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In praise of praise

My week has been dominated by "goodbyes". They were not really sad goodbyes as those that moved out of my life were going onto other chosen new beginnings.  But to me, it has felt like a loss.  A loss of familiarity and routine and infrastructure; my world feels different.

It started with a dear friend moving to the other side of the country. It had long been planned and although plagued by the horrors of buying and selling a house in this economic climate, she finally left. How I will miss our spontaneous drop-in visits as we put the world to right over a bowl of soup .

Then my daughter left the nest for university life. That was a revelation! One minute being reticent and unsure about leaving home and friends, she could not wait to usher me away as I left her with four new flatmates in  less-than-clean accommodation with a very dubious, uncomfortable bed. Her infrequent and excited contacts tell me she is fine but I'm not! I miss her untidiness, I wish I'd not moaned about my mascara she always "borrowed" and I long to giggle over an episode of Friends with her.

This coincided with the homing of our four delightful kittens. Born in a wardrobe one early July morning, they had grown to dominate home and thrill us with their playful antics and rapid development. Daisy, the mother (now neutered) and I are now comforting one another in a very quiet house.

Finally, a very significant and respected work colleague left. The team will survive and function but the personal and professional qualities she brought will be hard to replace. The office feels different without her calm presence and her reliability is already missed. Going into work has lost its edge.

Suddenly and cumulatively, my life feels less.  The textbooks say change and loss is an opportunity - but I'm still a bit flat so can't really believe that. Watch this space.

What I have reflected on is whether they knew how much I valued them?  Did I tell them, praise them, thank them when they were there? Many times I have heard speeches for leavers, retirements and even marriages be overwhelming in praise of an individual who was never told so in their daily life. At work leaving events, how many people are told too late that they were great and truly appreciated" how many would not have left if they had felt so valued?

For many of us in nursing, the everyday thanks and gratitude of patients and carers anchor us to the profession. Poor pay, difficult work conditions and the bureaucracy pale against the feeling of satisfaction of a job well done and appreciated. Appreciation makes people grow and reach a potential. Employers should consider the power of this "feel good" factor. GP employers who achieve mammoth QOF payments please note. Trusts pursuing targets please note. 

I'm going to act on this in my professional and personal life. More timely, spontaneous appreciation to those who make the world a better place. Do you remember a time you felt empowered by praise?

Do you remember a time you felt empowered by praise? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"In my last annual appraisal, my manager was very lavish in her praise of my work and my attitude. It made such a difference to how I viewed my contribution to the practice team! Unfortunately, she moved to another job not long afterwards because she felt undervalued by the owners of the practice. When she announced her resignation all the staff without exception told her how much they valued her as a colleague and friend, and the sad thing was, she was genuinely surprised to find out how highly she was regarded, and even loved. We all wished we'd told her before, and often!" - Name and address supplied