or shortfalls in the services delivered by our Trust.

Feedback is a free gift, not always one you want to receive when it is less than complimentary but it's a real gift to let us know when the experience is great and also when it has sadly made someone feel worse as it gives us a chance to put things right and to be open about it.

The positive aspect of receiving feedback really makes a difference to our staff. To be thanked for doing a good job can really lift morale when feeling the pressure of a busy day.

Austerity has been blamed for many things in the NHS. We know there is not enough cash or resources and we don't always get things right but I hold on to a few things that have made my own patient experience better so here goes...It costs nothing to be kind to patients and their families. It costs nothing to make someone feel less anxious or afraid. It costs nothing to raise a smile when greeting someone for the first time. It costs nothing to say sorry.

Over nine years of feedback using Care Opinion has changed the way we approach the patient and carer experience at Notts Healthcare. As we head towards a decade of using online feedback I can honestly say it has made an enormous difference to my role in understanding how people feel about their experience and I know many of our staff responding on Care Opinion would say the same. 

I wish you all success in your future roles.

Your 'from the heart' approach is spot on.


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