8 Jan 2021 Care
Nurse Colette launches The Smile Project
Sometimes, a friendly face is just what our patients need to help them relax during their stay on our In-Patient Unit. And as our nurses are hidden behind their face masks to help protect those around them, The Smile Project was developed to comfort patients and their families.
Communicating with one another isn’t just about using our voices; facial expressions and body language play a huge part in telling our story. But as the coronavirus pandemic took over the way we live our lives, much of the way we communicate became hidden behind our face masks.
Our nurses and doctors all had to quickly adapt to a new way of working and a large part of that involved finding new ways to support and comfort patients from a safe distance. After months of getting used to the changes, it became clear that patients began to miss seeing smiling faces during interactions with our teams.
To help combat the barrier between our patients and those supporting them, Nurse Colette Land made it her mission to find a way of showing patients their faces in a safe way.
Colette said: “The Smile Project first came about back in September last year; we have had some amazing feedback from our patients who feel they were very well supported regardless of our face masks being continuously worn but some were really missing knowing what we look like.
“Our official ID badges are quite formal and small, so I wanted to develop something friendly that shows a happy face for our patients to see. Not everyone smiles on ID badges so it’s so much more friendly, seeing a smiling face gives people a bit of a boost.
“Last year’s World Smile Day really prompted us to pull something together, and so we launched The Smile Project soon after. Rolling them out and getting our teams to start wearing their badges has been brilliant, it’s so nice to see their faces again!”
Since the project launched three months ago, the majority of our In-Patient Unit team are now wearing their smiling faces proudly and are already hearing some amazing feedback.
Patients have been delighted to be welcomed with a smile once again when speaking with our teams. One patient said: “It was so difficult not knowing staff when I first came into the hospice and with them all having to wear masks it made it even harder. The photo badges allowed me to familiarise myself with the staff.”
Another patient added: “It is a great idea. All the staff can look the same with masks on and it is really difficult to identify them apart. The badges have really helped me get to know who everyone is.”
Colette has also received great feedback from her colleagues, as they were missing seeing each other’s faces whilst they worked with one another.
Nurse Jayne Taylor said: “Although the mask is for protection they come across as a barrier. The photo badges give comfort.”
Nurse Judith added: “It’s a brilliant idea, it makes me feel better wearing it. I like people to be able to see my smile.”
Colette would like to say a special thank you to our IT Manager, Tony Shaw, who has been a key part of developing the project - it wouldn’t have been possible without him.
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