Square peg

peg1I am over halfway through the NHS Leadership Mary Seacole Programme and I have to say that whilst I am enjoying the learning and finding it very interesting I am becoming increasingly aware that what I do does not fit neatly into the programme and learning.  I find that I have to think beyond what is being presented to us and build upon it.  I feel very much like the proverbial square peg trying to fit into the round hole!


t2The recent workshop day was a great day but only really served to increase my feelings square peggishness (real word?)  The 6 dimensions of organisational climate were discussed at length throughout the day and I spent a lot of the day feeling frustrated and perplexed.  It wasn’t until I sat down on a one to one basis with one of the facilitators that it actually started to make sense.  She was very patient with me and we discussed the model and ideas surrounding it and we both came to the conclusion that I don’t fit and neither does my leadership initiative  … however we also concluded that this is ok ! It’s perfectly fine to be a square peg and my leadership initiative in all its square piggishness (yes that made up word again!) is still a valuable initiative that can make a difference.  We spent a large chunk of the lunch break brainstorming (for which I am eternally grateful) and came up with a square hole for my square peg.

So having missed most of lunch this is a neat version what we came up with:


I am not sure how much sense it will make to you but being the type of person that thinks in pictures it has helped me make sense of what we are being taught and where I fit.

failMy leadership initiative is to bring more evidence into the #nursecommunity and to develop a system to recognise, collate and measure the evidence that is already out there and being shared. One of my key concerns with Twitter and Twitter discussions of late is that a lot of information is being shared but where is the valuable evidence based stuff that will enhance our practice.  I worry that Twitter chats will soon be dismissed as just inane twitter chatter and want to ensure that what is being shared is not only evidence based but also that we can prove this. Will my leadership initiative work? I don’t know is the honest answer! Being in a space such as social media there really is no precedent so we just have to try it out and see what happens!! However there are several stumbling blocks to me using this as my leadership initiative – I have no formal leadership position, there is  no formal team, WeNurses as an organisation sits outside the traditional definition of the organisation and WeNurses though works closely with NHS & healthcare organisations is not part of them.  Whilst this is not a huge problem in terms of the project itself it becomes problematic when trying to apply the models and frameworks that we are exploring through the Mary Seacole Programme…… square peg!!

peg2I am not sure that having chiselled away at this round hole that my square peg of an initiative will fit neatly however what I have learnt is that the important thing is the learning that is taking place.  I have gained so much so far from the leadership programme and it has given me the confidence to question the norms and to move forward in a constructive and inclusive manner.  My measure of success here is not how round I can make my peg or how square I can make the Mary Seacole Programmmes round hole but my leadership initiative and whether I can lead this small but subtle change xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx in the way we share on Twitter.

Catching those who are falling

A few weeks ago I had my own words read out to me (and many others) at a conference.  Now it’s always a bit weird when someone quotes something you have said but on this occasion it was on a whole new level ….

ripplesA while back I wrote a blog that wasn’t my usual type of blog, it was called Falling through the gaps and it was a very personal account of a friend’s miscarriage.  The reason I wrote it was that I felt so saddened by what had happened that I really felt I needed to express this in some way.  Then out of the blue I received a tweet from Kath Evans (Head of Patient Experience at NHS England) asking if she could read my blog at an upcoming conference that both she and I were speaking at.  It seemed that people had been talking about and reading my blog about my friend’s traumatic event and it had become part of a chain of events to create change.

It was one of the strangest and most emotional experiences I have had in a long time, sitting and listening to someone else read my words.  I watched as the people in the room fell very silent and listened to Kath and saw the effect of my friend’s story on the people listening.  It was the first time I had heard the words spoken aloud and it was as if I was immediately transported back to the day I wrote it, all the emotion of saying goodbye to a little boy that never lived came flooding back to me.

writeI have written so many blogs since I started my social media journey and as anyone who blogs will tell you we never really know where our words go, who they affect and the ripples they cause.  I have always measured social media success by the power of one, if my words have an effect on just one person then they will have had an effect on one person! However that day, sat in that room, listening to Kath and watching the reaction I was very humbled that my words touched so many and that my friend’s story really was being heard.

I told my friends story not because I wanted to make change, not because I wanted anyone to listen but because it was a story that needed to be told.  The events that led to “falling through the gaps” really did shake my very core and there was a voice inside of me that had to be given the chance to speak.

blogSocial media is a powerful thing, it allows many people to tell their stories and gives them the opportunity to be heard.  If we listen, and I mean really listen, we can learn and we use these stories to act and to make change.  As I left the conference that day Kath gave me a copy of NHS Improving Quality “A review of support available for loss in early and late pregnancy” My friends story cannot be attributed to single handedly bringing this about but it is one of many stories that have been listened to and will result in change and improvement and somehow this makes this event make sense.  We can never change what has happened but we can listen, learn and improve… My hope is that as a result of the ripples that were made using social media we will be able to catch a few of those falling through the gaps.