Not inspirational …. Inspired

ptcI am sat looking at this blank screen, knowing what I want to write but not really knowing how to start.  This is one of those blogs that I have written in my head on a long journey home from London this week however I neglected to compose an opening paragraph …. Hence the staring at a blank screen ….. What do I want to say? And why am I finding it so tricky to put it into words? Well its something I have been thinking about for a few weeks now ever since I was voted as being one of HSJs Inspirational Women …. The fact of the matter is that I am not inspirational ! Phew! I am so glad to have finally got that down on paper and eventually kicked this blog off .  So lets get on with the rest of the blog now:

“Not inspirational!” I hear you cry, as clearly it’s written in the HSJ so therefore it must be true, mustn’t it? I have to say at this point that I was extremely honoured to be on the list, my journey from an agency nurse seems to be most blessed but I really do think that HSJ have it all wrong.

I am not inspirational ……… I have been inspired.

I have been amazingly fortuitous to have met, tweeted with, blogged with, worked with and become friends with some like minded, passionate people who have inspired me. And I am lucky enough to have the means (social media) to pass on that inspiration.

Let me tell you a little story about the HSJ Inspirational Women celebration evening ……

ptcWhen I received the invitation to the event and after I had picked myself up off the floor I noticed that I was allowed to bring a guest, so I asked some of the other “We” chat leaders if they would like to come and Dawn Stone who is a student Midwife who helps run @WeMidwives jumped up and said she would love to come along.  I was quite relieved as its always very difficult to go to these things alone, never quite knowing if you will know anyone.

Dawn was full of energy from the very off with a flurry of emails about what to wear and where we would meet I lost all my nerves about the event and started to really look forward to spending the evening with Dawn.  We met in a coffee shop just around the corner and Dawn rushed in having just come of shift but all smiles.  As we walked over to the venue I knew that it was going to be a lovely evening  as we did not stop talking the entire way !

When we walked into the very beautiful venue Dawn spotted a midwife she had heard speak at her university, Dawn spoke with such enthusiasm about how the lecture had affected her and her practice I could see that it had truly inspired her.  When I suggested to Dawn that she go over and say hello a look of panic crossed her face and she said “maybe later”  I could see that Dawn really wanted to say hello but also understood the turmoil as I have often wanted to say hello to someone but been unable to find the courage … its something so simple yet often so difficult to do.  However I was so proud when later in the evening Dawn found me and said “I did it, I spoke to her, she was amazing” Dawn had the biggest smile on her face.


I started this blog by saying I am not inspirational and I stand by that – I am not inspirational but I have been inspired.  The most inspiring person in the room that evening for me was Dawn Stone Student Midwife – Dawn showed what it is to be passionate and proud about who you are and what you do, Dawn showed that energy and enthusiasm are contagious and Dawn showed that courage that is needed in the smallest of things and if we take a deep breath and go for it those things are worthwhile.

I just want to say a big thank you to Dawn – I went to the event as an “Inspirational Woman” but I came back with so much more … I came back having been inspired.


Open space conversations

I have been thinking a lot about public health and health promotion recently mainly due to the recent week of action #PHPweek and the “At the heart of it all: Personalised care and population health” conference.  Now I do have to say that although health promotion and public health has been occupying my thoughts it is by no means my area of expertise and in my nursing life I take a pragmatic view to health promotion making use of those teachable moments and making every contact count, however I am very aware that I still have much to learn.


Ok so now you are all aware of my lack of expertise I expect you are wondering why I am focusing this blog on health promotion if I know little about it? Well as with a lot of my thinking these days it started with a Tweet during the WeNurses #PHPweek Twitter discussion “Being a health promoting practitioner”


Open space conversations? What do I mean by that? Well social media is a vast and wide open space where there is the potential for everyone to see everything and for everyone to listen in.  For example when two people have a conversation on Twitter its not just the two people that see and benefit from that conversation its everyone who follows them too… And if that conversation is shared via ReTweets then this starts to create ripples and the conversation reaches and potentially impacts so many more.  One conversation in an open space can have far reaching value.

So let us take this a little further (because I always like to get carried away!) .. what if we start to have the right conversations in the right open spaces? What if we started “Ready to learn” conversations in parenting communities? What if we had healthy eating conversations in school communities? What if we had mental wellbeing conversations in teenage communities? What if we had testicular cancer conversations in football communities? Open space conversations in the right open spaces are already happening – not in healthcare but they are in Parliament! The UK Parliament outreach team are making some great inroads and have a presence and are having conversations in places like Money Saving Expert, MumsNet, the Army Rumour Service and WeNurses ! Could healthcare do the same ?


There’s a whole push around “Right care, right place, right time” what if this extended to our social media spaces and our open space conversations around public health and health promotion? Can it be done?