The power of words

19 March 2021

Important reflections, emotional support and more honours.

A great honour

Huge congratulations to CPHVA Executive vice-chair Asha Day who was awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours list. Asha is also a nurse, health visitor and clinical team leader for Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust. Her BEM was awarded for services to the NHS and to minority ethnic equality during the Covid-19 response. 

Reflective poetry: my professional journey to current practice

Health inequalities poem by Sharon Yelland

I grew up in the 70s in a place called White City,

Some houses with junk in the gardens, not so pretty.

Yet to me I look back and see days out playing,

Carefree and happy, unaware of the poverty in the making.

My dad wasn’t there but my family were loving,

I wanted for nothing and my mum went on working.

She worked two jobs and we lived with my Aunt Jan,

Who taught me to cook when my mum was working - what a plan!

The local school was quite close and I walked there each day,

Good memories I made, oblivious to the reputation at play.

When I look back there were kids who were pretty smelly,

With clothes that were tatty and not much food for their belly.

One lad I remember was dirty and a bit of a naughty boy,

Put rind in my water and made little me cry.

Years later our paths will cross once again,

All grown up, but dishevelled and as naughty as then.

My job as a nurse had led me to care in the main,

For people who chose drugs to block out the pain.

He didn’t remember me, or at least didn’t say,

He struggled in life and had little money his way.

The abuse as a child had affected him greatly,

Blocking out the pain with drink and drugs was his focus lately.

Fast forward to now and I’m back in the house in White City,

My childhood home is now the home of my family.

The neighbours are friendly and some still remain,

Who have lived here a lifetime with their own joy and pain.

Most of them work, and work hard for a living,

While others remain on what the state might be giving.

All around me I see generations who have not worked much,

While my family’s work ethic was strong and shaped my life as such.

So now as I consider and ponder health inequalities today,

I have seen first-hand the cost of a poor area at play.

One thing I am glad is the path that I’ve taken,

To believe that change happens and people’s lives can be better.

Sharon Yelland is a SCPHN student (school nursing) in the 2021 cohort for Swindon Borough Council. Sharon is studying through the University of the West of England, where students were asked to create a reflective poem about their professional journey to current practice.

Showing emotional support

In these trying times especially, being able to give a colleague or a loved one emotional support when they’re in need can prove to be invaluable.

Unite has teamed up with psychotherapist and teacher Dr Derek Smyth, so you can confidently be there for someone when they need you.

Dr Smyth’s online programme, Being There, aims to equip you with basic ‘emotional first-aid’ skills to support others in distress without becoming overwhelmed yourself in the process.

It will teach you essential skills when dealing with loved ones or colleagues who need emotional support, through a number of interactive modules, including loss, self-care and culture.

The entirely online course is based on the in-person workshops Dr Smyth has given internationally to organisations, institutions and individuals, and is a result of 30 years of work.

It usually costs more than £100, but you can access the course for free via uniteinhealth.org/being-there

In your own words

Thank you for all the feedback on the January/February issue. Here’s a selection via Twitter:

Su Lowe
replying to @GinaAwokoH

Fab piece – I’ll point you at a great article on practice educators. Great @CommPrac issue this month.



Professor Gina Awoko Higginbottom MBE

Opened my journal this morning. Thanks @CommPrac for the great journal article and conference report.

Dr Nola Ishmael OBE
@RealNolaIshmael replying to @GinaAwokoH

Great article. Focused, informative, inspiring and responsible. Congratulations to all.




Thank you so much @CommPrac for featuring an article about Raynaud’s syndrome and for bringing awareness to this surprisingly common syndrome (10 million people in the UK). I have had this condition from a young age and know how debilitating it can be.



Please let us know how you’re doing and what practice is like for you now. As always, we'd love to hear from you, so to give any feedback on the journal, or to talk about your work projects, tweet us @CommPrac, or email [email protected]

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