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UN International Day of Happiness

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It happened again.

I woke up this morning with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. My morning run was a breeze. The Labradors and I whistled in the dogs case barked a tune of happiness. I smiled and waved at people as they whistled the same tune too.

Was it the super moon Solar Eclipse in Svalbard (Norway), or the Spring Equinox that was making me especially chuffed; or simply that today is the United Nations International Day of Happiness. The International Day of Happiness recognises that happiness is a fundamental human goal and calls upon countries to approach public policies in ways that improve the wellbeing of all people.
The UN’s idea to declare a day of happiness came from Bhutan – a country whose citizens are considered to be some of the happiest people in the world. The Himalayan Kingdom has championed an alternative measure of national and societal prosperity, called the Gross Domestic Happiness GDH, as opposed to Product.

You might remember that on this day last year I mused the idea of having a Director of Happiness at the Countess. A DoH who would be the #TeamCountess champion for our own GDH. Always up for a challenge, and endlessly happy himself, Dr Chris Green, Director of Pharmacy, stepped forward - It might have been that others stepped back. In the intervening period he has been pretty busy coming up with ways to help improve the Countess GDH.

A few weeks ago we held the first of our Schwartz Centre Rounds. A Schwartz Round is a multidisciplinary forum where staff can discuss emotional and social dilemmas that arise in caring for patients. The subject matter was close to the hearts of many of the Team Countess staff with a focus on “Dealing with Winter Pressures”.  All staff were welcome regardless and encouraged to take part irrespective of role or seniority.

The stresses of today’s healthcare system threaten the delivery of compassionate care. Financial pressures and administrative demands mean less time with patients and a focus on diagnosis and treatment rather than the impact an illness can have on the patient and family. Many NHS staff today are anxious, frustrated and under pressure – with no structured outlet for expressing their feelings and little preparation for the difficult communication issues that are an inevitable part of patient care.
In contrast to traditional medical rounds, the focus is on the human dimension of medicine. Staff are given the opportunity to share their experiences, thoughts and feelings on thought-provoking topics drawn from actual patient cases. The premise is that they are better able to make personal connections with patients and colleagues when they have greater insight into their own responses and feelings. There is growing evidence that Schwartz Rounds have a positive impact on individuals, teams, patient outcomes and organisational culture.

Thank you to Dr Happiness for arranging the first of our Schwartz Rounds and taking the time for this investment into The Countess GDH.

Enjoy your day and smile.

About the Author

Tony image

Chief Executive of Countess of Chester NHS Foundation Trust.

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