If you follow me on Twitter, you will see a few retweets about Kate Granger, a woman who is terminally ill with cancer – but this isn’t what is going to define her.  Kate is behind the #hellomynameis campaign, which has completely redefined what ‘care’ in hospital is, particularly for people who have terminal illness.

Kate and her husband Chris started the #hellomynameis campaign as after a hospital stay, Kate realised that the staff looking after her (although doing well with their jobs I’m guessing) didn’t introduce themselves before delivering her care.  A simple pleasantry had somehow gone amiss, and in Kate’s words:

‘I firmly believe it is not just about common courtesy, but it runs much deeper. Introductions are about making a human connection between one human being who is suffering and vulnerable, and another human being who wishes to help. They begin therapeutic relationships and can instantly build trust in difficult circumstances.

In my mind #hellomynameis is the first rung on the ladder to providing truly person-centred, compassionate care.’

Since the launch of the campaign in 2013, which was mainly done on social media, the concept of just saying ‘hello my name is’ before beginning treatment has spread far and wide.  As a hospital trust volunteer, not only am I instructed to say ‘hello my name is’ before taking to patients, it’s actually written on my badge to remind me.

Kate is an example of someone who has had an idea, a lightning bolt moment, and hasn’t given up on highlighting the issue.  As she is a doctor, you could say she knew the system, but you cannot diminish her fight and tenacity to raise this simple idea which has completely transformed the way that patients are treated in the country.

What have I learnt? What can we learn? Having a simple idea can have a massive impact and transform big things.  ‘Hello my name is’ is a simple thing – its manners – but it hasn’t just told staff ‘You should be saying this’. It’s transformed the way that staff in the NHS should be relating to patients.

So today, what’s your idea?  What’s your ‘lightning bolt’ thought… and what are you going to do about it?

Unfortunately, from following Kate and her husband Chris on Twitter (all links below) it’s clear Kate’s battle with her terminal illness is not going well.  However, she has left a legacy which I know has transformed the way I approach patients when I volunteer… and I’m sure it’s done that for many other staff too.

So thank you Kate.  For that, we will always be thankful.

You can follow Kate on Twitter here: @GrangerKate or her husband Chris here: @PointonChris  Visit #hellomynameis website here.  Donate to Kate’s page for the Yorkshire Cancer Centre here.