What brings you joy at work?

This year in the run up to Christmas we have been asking readers about the things, big and small, that bring joy to your working day. Here are some of the responses. We will be updating this feed every day in December. Join in on twitter using #BringMeJoy #XmasBMJ or leave a comment below







1 December:

Su Hickman, nursing associate trainee, John Radcliffe Hospital

I am a nursing associate trainee in a busy stroke ward at the John Radcliffe. What gives me joy is when a stroke patient can finally communicate even the smallest thing to their loved ones. To see the happiness is the best thing ever.


2 December:

Frances Webster, general practitioner

Over the years as a GP I have “helped” people have babies, by advice and referral of course. Seeing those babies and hearing thanks for the tiny role I have had in their arrival is a joy and a privilege.

3 December:

Bhuvan K.C, lecturer in pharmacy practice at Monash University

The fact that I meet and work with a diversified team, and that I am training students who will drive the future of pharmacy practice excites me and keeps me motivated.

Twitter: @kcnomics


4 December:

Lewis Hughes, FY2, west of Scotland, separately co-chair of BMA Scottish Junior Doctors Committee

My most rewarding experiences at work have some things in common. When I get to use my skills and effort, with the team I’m working with, to really get a result for a patient that’s massively satisfying, it makes being late or tired completely worth it. Whether that’s enabling someone to have a good death, or beating the groaning machine to get someone discharged for a daughter’s wedding—that’s the stuff of life and why I turn up.

Twitter: @lewyhughey

5 December:

Amar-Singh HSS, senior consultant paediatrician

As a paediatrician many things bring me joy at work; the smile or giggle of a child, the friendship of families, and the bond between colleagues. The obvious situation where we experience joy is when a child recovers fully from a severe condition. This brings much happiness and relief to the family and to all of us who have been caring for that child.

Twitter: @DrAmarMOH

6 December:

Zaki Hassan-Smith, consultant endocrinologist

What brings me joy at work falls into two main categories: good outcomes and small acts of kindness. Good outcomes can include getting the right diagnosis on the post take ward round, or the student or fellow who you’ve supervised for a project who gets a paper published or wins a presentation prize. For the latter, it is as simple as a colleague making a cup of tea or receiving a letter of thanks for spending time explaining and discussing someone’s condition.

Twitter: @ZakiHassanSmith

7 December:

Yasmin Jayasinghe, paediatric gynaecologist and senior lecturer

What brings me joy?

Knowing, that I am perfectly imperfect
Knowing, that someone has my back
Knowing, that it’s hard because I’m in the game
Knowing, that I don’t know everything
Knowing, that I can ask for help
Knowing, that I’m making a difference
Knowing, that I am a role model
Giving, it all that I’ve got
Sharing, the lessons I’ve learned
Believing, it’s fine to keep going
Nurturing, the next generation
Allowing, their growth and advancement
Loving, that they exceed my expectations
Honoring, the trust in our care

Twitter: @FPTaskforce

8 December

Helen Garr, GP, NHS clinical champion for physical activity, Nottinghamshire LMC wellbeing lead, and director of the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine

I have a beautiful tree outside my window at work. Every morning I take three minutes while my computer is firing up to look at the beauty of the tree, mindfully drink a cup of filter coffee out of my favourite cup, and enter the day calm and relaxed.

Twitter: @TheWellbeingGP


9 December

Melanie Zeppel, senior research fellow in health economics, Macquarie University, Australia

In the roller coaster of medical research, when things get tough I get a lot of joy from sending an email or message lifting up another colleague, thanking them for their work. Helping others get through hard times helps me feel uplifted as well.

Twitter: @MelanieZeppel


10 December

Emma Gladwinfield, GP and GP trainer

For me joy is being in a team that cares for each other as much as the patients. The daily coffee and chat, the arrival of cream cakes “just because.” A varied day of seeing acute and chronic patients with a mix of teaching interspersed!

Twitter: @dremmag


11 December

Tania LeBaron, family physician

Many things bring me joy at work. Here are five of the top:
1. Hugs from patients
2. Kids pronouncing my name Dr LaBarwon
3. Singing and laughing with my staff
4. Giving high fives to patients who make positive changes and get to their goals
5. Getting my charts done early for the day

Twitter: @DrT_LeBaron

12 December

Rashmi Mathew, consultant ophthalmologist, Moorfields Eye Hospital

What brings me joy? Being appreciated by staff and patients. Buying food for my team—cakes, fruit etc, to enjoy while we do clinic. Eureka moments—particularly when I explain a concept or how to do something in surgery and a trainee gets it. And empowering patients to self care.

Twitter: @mathew_rashmi

13 December

Rachel Pilling, consultant paediatric ophthalmologist, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, and Dan Wadsworth, transformation manager. Co-founders of 15seconds 30minutes (15s30m)

“We should create a system in which everybody may take joy in their work,” Edwards Deming.

The person who is best able to create joy in work is you. We encourage any member of staff to spend 15 seconds on a task now which will save someone else 30 minutes later on—reducing frustration for them or the patient, and increasing joy in work. By doing a small task to help someone else, you create joy in work for both you and the person you are helping out. Knowing that however busy or hectic the day, you’ve done one thing today which has made a difference to someone else—that’s what brings true joy in work. And the best bit, is that YOU are in control of it—you can create that joy in work which feels so elusive. Anyone can take part—from chief executive to porter, there’s no training or permission required, just individuals finding little things which make a big difference.

Twitter: @15s30m @miss_pilling @danwod

14 December

Silvia Leon Mantilla, research coordinator, Chronic Disease Innovation Centre, Winnipeg, Canada

This infographic represents what brings me joy at work! Twitter @sevenoaksCDIC @silviajulianalm

15 December 

Ellen Knox, consultant obstetrician and @RCObsGyn workplace behaviours adviser

It probably sounds corny but it’s the little things that bring joy—someone noticing you are exhausted and bringing you a cup of tea. Or someone saying thank you—whether it’s one of your team or a patient or relative—especially after a difficult situation.

Seeing team members supporting each other in difficult times inside or outside of work. Healthcare professionals being valued and spoken about as people rather than just service providers.

Seeing women with complex medical problems prior to pregnancy to plan their pregnancy, then seeing them all the way through and after delivery. Sometimes they have been told from a very young age that pregnancy will be problematic, or even told they might never have children, and its a great privilege to coordinate multidisciplinary care and follow them through their pregnancy and delivery.

And cake!

Twitter @elsmere_g

16 December

James S Thambyrajah, GP at Cheam Family Practice, outgoing First 5 Lead GP For RCGP SW Thames Faculty

“First 5 GPs” are GPs within their first five years of their medical careers and over the past two years I have had the privilege of serving as a First 5 lead GP. This role has brought me immeasurable joy. I have organised multiple courses in topics ranging from elderly medicine to doctors’ wellbeing. To see other people learn new things in a supportive environment is incredibly encouraging. 

I have tried to help doctors with their personal wellbeing. This may involve just sending a message to a First 5 GP who has been struggling or going through an especially tough period in their professional or personal life. I particularly enjoyed teaching at a course for trainees who were about to qualify as GPs. Just having a small role in guiding them towards their future roles is incredibly humbling.

First 5 GPs are the future of general practice. I along with others in the First 5 committee across the whole UK feel a huge sense of responsibility (and pride) with regards to supporting these GPs and junior doctors.  

Twitter: @JThambyrajah

17 December

Michael Griffin, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

The Northern Oesophago Gastric Unit has a charity called Oesophagoose. Every year for the last 25 years, we have hosted a coffee morning in December for the survivors of oesophageal and stomach cancer. It started off with us hosting it on the ward in the early 1990s, and then in the boardroom of the Royal Victoria Infirmary, and then it got bigger and it moved to the Newcastle Civic Centre. I thought we’d never ever have enough people to fill the Centre, but last year on 14 December we hosted over a thousand people. I cannot tell you the joy that that gave me.  

It was the end of my clinical career because I was about to go and work full time as President of the College and hundreds of patients that I had operated on were there. It was like a family gathering. My consultant colleagues were there, as were our senior nurse specialists, dietitians, anaesthetists and oncologists. There was a patient there who I saw 28 and a half years ago and was about the fifth patient I had ever operated on. It’s just absolutely fantastic; talking to the patients, finding out that they are great grandparents and seeing photos of the new arrivals who they never thought they would see. It was just fabulous.

18 December

Simon Gregory, Deputy Medical Director (Primary and Integrated Care), HEE and GP, King Edward Road Surgery

I love it when something I do as a GP makes a genuine difference in a patient’s life. And as an educator when a trainee grows in confidence and you can see how wonderful they are.

Twitter: @SimonDGregory