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"Your most difficult client is actually your teacher!"

By Ian Courts - Posted on 10 March 2013


 Tina Swani, the daughter of one of our members was a "stand in" for another speaker, but I think was recognised by us all as being truly inspirational. She is Chief Executive of St Mary's Hospice in Handsworth,  a director of a housing association and an honorary senior lecturer at a medical school. 

 During the half an hour or less that she spoke to us, she dropped in so many beautiful lines in her talk about the work she is involved in, just what caring for others really means. So much of it all is so obvious, so simple, when you really take the time to think about it!    I can do no better than summarise a few lines that I wrote down:-

  • a hospice is not about a building, the housing: it is about the palliative care, the teaching, the home
  • physical symptoms are always accompanied by emotional worries, practical difficulties, for both the client, and  family: you have to deal with those too
  • how many of your personal skills are taught, how much are down to experience
  • you need to find out what is important to that client
  • stigma stops people asking for help: you need to get through that barrier
  • life is scattered with personal loss
  • communities must look out for all the people that are getting disconnected, with this aging population
  • the work of volunteers is what makes the world a magical place. Why do they do what they do? They are bringing love.
  • buildings speak to you, if they look good
  • people are proud to be associated with your organisation in their volunteering
  • the most difficult client or customer is your teacher

I am sure we all learnt a lot!

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