Sunday, 31 January 2010

Cardiff, Emma, Cars, Chickens and Does MH really read this blog?

There has been a slight delay in getting this week’s blog out. An inch of snow overnight required clearing off the drive before it was driven on and compacted to ice, making the drive un-passable again! Anyway, last Monday afternoon saw me on a two carriage train trundling its way to Cardiff. The train driver took great pride in stopping at every train station between Manchester and Cardiff. It was a long journey. But a worthwhile one. I was on my way to the Council of Deans of Health. This is a organization that grew out of a group Head of School and Deans of Nursing coming together to provide a concerted and considered voice of reason in order to challenge the many governmental polices and plans that threatened to slow the progress of the professionalisation of nurses. These days the Council of Deans is a broader church, and now represents many health care professions – except, of course, our colleagues in medicine. All four countries of the UK are represented. This is a group whose influence extends not just to the UK Government, but to health care systems world wide. The collective ability to deconstruct and critically analyse health care policy is incredible. However, nurses and midwives have a long tradition of being able to shape the course of health care practice. This week two midwives working both in clinical practice and in our School received a prestigious award from the Department of Health for their work in developing further the skills of midwives. Their success was underpinned by a research based approach and is a great example of how research can have a long lasting impact upon the experiences of others. This achievement clearly reflects the contributions to health care made by nurses and midwives down the ages. I came across a brilliant web site this week that captured the contributions of Walt Whitman, one of the all time great contributors to nursing - http://www.whitmanarchive.org/ - have a look and remind yourself that actually the biggest differences to the quality of life of others sometimes come from the smallest acts. And small acts repeated over and over again.

This week I also sat in awe of a young lady courageous enough to tell the story of how she had experienced her mental health problems over the last eight years. She was 19 years old. Throughout al this time it was her GP who had provided the time, presence and therapeutic relationship to enable this young lady to move forward and recover from her problems. What she described in her account was receiving a form of talking therapy that was about her GP always being there for her, (providing the unconditional positive approach that is usually a characteristic of nurses and midwives relationships with their patients). Over all the years she was troubled, this GP was her constant rock. It was both a humbling and exhilarating experience.

Friday saw me picking up my new car, black and sleek. Enough said.

Saturday morning was given over to Jason. He is a ace photographer and a real artist. He has previously taken photos of colleagues that have been truly amazing. With me it was slightly different. He maintained an almost constant refrain of 'look happier, even more than that', dominated the couple of hours shooting! Some 150 photo shots later he drove away leaving me wondering what images he was going to send in for use. A clue is that they all included chickens.

On the other hand, our VC appeared to know what shots I was using. At a professoriate dinner with the VC and a dozen other professors this week, Martin Hall, observed that I had taken a photo of that picture’ and he understood it now appeared on my blog. So if you do read this weekly offering Martin, just for the record, I think you are doing a great job.

It is a increasingly turbulent world at present. I am very aware of the huge efforts being made by all my colleagues in the School under what by any measure are very difficult circumstances.

Just for the record, I want to say thank you, I think you are all doing a great job too.