Nursing has always been a small world. For all the vast number of nurses in the workforce, it is amazing how often the same names appear, the same faces are seen, and the same organisations feature in news, awards and journals. This is often great news.
We love to see QNI alumni - former award winners - or ex-staff, or current Queen's Nurses, doing something new, taking on a different job, or turning up on new working groups.
I recently met again two people I have worked with in the past. One was a writer who produced reports when I was in the DH; another was a member of my team at the Modernisation Agency. It was great to see what they are doing now, and how we can link up again with each other's work.
The other side of the coin, of course, is that it's hard to escape in nursing. People remember you, they talk to each other, they have reunions and Facebook groups, and they can get in touch with anyone via websites on a whim.
It is not so much a case of 'be careful who you tread on on the way up…' as we are all in the same boat and far out at sea, so, unless you're prepared to throw yourself overboard, you need to get along with your fellow passengers for the duration.
It is surprising how little recognition there is of this. It is a fact that, if you are uncooperative, uninterested, hyper-critical or unhelpful to others, sooner or later you will find yourself having to deal with them again. And your stock will be low, making the new encounter even more difficult than the last one.
As it's never too late for a New Year's resolution, I will add to my list a reminder to be better at cultivating those relationships for the future. To remember to send the thank you email or the congratulations card; to ask about jobs and plans; and to make the effort to provide information, time, interest or introductions. It is all an investment in the future and the rest of my career. I will make this year, along with all its other titles, the Year of the Network.