Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Join the first Mindful Writing Day on the 1st of November

This Thursday the 1st of November is the first ever Mindful Writing Day, organised by Kaspa & Fiona at Writing Our Way Home.

To join in simply slow down, pay attention to one thing and write it down (making a small stone). Read all about it here.

small stones are easy to write, and they will help you connect to the world. Once you've started, you might not want to stop... You can read more about small stones and find out about Lorrie with pea-green eyes in Fiona's free ebook, Write Your Way Home.

If you visit Writing Our Way Home on Thursday you'll find out how to download your free kindle copy of the new anthology, 'A Blackbird Sings: a book of short poems'.

 You can also submit your small stone and see it published on the blog, and be entered into a competition to win one of five paperback copies of the book.

 There's a Facebook invite here if you'd like to invite your friends.




Monday, October 29, 2012

Autumn Mists

Went to York on Saturday for the quarterly meet of the HOT Lapidus group. It was great to see lovely friends and allies in the world of writing and well-being. We met up (eventually) at the Quilt Museum in York - a few misunderstandings (me not reading my instructions and navigation problems) meant I arrived a bit grumpy and out of sorts but after a latte and croissant I soon recovered. It was a bit of a revelation I have to say. We visited the Textile Musuem of Canada in Toronto and that was fabulous; this Museum is much smaller than the one in Canada but even so it had a wonderful exhibition of the work of Pauline Burbridge.  I love her latest work - wonderfully impressionistic and has a strong narrative I can relate to. Take a look at her website.

After lunch we were lead in a writing workshop at a fascinating building Jacob's Well.

We were all inspired by the words originating from our experience in the Museum.
Here is my poem

Thought Threads  

A riot of autumn colours flickered
just to the right of her eye line.

A strand of an idea had become
self-patterned in her mind.

A diamond infill hanging
there in precise splashes.

Zigzag or straight seamed,
look for the missing piece. 

It may not be quick
but one day it will make sense.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Please take a look

My wonderful friend and artistic collaborator, Mel Hopwood, as been experimenting with our Haiku boulders -please take a look - they are gorgeous!!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Some ideas

Have just finished teaching a module that encourages students to think about the skills and knowledge required for effective collaborative working. This has included considering the different types of knowledge that health and social care professionals use and value in their practice. In discussing this I could see that some of the students were beginning to appreciate some of the stuff I had been talking about - research and evidence based practice. Ben Goldacre and Trisha Greenhalgh had all been mentioned as champions of learning to analyse the published research and always be aware of just how much never gets to see the light of day.

I made connections whilst I was lecturing (reflection in action) about compassion, care, communication and how good nursing delivered by excellent nurses might be a combination of knowhow, know what and know why - the bricoleur with the patient at the centre. I am interested in the notion of practical wisdom and how nursing care impacts on how people feel about themselves. Made for quite an exciting moment and I want to share this insight. I just wish I could build up my stamina and write more and share it with an academic audience,

However I have realised that more people might read this blog than would read an academic paper and certainly more than would have read my PhD, if it had ever got written – few of them ever seen to get turned into books that sell.

I want to communicate my ideas and get feedback so this is start.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Worth a read

My friend Kate's blog - little gems - jewels of wisdom - I could go on!!


Thinking about what might have been

In 1995 I started a PhD - it was an innovative and original piece of research (nature of the beast I thought!!)  exploring people's experiences of their interactions with health care professionals (going to the clinic). I started the research when I was a diabetes specialist nurse - I had discovered Action Research, participatory approaches to research and the embryonic practice development literature in nursing and wanted to  change the way I worked with the people coming to the diabetes clinic. I had a hunch we could do it differently but I was not sure how it might look and I was also committed to the changes being informed by people with diabetes NOT ME.

Anyway --- I did not stay in diabetes care - I moved to Higher Education in 1996 and could no longer do the action research and had to change the purpose of the study. Instead of changing my practice it had to become a more theoretical study - not one I was that happy about BUT  I thought I might get practitioners to "buy in" to the findings at a later date.

I am not sure if I was just full of overzealous evangelism or stupidity but I did not ever find anyone to work with. As the years went by my commitment to the data and the findings withered as I became a mother and found little support from anyone around me in academia. So in 2004 the journey ended - no more PhD - the upside of that little excursion was discovering poetry BUT at the same time I am constantly reminded of what my informants told me and the impact going to the clinic had on their life.

I read this blog today and it all came flooding back. I had hoped to make a real difference to the way diabetes care was delivered but that didn't happen. Maybe social media can have greater impact!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Values and learning

At the end of a very mixed week I have been reflecting on two main issues.
Firstly about core values and how that manifests itself in nursing practice and how we conduct ourselves with other human beings. My daughter's school requires everyone to agree to their core values (contract) - students have the values on cards, pass cards and they are highly visible within the organisation and it is an explicit requirement that as parents we "buy in" to this ethos. I think it is wonderful and sharing it with a group of students this week they think it would be a great idea for nurses to have some means of reminding themselves about core values. It might also remind lecturers that they are required to behave and act towards each other in respectful and thoughtful ways!!!





Individualised care#

Person centredness etc

I might think about using it when I get a new group of students based on the work emerging from the Chief Nursing Officer – the 6c’s. http://www.commissioningboard.nhs.uk/files/2012/09/nurse-vision-visual.pdf

The other issue is about what works when ensuring our students learn. I find lectures really tricky - I enjoy the performance and sharing my knowledge and expertise BUT I am sick and tired of crowd control; having to ask people to stop talking amongst themselves. It seems to have become a habit for some groups of students and it becomes much worse towards the end of their time in University, just before practice placements - they are slightly bored and excited about being back out in practice but lots of anxieties as well. I try to engage then but the ripple of chat is very tricky to deal with. I have tweeted and chatted to discover new strategies that prevent me crying and losing my temper.

My friend advised me about her approach which is to sit down with the students - discomfort silences them!! On twitter I discovered a great resource from Clare Morris - I love learning new things and making connections.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Small Stones

I make no apology for promoting Fiona Robyn's Small Stones. I am in their new collection, A Blackbird Sings and writing small stones is good for you!!

Sign up for this:-

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Room of My Own

I have a problem (not a huge one) but one that bothers me. I have a room of my own - but I find it oppressive and energy sapping. What is it about the space?
Is it too crowded? Do I expect too much? What is going on? When I walk into the room, my heart sinks - I should have it tidier; is there too much "stuff"?
Not sure what the problem is but it is very frustrating. other folk would love a room to escape to - this is not new by the way it has been part of my dilemma for years. Since I grew up in 1990 and had my own flat I have always had a spare space to have for writing and studying but instead of it being liberating it has been a bit of a burden.
Anyone help with this?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Student Nurse Blog

Just wanted to draw your attention to this blog - great insights and encouraging for the future of the profession


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Business Ideas

I want to have the courage to start my own business - running workshops, helping health and social care practitioners (supervision and coaching) and being a development consultant .

Have been thinking about names for my business -

The Crafty Spark -

The Artisan Bard

Two to play with for a while.

National Poetry Day

This year I spent National Poetry Day "doing" poetry. In the morning I spent a simply marvellous hour and a half prescribing poems for people. Whether they were stressed, lovelorn or lonely I had the privilege of listening, paying attention and finding a poem that spoke to them. It was a wonderful experience and my last 8 years of getting to know poetry provided me with the material to respond. I read the poem out to them and then folded it carefully into a beautiful small folder - a real gift - I loved it!!


In the afternoon I facilitated poetry making for people with aphasia - an acquired communication disorder, usually after a stroke. We had fun, explored language and had a wonderful time.

I look forward to more days like this!!

At the Lit and Phil, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Monday, October 1, 2012


As I am of a certain age I went along for my first breast screening appointment today.

There is nothing to complain about BUT it was so efficient and impersonal. Not a flicker of recognition that I might be nervous - no use of first name - in and out in 5 minutes - champion - on to the next one..

I had a similar experience at a Breast clinic a few years ago - after I found what I thought was a lump my GP sighed and referred me. A tortuous Saturday morning was spent going from ultrasound to mammogram - ruthlessly efficient but no reassurance. I couldn’t help think about the women there who did have cancer, the possibility of life changing surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy – was all the care and compassion saved up for them?

I know at last 5 women who have gone though some degree of treatment for breast cancer over the last year. All are exhausted from their experience and not one of them will be the same again - survival might be the goal for the Health system but there is a lot more to personal integrity/identity, well-being and flourishing that the absence of diseased cells.

Think on you out there - please address emotions and psychological well-being. Maybe you don’t know how to but you should learn.
A little bit of chit chat would help - a little recognition of me as a person - why can't it happen?