Reflecting on a discussion

It’s not long now until I have to revalidate for the first time and I am trying to be super organised.  As my revalidation date is at the start of September I thought it best to get everything sorted this side of the summer.  I have always been an overly organised person – when we go on a long dog walk I’m the person who takes bite cream and plasters just in case! My revalidation is no exception – I have lost count of the amount of times I have logged on to the NMCs revalidation website - to the extent that I apologise to the NMC as its me who is bumping up your visitor figures, which are sure to drop post September!

I now have my portfolio ready.  I opted for a paper version in the end – I can hear you all saying “what?” – however I tried digital but felt that I needed to really see, touch and visualise my portfolio.  I think that this has something to do with the way I learn, I need to use as many senses as possible and my revalidation is no exception.

IMG_2729I have divided the portfolio into colour-coded sections that correspond to each revalidation requirement. I have my feedback and have completed my reflections.  And this week I had my reflective discussion.

IMG_2730I have an unusual role being a self-employed nurse working in social media so I was a little worried about my reflective discussion.  I approached a fellow nurse, Wendy,  who tweets who I respect and who’s opinion I value and she kindly agreed to help.  We live quite far apart from each other so we decided to use Skype.  I emailed her my reflections so that she could read them before hand and we both sat down with a cup of tea and Skyped.

Having never experienced a reflective discussion before I’m not sure that I knew what to expect.  I was worried about being put “on the spot” or having to answer tricky questions but it wasn’t like that at all.  Wendy made me feel at ease, she used phrases like “I was really interested to read……” and she related my reflections to her own work and experiences.  We found that there were similarities in situations we had come across, particularly one challenging situation that I had reflected on,  but we had dealt with them differently.  We were able to look at why that was and how we would perhaps deal with similar experiences in the future.  We chatted for almost an hour – and stayed on topic ! I can’t thank Wendy enough for making the reflective discussion a positive and worthwhile experience.

The whole discussion has left me reflecting …. Did the reflective discussion help me to become a better nurse? I think perhaps it has …. It gave me time to stop, articulate thoughts, share experiences and understand the reasons for my actions.  It helped me to reason why I felt the way I did about some things and in turn I feel that this will help me in the future in applying learning and learning from experiences and feedback. I think that it has also given me a bit more confidence, people often say that a problem shared is a problem halved perhaps this is true for reflecting on challenging situations. There is a part of you, when faced with a challenging situation, that thinks “is it me?” By reflecting and discussing it can help with that feeling of being the only person to have experienced this and give confidence to act as needed in the future when faced with similar situations.

I hope that if ever I am asked to have a reflective discussion with someone I can do it to the same excellent standard as Wendy did for me, I certainly have a great role model to follow.

At the end of the discussion Wendy asked if I had someone to act as confirmer – I sheepishly said that I hoped that she would consider doing it and again she kindly agreed.  However my hefty, well organised portfolio is somewhat of a challenge in itself – so we decided this was a great excuse to meet up and catch up in person …… I will be hiring a trailer for my portfolio ;D



Gathering viewpoints – having & eating cake!

I have been engaged in a few projects recently where we have taken the time to step outside of the expertise in the room and ask people beyond the project their thoughts and ideas.  Now we all know that in theory this is what we should do .. but in reality is it really worthwhile?

I have to admit to being sceptical at times about things we ‘should do’ and often subscribe to the ‘just get on with it’ approach.  Working in social media things are very instant and getting on with just doing it is essential. Social media is fast, we try new things constantly, some work and that’s great and some don’t so we either move on or adjust.  To have to stop, take time, ask people what they think is perhaps a concept that doesn’t sit naturally with social media.

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This all presented a bit of a dilemma for me – do I stay true to my social media roots and just go for it or do I stop, gather opinion and delay? But why can’t we have our cake and eat it? Why can’t we get on with doing things AND gather opinion in a timely manner? The more I thought about it the more I thought … we can !! We have the power … social media !!

Sometimes the solution is staring us in the face and screaming very loudly “look here” Social media is a great way to gather opinion ! So here’s what we did:

The first project we developed a tweetchat, asked for ideas and thoughts and then discussed those ideas and thoughts to develop a concept.  We then developed a blog to share that concept and from that held another tweetchat to discuss the concept.  I can now see this becoming a cyclical thing as the project develops:

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The second project was a little more complex so we felt we needed to actually talk to people.  We posted a blog asking people to help, we then held a webinar and gathered opinion and this then fed into the project.  The process was quick, easy and effective.  We recorded the webinar and captured all the typed comments too so we could refer back.

Was it worthwhile? In both cases I would wholeheartedly say YES!

On both occasions other people saw things that we had missed.  We received constructive feedback that confirmed our thinking in some places and enhanced it in others.  On one occasion the feedback was the polar opposite to the plan so we listened and adjusted .. and thank goodness we did as this was instrumental to the success of the project.

The value of listening to what other people think is beyond measure however I don’t think we have to stop to do it! Social media is a fantastic resource for garnering opinion, you get a wide range of views in a short space of time in formats that are easily captured for future reference or analysis.  My learning here is yes just get on with it and yes listen to others views but the two things are not necessarily exclusive – we can have our cake and eat it!