A word, if I may

Posted on May 20th, by geoff in CT blog. No Comments

By Caring Times editor, Geoff Hodgson

Welcome to this, the first ever Caring Times Blog! It’s mostly going to be written by me, but I expect my editor-in-chief Dr Richard Hawkins will want to put his oar in from time to time and we hope to have some guest bloggers as well.

Let’s start on a light note – it seems that we aren’t allowed to help people anymore, especially if they are residents (or, if you will have it thus, service users) in our care. No, we can’t help someone to get dressed. We must “support them in dressing”. To ‘help’ someone to do something, it seems, is to focus on their dependency, whereas it’s OK to ‘support’ them because this implies that they are doing as much as they can to accomplish the task on their own – the Lord supports those who support themselves as the saying didn’t go but now, apparently does.

Jargon irritates me intensely. Being a journalist I love words and I like to see them used in their correct sense. Many years ago I was marked down in a nursing exam because I ticked the supposedly wrong box in a multiple choice question asking for the definition of the word ‘coping’. When my paper was returned to me I raised an eyebrow and reached for my dictionary. My choice had been the right one so I complained.
“Ah yes,” said the examiners. “But you need to know what ‘coping’ means in a nursing context.”

I wasn’t having that. ‘Coping’ means what the dictionary says it means. I said that if I asked a patient if they were coping with something, I didn’t imagine they’d give much thought to whether or not I was using the word in a professional context. Language is supposed to help us communicate, not put up artificial barriers to hinder communication.

They gave me my mark back.

– The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

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