It’s an animal world

This week’s Blog is written by Ceylan (@Ceylanx7) who is a sexual nurse specialist at North Middlesex Hospital and Florence Nightingale Foundation (@FNightingaleF) Scholar 2021.  My blog will explore influences of sexuality and what we can learn from animals as a leader.

Sexual health nurses are not just about giving out bags of condoms.  Nor are we too worried about whether you have had your Brazilian waxing done yet or not.  We are more concerned if men have a weird discharge leaking from their penis or if women have strange lumps/bumps on their vaginas.  A common misconception about being a sexual health nurse is that we must love sex ourselves because of the job we do. Sexual health is a specialist area which shouldn’t be seen as the ‘easy’ option in the field of nursing.  Being a sexual health nurse is a great job; I feel privileged to work in this area of nursing.  I can assure you that like gynaecologists we are not interested in looking at your genitalia unless there is a medical reason for us to do so.  We are like the secret M15 of the NHS as we do not communicate GPs or share any details unless there is a medical reason to do so. We are detectives when we are trying to find infections under the microscope.

So… have you heard the phase ‘at it like rabbits..?’  Basically means having lots of sex; but have we since covid..?  Sex is one of the most normal and natural things we do but yet people still shy away from the conversation.  ‘What happens in the bedroom should remain in the bedroom’.  If it is in a bedroom? Sex should be fun and enjoyable otherwise people would not be doing it.  It should be about expressing our feelings.  Not all sex ends in an STI or an unwanted pregnancy.  STIs are going to happen which is why as a sexual health nurse I try to remove any shame or embarrassment.

So… rabbits..?  What comes to your mind..?  An Easter cute fluffy rabbit, a chocolate rabbit or the rabbit you hide in your bedroom in a secret drawer or hidden under your clothes and play with..?  Well it should be Jessica Rabbit of course!  She is what we could call a very sexy woman who has the curves of Marilyn Monroe, the eyes of Angelina Jolie and of course the voice of Kathleen Turner. She is often described as the ultimate male fantasy that we would love to be and to have.  She is aware of her influence and her power and despite her sexy appearance she is the lover of Roger Rabbit who is a clumsy rabbit but warm hearted.  Sometimes love does not make sense but Jessica and Roger Rabbit are an adorable loyal couple.

As part of my scholarship journey with the Florence Nightingale Foundation I decided to look further into the animal world and what can we learn from them.  I turned my attention to the Chimp Paradox Steve Peters is an amazing speaker and a great author.  The paradox is a mind management tool that helps to explain the daily struggle that we all face when dealing with our inner chimp.

The chimp is the primitive part of who we all are.  Our inner chimp is the naughty part of us, which can behave as a big baby constantly requiring attention and seeking approval.  Whenever we are faced with a choice or a task we need to do, the chimp goes into overdrive planting our brains with unwanted thoughts and controls our emotions by making us become aggressive and self-indulged or the opposite can lead us to self-sabotaging thoughts of imposter syndrome which is something that a lot of nurses can feel like sometimes.  We always doubt ourselves.  I have doubted myself numerous times am I worthy of being on this amazing journey with my Florence Nightingale Foundation scholars.

The chimp can be our best friend or our worst enemy if you are not able to control the cheeky thing.  Having a chimp is like owning a rabbit – a pet rabbit! You are not responsible for the nature of the rabbit but we are responsible for managing it and keeping it well behaved.  Just like Jessica Rabbit and her classic line of, ‘I’m not bad I’m just drawn that way’.

My Florence Nightingale Foundation scholarship has provided me with a unique perspective on leadership and how to care for my patients.  It has given me a greater understanding of leadership and leading with greater presence and impact and influencing change. I would like to thank the Foundation for all their support, Health Education England and my Chief Nurse Sarah Hayes who have sponsored me and to my mentor Cathy Winfield.



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