LISTEN: Michael Rosen pens new poem for NHS nurses

LISTEN: Michael Rosen pens new poem for NHS nurses. Image: Michael Rosen supporting ShinyMind

AMID reports that more than 40,000 nurses have left the NHS in the past year largely due to stress, acclaimed author and poet, Michael Rosen, has written a brand new poem dedicated to hard-working nurses, midwives, nursing associates and healthcare support workers.

The poem comes as Mr Rosen today, (Thursday, November 17) helps launch a new app, ShinyMind, aimed at supporting the mental health and overall well-being of the nursing community.

Independent research, polling 400 nurses, midwives, nursing associates, and healthcare support workers, using ShinyMind, revealed that 94 per cent ‘felt better’ as a result of using it, with the average improvement in well-being standing at 117 per cent. Furthermore, 46 per cent felt it had improved their productivity.

NHS England and Improvement seconded nursing retention and liaison lead, Karen Storey, to support the development of the app, helping to engage nurses at all levels in co-designing the nursing version of ShinyMind.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Rosen said: “Nurses are the backbone of the NHS and literally saved my life and continued to do so when I was discharged from hospital and finally had the courage to read all of their notes to me, written while I was in an induced coma.

“As is detailed in my book, Many Different Kinds of Love, the compassion and empathy these unsung heroes have are truly outstanding. I can’t thank them enough.

“It is my absolute honour to pen and recite this specially commissioned piece dedicated to nurses at the launch of ShinyMind. Hopefully, it will give them a small glimpse as to why they are so important to me and millions of others around the country.

“I believe that the ShinyMind app will be a great source of information, guidance, and support for nurses and I really hope they download it to help improve their well-being and continue to save lives.”

Senior nursing figures from across England are backing ShinyMind, founded by psychotherapist, Rebecca Howard. They include Professor Gemma Stacey, director of policy at the Florence Nightingale Foundation, Queens Nurse, Dr Joan Myers, OBE and Professor Steve Hams, MBE, chief nursing officer at North Bristol NHS Trust.

Rebecca Howard said: “There is no denying that nurses are facing some very tough challenges, especially as we head into winter, and there isn’t a magic wand we can wave to remove these, however, there is much we can do to support these critical workers.

“I’ve spent over five years co-creating and testing ShinyMind in collaboration with the NHS and its nursing community across England, based on their feedback and what they tell us, will help support their well-being. It’s great to finally share this trusted, evidence-based resource with the nurses who do so much for us all in the face of extraordinary challenges.

“ShinyMind aims to help nurses better cope with the demands they face on a daily basis. It also provides resources for professional needs such as masterclasses on assertiveness and voice plus CPD and reflective supervision.

“I’d also like to thank Michael for supporting the launch of ShinyMind and for taking the time to pen this wonderful new piece as an ode to the nursing profession we all know and love.”

This is you, you’re looking at you’ by Michael Rosen

This is you.
You’re looking at you.

Look closely.

Listen to the breathing.
Is it calm?
Or is there a bit of a gasp
or a snatch in there?

What about the walk?
Watch the walk.
In control, is it?
The feet roll from heel to toe
do they?

What next?
How about the eyes?
Look closely at the eyes.
Eyes tell you a lot.
The skin round the eyes.
Is it tight?
More on one side than the other?
And is that a frown?
Is it always there
or can it smooth out?

This is you.
You’re looking at you.

Now what comes next is harder.
See if you can notice any part of you
that’s tight, taut,
a part you that you’re holding
tighter and tauter
than it should be
and you don’t know why:
a shoulder maybe
one side of your neck?
Is there anyway that can be looser?

This is you
You’re looking at you.

Now this is difficult.
We’re going in.
What about sleep?
Do you sleep through the night?
Or do you lie awake in the middle of the night
and you don’t know why?
What do you think about?
Does the day before
come in and sit there keeping you awake?
Does tomorrow
come in and sit there keeping you awake?
Have you ever talked to someone
about what keeps you awake?
You could, you know.
Sometimes, talking about it
scares off the things that keep you awake.

This is you
You’re looking at you.

Are there things you could do
which would look after you?
Places you could go
People you could see
Shows you could watch
Things you could do.
What are they?
Shut your eyes.
Imagine you’re doing them.
Imagine you’re doing them.
Imagine you’re doing them.

Have you ever tried ways
of expressing what you feel?
What would you draw?
What would you write?
How would you move?
Imagine you’re doing them
Imagine you’re doing them
Imagine you’re doing them

And you know why I’m asking you
to ask yourself all these questions
don’t you?
It’s for that old, old reason:
if you don’t look after you
you can’t look after others.

This is you.
You’re looking at you.

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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at