We’ve just welcomed in the new year and chances are we did it with a glass of bubbles in hand and to the strains of “Auld Lang Syne”, that traditional Scottish tune penned by poet Robbie Burns all those years ago.
Just a few weeks into 2018, it’s with mixed emotions that I’m again called to draw on the song and share its call to remember old friends as time marches on. Yes, these are my sentiments towards my wonderful colleagues at North Eastern Community Hospital as I prepare to take up a new challenge next month.
For over four years, we have together faced a variety of challenges, pursued and realised some great opportunities and, most recently, received well overdue national recognition for being an innovative organisation.
These are milestones we collectively achieve and celebrate, for we are indeed a family at North Eastern – and a whole lot more “community” than simply by name.
Like any family, we have our idiosyncrasies – I believe my colleagues have grown accustomed to, if not warmed to, my somewhat distinctive fashion sense, along with my characteristic humour – but we share a togetherness, a vision that is stronger because of our differences.
We have times of laughter, some sadness and of course those occasions where we just don’t get on as well as we should. What remains unwavering, though, is the commitment and sentiment towards the most important people in the organisation: our residents and patients, without whom we have no purpose for existing.
As I prepare to leave the organisation, I want to take a moment to stand up and applaud the dedicated staff that I have had the privilege of working with – and in an environment where a CEO walkabout hasn’t had people scurrying into hiding but rather choosing, more often than not, to engage in a bit of healthy banter.
We’ve chatted about our lives, our challenges, our joy and our despair. We’ve shared ideas on how we can improve things, we’ve raised issues and worked together to find solutions, the latter reinforcing in me the wisdom of a lesson I learnt earlier in my career – the very person raising the problem has the solution… They just need to workshop it with others to crystallise it.
I am pleased to say many of these suggestions have been and continue to be implemented.
I have been humbled by the responses from colleagues to the news of my departure and I thank you all and wish you every success for the future. I know that leadership is strong within each of you, just as I know you’ll never lose that common ground of CARE as one of our most prominent values.
So, in closing my last article for North Eastern Community Hospital, there is no better way to bid you farewell than with one of my favourite quotes of all time:
“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget…”