Monday morning

There was a time when on a Sunday evening I would take time to sit and plan my working week. I thought it helped me to focus and plan before the dreaded Monday morning hit … but I am not sure it did. In reality I was just a thief stealing time from precious weekend relaxation…. which I have to say that I don’t write with any irony or flippancy. Time to relax and take care of ourselves is so very important … let me say that again … it’s important to look after us too !! As nurses we spend all of our time looking after others that we often forget how vital our own health and well being is to that process; this quote says it pretty succinctly:

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Yet here I am and its Monday morning and I find my head is buzzing and full of what I need to do … priorities, things that I need to remember, meetings, bank shifts, deadlines and getting organised. I can feel my heart rate starting to rise and the guilty feeling for not having sat down yesterday evening to plan … so how do I make sense of this ?? How can I stop stressing about not spending vital downtime planning my weeks work … well perhaps the key word here is “plan”

Any nurse worth their salt knows how integral planning is to the nursing process, it’s part of what we do to give good care. Yet why, when we leave the bedside, does planning become something that we do during the aforementioned very, very, very vital downtime ?? Planning helps us to ensure that things go smoothly – failing to plan is planning to fail after all. Planning is part of our work as nurses, whether it’s a care plan, a strategic plan or a plan for the week … maybe it’s time reclaim Monday mornings for planning and keep the weekend for relaxing ??

So here I sit …. Monday morning… it’s 08.48 …. I have a cup of tea and a blank diary to start my plan.

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Blown over by #10kfornurses

Over a year ago now Paul Jebb (@pauljebb1) and I had a conversation on Twitter that was all about avoiding running a marathon. As a reluctant runner 10k is about my limit and Paul pretty much confessed the same … so we decided to run a 10k together. As passionate and proud Nurses it seemed like a good idea to run our 10k for The Cavell Nurses’ Trust … Cavell do amazing work to support nurses in crisis (if you haven’t yet heard of them you can read about them HERE) and just like that #10kfornurses was born !

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In October last year Paul and I ran our 10k together in Sheffield … Paul beat me, but it was more about raising money and awareness so I forgave him … eventually ! The wonderful thing was that a whole load of other people did a 10k for nurses … nearly 100 people !!! Some ran, some walked, some baked and some even bounced. It was great fun & it was brilliant that the lovely folk at the Cavell Nurses’ Trust wanted to do it all again this year.

Paul and my 10k for Nurses this year was all about going the extra ‘k’ and we both decided to join 100 other people and take on Snowdon. Of course Snowdon in October was never going to be a day at the beach and storm Callum made sure of that. In the days before the Snowdon hike we all watched the weather closely; it soon became apparent that our hike may be more challenging than we first thought. On the way up to Snowdon the night before the hike the wind and the rain was really starting to come down in earnest … storm Callum was flexing his muscles ! We (my husband, Nick Chinn and Joan Pons Laplana and I) had just left Shrewsbury train station to begin the ‘by car’ part of our journey when I received a call from John Orchard (CEO of The Cavell Nurses’ Trust) John was just calling to advise us that we would have to take an alternative route into Llanberis – where we were staying for the evening – as one route was blocked by a fallen tree and the other was blocked by a landslide !! As we made our way through the welsh lanes in the wind and the rain suddenly a marathon seemed like a good idea !! We eventually arrived at the hotel rather shaken and an hour later than intended !

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The next morning Storm Callum was still causing trouble but despite the wind and the rain loads of people turned up to walk their 10k ! Our fab guides – led by Jason Rawles – made the decision that it would be too dangerous to go to Snowdon’s summit but we would instead hike 12k around the bottom of the mountain. It was a good decision … within 5 minutes of being out the only part of me that was dry was my left foot !! The rain and the wind were unrelenting. But spirits were high and we were all determined to compete the hike …. after all what is a few hours in the rain compared to the hardship that some nurses face?

As we reached the 5k turn around point we all voted to hike just one more “k” so we could still go the extra “k” for nurses. That extra kilometre was the toughest kilometre I have ever walked … the wind was (we were told later) hitting speeds of 50mph and the rain just kept coming … we walked a few steps and then stopped a few steps. I have to say that I did not feel scared or unsafe and this was largely due to our brilliant guides who looked after us and gave us tips and support as we walked. As we turned and headed for home I felt a little sad that we did not reach the summit .. but mostly I was proud that, despite the odds,  we did it !! We hiked 12k in all, though it felt much further ! And as we all came back into base everyone had a smile on their face.

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I hiked most of the trek with Debs Cooper and would like to thank her for keeping me going and making the hike fun … here is one of the videos we took (you can see how bad the weather was!!)

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Reflecting on this years 10k for nurses experience now – some two days later – it was hard, it was challenging but it was worth it ! So far we have collectively raised over £19,000 – which is so much more than last year already ! It’s not too late to get involved or to donate … even £1 can help to make a difference to a nurse facing hardship: CLICK HERE  to donate

All of this leave me totally blown away both literally and metaphorically by 10kfornurses … it’s utterly fantastic what we can achieve as nurses for nurses … I can’t wait until next years challenge :)

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Nurses uniforms are stupid

Sometimes I will write a blog and put a deliberately provocative title at the top to hook people in … however this time my sentiments are exactly what the title says … nurses uniforms are stupid !!

I hate to state the obvious but it’s been hot … very hot … and when it’s hot I starts to see a plethora of tweets about 2 things from nurses uniforms and getting enough drinking water. Whilst I would love to tackle both topics that would make this blog too long (& I have already blogged about hydration HERE) morning so I am going to focus solely on the uniform issue.

I have been nursing over 20 years now and the uniform has not changed. In fact I have a picture of me as a newly qualified nurse at the Bristol Royal Infirmary and the uniform I am wearing is still the uniform at the beloved BRI.

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I literally can hear some of you saying but they look smart, we love buckles and belts … and what about the hats and capes … those uniforms made us look like proper nurses! Well I am not so sure ….In the words of Professor June Girvin “We should beware of misplaced nostalgia.  As George Ball said, and we would do well to remember, ‘Nostalgia is a seductive liar’.  I wouldn’t go back there for anything.” (Nostalgia 2018)

So lets look at this through a different lens instead of rose tinted spectacles:

Hospitals, care homes, clinics and even peoples homes are hot places .. even in the winter! A uniform that is made out of tent canvass (the type of uniform you have to wash a million times before it relaxes enough not to chaffe and that can stand up on it’s own) is going to make us sweat, which is not only unpleasant for the people we care for, who we are often in close quarters with,  but also excessive sweating can contribute to dehydration … which lets face it (I am pulling no punches here) is a patient safety issue. Then there’s the whole dress issue – I have to say I have lost count of the about of times a patients hand has gone under my dress, leading to embarrassment for me and (if unintentional) embarrassment for the person I am caring for.  Not to mention the whole belt and buckle thing … have you tried moving about when restricted by one of those belts? Surely that is not conducive to our own health and safety? My belt and buckle are safely tucked away in a drawer and that is where they are staying !

Why do uniform traditions and legacies still persist in nursing? Lets look at policing and the uniform change over the last 50 years:

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Or the fire service:

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Or girl guiding:

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Or Sainsburys’s:

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I have a small confession to make now …. I confess to having started a small uniform revolution where I do some bank shifts from time to time.  The uniform is made from the aforementioned tent canvass and has a high collar and a popper down front (don’t even get me started on poppers and nursing uniforms!) … it’s hot, even in winter, it’s impractical, I can’t breathe or move in it … so I hopped onto the internet and bought a uniform of the same colour … a smart, light weight scrub top. The top allows me to move freely, not sweat and is comfy and up to the tough job of nursing … I love it.  At first I thought no one had noticed that I was technically was in the incorrect uniform and then a few weeks ago (when the hot weather started) people started asking me where I got it from … so I told them.  I have to admit to smiling a little when I last went into work and heard that the uniform was being changed to the exact top I have been wearing.  Of course I do not recommend this approach for everyone, there is a time and a place to the “seek forgiveness not ask permission” approach – I am very fortunate to have a understanding and flexible employer … however if you feel your uniform isn’t up to the job then I urge you to say something and start your own revolution.

Although the title of this blog could be construed as provocative I have to say with confidence that I stand by it … nurses uniforms are stupid.  So lets stop the nostalgia and get to grips with uniforms that are fit for modern nursing and allow us to do our jobs.

Inches and miles

I have sat down several times over the past week to write a blog post and each time written a paragraph and then given up … it’s not that I don’t have anything to say, but rather that I have too much to say ! Last week was a incredibly busy week for me, with the opportunity to talk about #70nursebloggers and #70midwifebloggers at an #NHS70 event, being on the Victoria Derbyshire show (brief appearance but there’s something about TV that is always exciting) ongoing work with the fab team at Plymouth University, plans for the We Active Challenge (go #nursesactive!) and a brilliant morning spent at Barts Health NHS Trust talking about nursing and social media and being nominated as one of the 70 most influential nurses between 1948 & 2018. Then there’s the news – Jane Cummings is stepping down as CNO, Jackie Smith is stepping down as Chief Exec of the NMC and Matt Hancock is the Secretary of State for health.  Then on a more personal note my son has broken his wrist, my daughter is just about to leave primary school and my dog has a sore paw and is on antibiotics and analgesia ….. my brain feels a little overwhelmed !!

And breathe !!

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Here’s whats on my mind currently (each point a blog in it’s own right!)

  • Times are changing – for the better or for the worse I do not know, but whats probably most important is that we all keep striving to move forward
  • Being on TV in a bit scary – not sure how people do it all the time
  • How do we get more nurses blogging and sharing their wonderful work?
  • I’m not sure I am influential and feel like a bit of an interloper – what I do is connect and bring people together rather than influence.
  • The team at Southmead Hospital in Bristol are fab, my son is getting excellent care
  • 3 trips to London and 6 train journeys in the hot weather is not pleasant – kudos to those who have long journeys to work every day
  • Can’t wait for August and We Active Challenge – how can I inspire more nurse to join this year and how can we beat the AHP’s
  • Who is Matt Hancock? Does he have any healthcare background? Does he really not need any healthcare experience?
  • I love being with a group of nurses and getting them excited about the potential of social media
  • How do I get my dog to eat the rather large antibiotic tablets? Cheese??
  • I am going to have to be super organised to make it to all of the end of term things: Leavers School Production, Leavers Assembly, Leavers Disco ….the list goes on!
  • How will Jane Cummings and Jackie Smith’s departures affect nursing?
  • How will Matt Hancock affect healthcare?

With all of that down on paper, out in the open, shared with the world I am left wondering why? Why share this blog post? What is my key point? Well perhaps my first point hits the nail on the head … times are changing, in fact they are always changing, and we have to keep momentum going forward …. I am reminded of this picture about success:

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Things … life even … may be complex and convoluted and seem like a large scribble on a piece of paper but lets not loose sight of the general direction in which we are all moving.  Celebrate the success of moving just one inch towards a common goal … which leaves me still concerned about the plethora of things invading my thoughts but recognising and celebrating how the past week has also seen some inches for miles.

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Blogging, nursing and lots of bicycle analogies!

Whilst helping a nurse friend to get blogging this week I noticed that my first blog post on this website was 5 years ago … although I had an anonymous blog before this one .. this blog marked my decision to be me in social media.  Back then I both tweeted and blogged under “Agency Nurse” I didn’t use my name, not because I was doing anything wrong but because I wasn’t very confident in social media and being a nurse in this space …perhaps not revealing my real name was akin to having stabilisers on your first bicycle, it gave me confidence and helped me to practice getting my voice just right.

bicycle-14863_640Back then things were very different, there were next to no blogging nurses, hardly any tweeting nurses and no NMC Social Media Guidance.  Blogging as a nurse was not really a “thing.” I recall, when i first set up my blog, reading through my copy of the NMC Code and checking off each point to make sure that I wasn’t compromising myself as a nurse by blogging … I was nervous as there was no one for me to copy or emulate, no one to show me the way, but, nevertheless I took a deep breath and published my first post.

I was really not sure what to expect – perhaps I hoped, (

to carry on with the cycling theme that I seem to have started,) to be an instant “Tour de France” type hit, find lots of other bloggers, for blogging to be taken up by every nurse that ever nursed and for blogging to be the best thing since sliced bread (or a red bicycle) for nursing.

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Of course the reality was more like this:

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It felt like I was on a journey all by myself … and it felt like that for a long time!

At this point you may be wondering why I kept going …. well mostly for me.  Quite early on i found that I liked blogging.  It helped me to reflect, to organise thoughts, to develop ideas and to challenge thinking.  But mostly it has been about moving forward and pushing the boundaries and by being determined, by working to raise the profile of how social media can help nurses and nursing I hope that this ultimately helps nursing to keep it’s balance … cue next bicycle analogy:

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Slowly I found more nurse bloggers, slowly I found that more people read my blogs (maybe it was because I got a little better) slowly I found that people began to comment and quote my blogs and slowly I felt that we started to move forward.

Blogging can do so much for nurses and nursing….. but in the main it can give us a voice, and we can use that voice to share ideas, experiences, research, thoughts, reflections, resources and so much more.  This in turn, due to the global nature of social media, makes who we are and what we do more visible …. and thats got to be a good thing.

So my stabilisers are definitely off, I’ve been blogging as me (and not anonymously) for quite sometime now and have clearly found myself helping other nurses to find the value in blogging.  Today see’s the launch of #70nursebloggers and #70midwifebloggers, backed by CNO Jane Cummings, this initiative blossomed from a tweet by Sam Sherrington where she suggested that we could encourage more nurses and midwives to get blogging by challenging 70 nurses and midwives to blog for the NHS’s 70th Birthday celebrations.  Read more about it HERE …. but this is my blog …. encouraging you …. yes YOU to get blogging.  You may need some stabilisers, it may not be quite the Tour de France to start with … but keep moving forward and you will find value in blogging.

As for me I am thinking it may be time for one of these:

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(Mostly because I kinda gotta keep going with the whole bike thing now, right up to the bitter end of this blog post … for which, dear reader, I humbly apologise!)

And as for the friend I was helping (way back at the start of this blog and before the bicycle stuff got in the way) you can read her first blog HERE

 

 

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!

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What makes a good blog?

After months of not blogging rather surprisingly @SarahChapman30 tweeted me asking for some advice on blogging.  Luckily she also copied in @AnnieCoops and @ProfJuneG too – who blog in a slightly more organised and less rambling way than myself. The Twitter thread unravelled some great suggestions and you can read it HERE. The conversation got me thinking …. What makes a good blog? Not just for the reader but also for the writer.  Yes blogs need to be readable but they also need to be manageable.  So this is me writing some top tips down on paper … perhaps more for me than anyone else, that way I might actually manage to successfully resuscitate my blog:

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Find a platform you like and is easy for you to use – it really doesn’t matter which platform you use but its important that you get on with it, the last thing you want to be doing is getting hot and bothered because you can’t figure out how to post your blog online.  I use WordPress but some simple solutions include LinkedIn, Blogger , Tumblr & even the WeCommunities community blog ( and lots more too!)

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Blog regularly – I subscribe to (and often fail) to the theory that if you blog regularly, even if infrequently, then your readers know when to expect a blog.  In theory it makes sense, sometimes the reality is a little different.  It’s perhaps a good idea to decide how often you want to blog and then double that time period so if you think you can manager weekly blog every other week.

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Don’t be hard on yourself – In relation to the above if you don’t manage to blog regularly then don’t be too hard on yourself, the world will keep turning and people will survive

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Blog from the heart – remember this isn’t an academic piece of work, it’s personal, it’s you ! Whatever the subject matter blog about your thoughts, feelings and reflections.

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Keep it short … or not – I always aim to keep my blogs short as it makes them easy to read on a mobile phone and as someone with dyslexia the struggle to read large bodies of text is real! However there are times when more needs to be said … so say it, don’t be confined by word count

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Experiment – Experiments with styles – try reflections, lists, stories, add in tweets, add in pictures or infographics and in addition to this remember blogs don’t have to be written, try video, audio, or even blogshots.

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Tell people you have blogged – ok so I find this bit difficult, it’s self promotion basically and something that a great many of us are uncomfortable with.  I know I don’t promote my blog posts enough – however I liked @anniecoops suggestion in the Twitter thread linked above … promote for 48 hours.  This feels comfortable for me so I may give it a go

bicycle-1533130_1920Have a few blog posts in the bag – this was @ProfJuneG’s suggestion (again please see the linked Twitter thread above) and something that I had never considered, but it seems to make sense.  If you have time and the inspiration then write away whilst you can and save them for a rainy day.

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Make notes – I have a specific note on my phone that is called “Blog ideas” The reason I have this is that I often think  “that will make a good blog” and then totally forget my thought process by the time I get to a laptop.  My phone goes everywhere with me so it’s a good place to jot down thoughts as they come.

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Subject matter matters – when I first started this blog it was going to be all about social media and nursing, however what I have learnt is that it ok not to be specific and fixed in your subject matter.  Blog about what matters to you at that point in time …don’t put your blog in a box, go with the inspiration.

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There are no rules – so having come up with a definitive list of top tips the final point is that these are not rules, more like loose guidelines that are open to interpretation and amendment.  Go with what feels right for you, what you can manage and what fits in with your lifestyle.

So, Dear Reader – here’s hoping that this not only helps you to get blogging but also that it helps me to put pen to paper more often.  I am now off to write 6 more blogs so I have them in the bag and to pimp this blog post for the next 48 hours !!

Thank you @SarahChampman30 @ProfJuneG and @AnnieCoops for spurring me into action :D

That will never work !!

I recently asked a question via a Twitter Poll about nurses use of social media:

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The results didn’t surprise me too much but what did surprise me was some of the tweets i received in response to this poll. What most surprised me were the comments made in relation to using social media to communicate with the people we care for, some people were quite adamant that nurses should absolutely not engage with the people we care fro within social media spaces …. I feel that I need to challenge this thinking and ask “why not?”

With more than seven in ten internet users having a social media profile and two thirds of adults, with a profile,  using a social media site more than once a day (OFCOM 2016 ) it could be argued that social media is becoming the default way to communicate.  Particularly when I think of my teenagers social media is such a normal way for them to talk and communicate with others. So why are nurses reticent about using this communication tool to communicate with the people we care for?

The NMC Social Media Guidance does not discount engaging with patients on social media it quite rightly mentions confidentiality and not using social media to build or pursue relationships with patients, which gives us some scope to embrace the power of social media to engage with the people we care for. There are obstacles to overcome – privacy ? – confidentiality ? – do the people we care for want to engage with nurses in this way ? – to name a few … but surely the possibilities are there if we dare to think a little differently? Can we really write off social media as a means of communicating with the people we care for? I’m not sure that we can.

I think that even though there are challenges with communicating in social media spaces as nurses we will overcome them, we will evolve and the technology will evolve to find a way that works… as this is how people want to communicate.

Whilst contemplating this and browsing the internet I came across this rather interesting blog “15 Worst Tech Predictions Of all Time” Documented here are the naysayers, the people who said ‘that won’t work’, and boy did they ever get it wrong … among the worst predictions are:

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1876: “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.” – William Orton (President of Western Union) – errrrmmmm the telephone is pretty much the basis for modern communication.  If we look at healthcare alone … how many times do you use the telephone during your working day? What about NHS 111 ? Teleconferencing? Telephone consultations?

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1981: “Cellular phones will absolutely not replace local wire systems.” — Marty Cooper, inventor. - just take two seconds to appreciate the proximity of you mobile phone. I bet it’s within hands reach.  Of course without advances in mobile communication community nursing and mobile working would be so much more challenging!

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1995: “I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.” — Robert Metcalfe, founder of 3Com. - yep!! someone actually said this!! If i have all the time in the world i bet i couldn’t list what the internet has done for health – online journals, NHS Choices, sharing of information, blogs, videos … ahem … SOCIAL MEDIA!!

So in 10 years time when we are tweeting our virtual GP, Facebooking our midwife or have a Instagram outpatients appointment will we look back and say how daft we were to think that we would never be able to communicate with the people we care for through social media? Well I don’t have a crystal ball so I am not entirely sure … however I do know that without exploring the possibilities we will never realise the potential.

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A challenging week

Challenging practice is perhaps one of the most difficult things that a nurse has to do.  Seeing practice that is harmful or potentially harmful is not only upsetting but also can be very stressful.  Having found myself in a “challenging” situation this week I can testify that it makes you question yourself, your judgement and your motives in all sorts of ways.  Whilst I won’t go in to the in’s and out of my situation it’s suffice to say that I had concerns over some practice and raised them.  It wasn’t easy and took courage and thought .. however I am left reflecting on several things:

The NMC Code clearly states:

“You make sure that patient and public safety is protected. You work within the limits of your competence, exercising your professional ‘duty of candour’ and raising concerns immediately whenever you come across situations that put patients or public safety at risk. You take necessary action to deal with any concerns where appropriate.”

As nurses we must raise concerns immediately whenever we come across situations that put patients at risk and we must take necessary action …. It couldn’t be more easy to understand.  And yet I am not sure that everyone understands that nurses have this professional duty.  Most nurses I have met have an understanding of the code and where their responsibility lies – but the difficultly comes when we work with people who are not nurses.  Do they understand our code as we do? Do they even know what our code contains? Do they understand our professional responsibility? I think the answer to this is, sadly, sometimes no!

Which leaves me with a question …. How do we resolve this?

The fundamental problem is that often until we challenge and raise concerns we are unaware of how others will take this and what their understanding is.  My concerns and challenge to thinking this week was met with shock that anyone would dare to raise concerns and what appeared to be a lack of knowledge that this is what nurses have a duty to do! We have to be that voice that says “what about the safety of the people we care for” we have to stand firm and take the action needed to ensure the care of our patients remains at the heart of all decisions both clinical and financial, but until we actually do this we never know how it will be received.  I understand that it’s human nature that when someone challenges you it can be hard to listen, as it can seem like a criticism, and although we have to take this into account when we challenge, we must not let it confine us.  I think that there is some work to do here in educating others in our code and how it translates into practice and I think that we as nurses should use our code more to help and empower us to do the best by our patients.

Another reflection I have is that what happens when your challenge to practice or approach is taken negatively by the people you challenge? What do you do then? This is when you start to question your own judgement … it’s the “is it just me?” thought process.  This becomes even more difficult if you are challenging upwards, that is to say challenging managers or directors as you can be working against the system.  Raising concerns is not easy.

My last reflective thought is – oh wow its stressful!!! Lots of thoughts spinning through your head, was I right to say something? Am I making a fuss? Why don’t people understand a nurses responsibility? But would I do it differently next time? No I would not.  As someone very wise said to me this week “one day the person you challenged may be sat wishing that they has a nurse to challenge for them” We raise concerns because those in our care can’t – the people we challenge aren’t our primary concern … the people we care for are.

Even though my week has been awful, even though through raising concerns I have put my head well above the parapet I am proud to say that the needs of the people I care for come, and always will come, first.

The Climb !

What sort of music do you like ?

I’m not talking the music you put on when friends come over, or the sort of music you listen to with a loved one …. I’m talking about the music you listen to when no one else is listening ! What do you sing at the top of your voice to in the car ? What music to you listen to via your earphones ?

Me – I like really cheesy music ! I’m talking Wham, Take That and, yes, even Steps !!! (OK maybe not Steps!) I love running to really cheesy music, I love singing along in my car and I love zoning out with my ear phones to some utter cheese.  It was whilst running and listening to some of the aforementioned cheese and reflecting on a twitter conversation about success and failure that Joe McCeldry came on …. The Climb !! Not heard it ?? Here it is:

… no there really is no need to thank me !

It may very well be utter cheese tied up in a cheese string … however the message is fab … keep going, its the climb that matters, keep chasing the dream, keep on going.

When we have ours heads down and are working hard though I think we sometimes forget some essentials – we forget how important it is to have strong foundations, to gather support and to look around when we need inspiration to keep going.  We also forget to take a rest and to take time out to look after ourselves.  In addition to this it’s hard to remember that when we fall, or get things wrong … thats ok … this is sometimes when we learn the most.  It’s ok at these time to stop and reflect and maybe start again on a different path.  Picking ourselves back up can be hard but determination to keep going, keep putting the effort in and keep on climbing is paramount … as is the continued support of others.

And what happens when we get there ? Well in reality we keep on going and we head for the next mountain, the next challenge or even the next cheesy song ….but, my advice is to take time to enjoy the view. Look around, see how far you have come … take time to celebrate and smile.  And above all don’t forget to share your climb with others !

Who’d have thought cheesy music could lead to so much … and there’s more: here’s a rather dodgy load of stick men to illustrate my point ;D

the climb