Sunday, 11 October 2009

Willie Nelson and Rod Stewart come together for the nurse genome project: Ob-la di, Ob-la-da – life goes on

Yesterday was the last day of the first Cochrane Nursing Care Network. The day started with a inspirational presentation from Alison Kitson, who now works at the University of Adelaide, although, of course she has a strong track record of innovative work in nurse education in the UK. What made her presentation interesting for me was that it was an update on where the International Learning Collaborative had got to; looking at what we understand the fundamentals of nursing to be. This is not new work, nor is it innovative. In the UK, the essential skills cluster initiative was aimed at ensuring the fundamentals of nursing were embedded into the curriculum, and similar initiatives can be found in the US, Australia and beyond. The collaborative were modeling themselves on the Human Genome project approach where scientists from all over the world worked collaboratively at trying to understand and unravel the big questions of human life. The collaborative are adopting a systematic review approach, the first stage of which was a meta-narrative analysis of what key texts (from Florence Nightingale onwards) to see what key terms were evident. This stage of the work had thrown up a number of terms that has then been tested out in data bases such a Medline and CINAHL to see what published studies would be highlighted. Intriguingly, there were many differences in the way these fundamental terms (elimination, activities of daily living, safety, communication and so on) were used in nursing theoretical and research based papers. Whilst this is very much work in progress, it was a fascinating update. The rest of the day was spent in workshops looking at how nurses could become more involved in the CNCN project. There were some easy wins to consider, particularly as some of these could fit into our preparation for the 2013 REF.

In the evening I went to eat at one of the many riverside restaurants and bars that have live music. I joined a table with a wonderful Singaporean family, who thought I was Willie Nelson, despite my protests to the contrary. We agreed a kind of truce, I think I admitted I may have once owned a Willie Nelson LP, and we got on and enjoyed a Beatles celebration night. The live band were very good, the music extremely familiar and in the end, we were all singing along – which was a sound to behold. The father of the family group was an expert on the Beatles and got all the pop quiz answers right, although he was equally impressed that I knew Alex Ferguson (he stated his allegiance to Manchester United rather than Liverpool!). It was a little difficult really to have a straightforward conversation as outside of the Beatles lyrics no ones English was easy to understand. The taxi driver on the way home was convinced I was Rod Stewart – something to do with the hair – couldn’t see it myself.

Anyway, tomorrow is a day off, and then it back to the mountain of emails, and a long return journey home to Manchester and the start of what promises to be a busy few days of work – as Paul, Ringo, John and George might have said Ob-la di, Ob-la-da – life goes on!