Today marks a milestone on the #hellomynameis journey as it reaches its second anniversary. 2 years ago today I was in hospital with a post-operative infection, and was inspired by a conversation with my husband during evening visiting time. I had been moaning to Chris about the lack of introductions from the healthcare staff looking after me. Being the practical optimist that Chris is, he simply told me to “stop whinging darling and if it is that important to you do something about it.” So we did. And it all started with a tweet…
***I’m going to start a ‘Hello. My name is…’ campaign. Sent Chris home to design the logo… #hellomynameis***
Reflecting on everything that has happened 2 years later is quite surreal. We had a tiny idea. We used my voice, passion and dedication to improve the NHS that I so dearly love and my message was heard loud and clear across the care sector. The journey has led us to Buckingham Palace to receive my MBE from HRH Prince of Wales, on a UK wide tour of the country where we met 2000 members of frontline staff, to Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister and to the Scottish Parliament. The campaign has received national media coverage and the social media reach statistics are astounding.
I firmly believe that communication and compassion are the most important of the 6Cs and that stating the obvious is a useful thing to do. I’ve just had another hospital admission for neutropaenic sepsis. When my Consultant came to see me he brought his brand new team of junior doctors. Four new faces looking at a washed out, sweaty, pale and in pain version of me. But DtM did something special. He introduced me with “this is Kate” and then asked them to all introduce themselves. Immediately I was no longer the circus act but an active participant in the consultation, no longer surrounded by strangers. This is why #hellomynameis has become so important to me. It makes a huge difference to patient experience. I continue to receive stories from other fellow patients about their positive and negative experiences of introductions and these are my main motivator to keep the campaign alive and flourishing.
I am so grateful to each and every individual who has pledged their support to the campaign. Without the NHS responding to my call none of this would have been possible. The energy of our champions out there to spread the word is fantastic and I would like to say a huge thank you to anyone who has done anything to promote #hellomynameis.
This is all about a simple behaviour that forces us to connect with our patients, to foster relationships and see the person behind the illness.
What can we do to keep the momentum of the campaign going? All ideas welcomed and appreciated…
Kate you are amazing. I had just started following you before that hospital episode and watched the whole thing unfold on my feed. Two years on I really do think about you and the fact that individuals can make a huge difference probably once or twice a week, and it inspires me, and I share your story with others so they know that they can make a difference. May you enjoy your clean sheets for many many more nights!
I am just so pleased to see you come this far.
Thank you Kate. You are right – the power of a simple message which should have been common curtesy and recognition when we are at our most vulnerable is so powerful and empowering.
Wishing you all of the very best and glad that you getting better after your recent treatment.
As a medical educator, as soon as I saw your blog two years ago I started using it for teaching. Now at a new institution , training a new set of communication skills teachers our lead in the area asked if we had a set “opening line” that the medical students should use. No contest really – #hellomynameis.
Hi Dr Kate. How about a short video of real patients holding up cards with the hellomynameis logo who simply say their name but with no mention of their condition. On a second spin around the people they could repeat the name and tell something about themselves such as “I’m 34, a mother, a teacher and my dream/goal/hope in life is, (fill in the blank). Third time around spill the beans on the condition they have. Perhaps concluding with comments about how being asked their name elevated them from biological curiosity to sensient being with fears, a voice, a semblance of control and participation. It doesn’t have to be long or have a long list of people, just a good demographic mix to make the point. Perhaps a bit of a heart-tugging tune playing softly in the background to illicit that extra bit of empathy and aid retention of the message you are hoping to convey. The added bonus being every time they hear the tune it’s a damn good reminder to check that even when exhausted, bogged down, ready to chuck in the towel from being overwhelmed by their workload, they say hellomynameis every time until it enters the subconscious as second nature.
Good luck keeping the message going. Fair weather on your journey dear girl and may the road rise up to meet you.
Hi Kate, I wonder if the NHS Friends & Family Test could incorporate a question about #HelloMyName is – for example ‘Did you receive an introduction from all staff that you met by full name and job description ? Have you heard of Dr Kate Granger and the ‘#HelloMyNameIs campaign?’
– This is just an idea from the top of my head – thank you for encouraging us all each day – with love @JennyTheM
Hi Kate. I have been following you for a couple of years now and thank you for your inspiration. I am a cancer trials nurse at BHRUT and the trust has incorporated your #hellomyname is campaign with zeal. Each and every member of staff wears a badge with the PRIDE (Passion, Responsibility, Innovation, Drive & Empowerment) emblem and our name and role on it. It has been received very well by visitors to the hospital and staff alike. THANK YOU.
Hi Kate – Going to Gasro for Endoscopy tomorrow-a 2 yr followup check .Will take a keen interest in staff intros ! Great to hear from you – its taken my anxiety.peak down to acceptable levels .
Always lifts my heart when I see you have put up a new post. Hope tomorrow is a good day, sleep well, Fiona
You have created such an important campaign, with a universal message, in “hellomynameis” . Despite facing many physical (and I can imagine emotional) challenges, you have shed light on the importance of humanity and general courtesy in medicine. As a physician, also looking at the other side of medicine, the importance of connectivity and relating to a ‘person’ is essential. I can certainly appreciate your commitment to seeing your campaign continue. I believe in the power of social media as a platform to connect and share, without geographical barriers. Here I am in Canada, feeling connected to your mission across the ocean. I hope your dedicated community continues to spread your message.
Hi Kate, In my job as a medical sales rep I travel round many different hospitals and community settings in the North of England and am always proud to know you (although only really through friends) whenever I see staff wearing your logo on their badges. Some still need to practise what they preach but it is definitely improving.
Wishing you all the best, Sarah Stoakes xxx
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I’m so sorry to hear about your recent admission for neutrapenic sepsis.
When my teenage daughter – now deceased, sadly – was attending Haematology/Oncology I absolutely hated it if the staff did not introduce themselves.
I was thrilled when the Trust where I work embraced your campaign. The Trust where I work were always very good at introducing themselves to us – my daughter’s care spanned three Health Trusts. Your campaign has made me very conscious of remembering to introduce myself to the families that I work with. Last week, for the first time since my appointment in 2012, I was also given a name badge, so now people can read my name as well as hear it!
I think that communication and compassion are fundamental to everything that we do as healthcare providers. My teenage daughter Leah had twelve months between her first blood test and her death – those healthcare providers who excelled in the areas of communication and compassion were our heroes and they made a heartbreaking journey just that little bit easier to bear.
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Just wanted to say thanks for this blog. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 29 September & my partner & I have been struggling to find a way to cope with the uncertainty; wondering how the hell life goes on with such a bloody great sword hanging over us. & how when I look & feel so well, I can in theory be so ill ….? & I’ve found your writing enormously helpful. Heartfelt thanks & very warmest wishes, Pip
Thank you for taking the time to comment Pip. It is always humbling to hear my writing is helping others at enormously difficult times. Good luck with your treatment, hoping for minimal side effects & lasting cure. Best wishes, K xx
Hi Kate, I have a rare cancer that noone seems to know anything about. So I spend loads of time on the internet trying to find out information for myself, and passing it on to my doctors. Today I was pleased to find your postings and couldn’t agree more that medical staff should introduce themselves. I recently had an awake operation to remove the remainder of the tumour. The consultant never said who he was (I only knew because I had researched him on the hospital website and recognised his face). Then he gave me a really lovely, gentle and determined surgeon to follow to the torture table, but noone told me who he was and he didn’t introduce himself either. I didn’t even know what his voice sounded like until I forced myself to ask him some questions. After half an hour, another doctor joined in the fun and I was gently told “there are 2 of us now, so it will be quicker for you” and although the second one was actually standing in front of me for half an hour, she never spoke to me, looked at me, or introduced herself! She did however kneel on my hand while trying to reach over and see what the main surgeon was doing!!! I never said anything, because that pain took my mind off the pain of the operation! lol. Introductions would have made a huge difference to me, and, as you say – don’t cost money, and very little time.
This Friday I am seeing the PALS lady about my later consultaion with the amazingly rude and frankly cruel consultant, and I am going to mention your campaign.
When I walked in his room, after 5 weeks of broken promises about being seen by him, I was greeted with “I’m the consultant here, and I understand you asked to see me – WHY?” how’s that for an introduction? not what you mean I’m sure. His face was contorted with rage. I so didn’t see that coming. I really expected him to be kind and helpful, and to answer my many questions. The interview never improved, and although I deliberately never asked if I might die, he decided to tell me anyway, saying “with cancer we talk in terms of 5 year survival, and in your particular case, because it is so exceptionally rare, and because of what has happened to you (previously only partly removed by an incompetant GP) I really don’t think you will make that. That is why you will have lots of follow-ups – and NONE of them will be with ME” (again said with a face contorted with hatred). His last words to me, as he threw me a piece of paper, were “here’s your 3 month follow up and you WON’T be seeing ME”
Anyway, sorry this is so long, as you can imagine, I think about it frequently. I don’t have a husband or b/f, I don’t want to tell my ageing mum that I have cancer, my (many) friends soon tired of me discussing it, and there are no support groups for my rare type. So you have many blessings Kate. I wish you continued ability to enjoy what you love in life, and thank you so much for choosing to be a doctor, and most importantly, a doctor with compassion. xx