Are You Proud of Yourself? Well, You Should Be!

February 25, 2016


Are You Proud of Yourself? Well, You Should Be!

Image Courtesy of Graur Razvan Ionut via

Embrace the Change

Don’t be a donkey – eat the carrot

Rarely does a dentist say: “I like the new way you’re handing me the spoon excavators, nurse, take the afternoon off.”

I doubt a practice manager has ever told a receptionist that they rearranged the stationery cupboard really well and given them a £10 M&S voucher.

Let’s face it, unless you suddenly bring in twenty-five new patients a week or achieve exemption from CQC inspections for your practice, much of what you do will go unrecognised. Unrecognised and unrewarded by others, that is. Instead, you need to give yourself a metaphorical pat on the back. To misquote the late Margaret Thatcher: ‘a day you’ve had everything to do and you’ve done it, is a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end’ (she actually said: “Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's a day you've had everything to do and you've done it.”).

You want something more contemporary? How about Stevie (Sarah Hadland) in the TV comedy Miranda holding up a cardboard cutout of performer Heather Small’s face and singing "What have you done today to make you feel proud?"

Be proud of what you achieve day-to-day.

Squeaky hinges on the practice door? Oil them.

A misspelled warning notice in the decontamination room? Correct it.

Dropped spoon excavators? Hand them over differently.


Pride and progress

Although according to Proverbs 16:18 ‘Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall’, I disagree. I’m not alone. In her book Behold You 2 – Embrace Change, Dawgelene "Dr Dawj" Sangster, M.A., EdDc ( a world-renowned business psychology strategist and professor, wrote: ‘You embrace each new day that you are living your change and be proud of each step you take in your action plan.’

So if your action plan (written or unspoken) is to simply be better, taking pride in even your most minor achievements or improvements will be like a tailwind.


Continuous improvement by whom?

We’re there! We’ve arrived at a two-word phrase that resonates deeply within healthcare (verified by the three million plus results Google found for ‘continuous improvement in healthcare UK’). In Reforming the NHS from within, authored by Chris Ham for The King’s Fund in 2014, it states: ‘…change in professional bureaucracies like hospitals depends much less on bold strokes and big gestures by politicians than on engaging doctors, nurses and other staff in continuous quality improvement over the longer term.’

I’m okay with this and probably many of the other statements to be found in those three million links searched and found by Google. What I’m less happy about is that the human personality trait of conscientiousness as defined in the Big Five or five factor model (FFM) used by academic psychologists for personality research appears overlooked. Among definitions of conscientiousness are a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement against measures or outside expectations.

We all want to be better and do better to a greater or lesser extent. Since small improvements rarely elicit rewards from external sources, we must recognize them with self pride. Think of that next time you check that the pens in the waiting room actually work, tidy your nurse’s work area or lend your phone to a patient to ring for a taxi.

If you enjoyed reading this blog, tell me, tell a friend and tell everybody you know on social media. (Hey, I’m proud of myself anyway for writing it).

More soon, Nicki x