Caring for others has been a great privilege

I have shared tears of happiness and heartbreak, writes Neil Young, of his 30-year career in the care sector


Monday 13 November 2017 19.03 GMTLast modified on Monday 13 November 2017 22.00 GMT

After reading a barrage of negativity about the poor care of our elderly, I found myself reflecting on the real essence of care. During my 30-year career as a nurse and manager privately and in the NHS, I have encountered human beings at their most vulnerable. I have had the privilege to hold the hands of many people as they have taken their last breath or spoken a final word. I have offered comfort to a mother who has lost her child and watched the joy on new parents’ faces. I have shared tears of happiness and heartbreak, felt thanks in a hug and sometimes just in a look. The most precious gift that you can give to anyone is your time.

Challenges around staffing and budgets face us daily, yet if we keep the focus on those we are trusted to care for this should give us the sense of purpose for which we signed up and provide comfort for those who need it. I am proud and still now feel it a great privilege to be a nurse. To simply be kind always to those people we care for and to one another is a relatively simple goal. It comes from within us, and not from a spreadsheet. Neil Young Poole, Dorset

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