Sunday, 21 March 2010

Reg 8.8.2 is Outnumbered by a Dad running backwards dressed as a Chicken

What a great end to the week last Friday turned out to be. Not only was I able to participate in a wonderful School Development Day, but it was the start of Sports Relief Weekend, more of which later.

First of all, I want to say well done to everyone who presented and provided such thought provoking ideas and possibilities at our School Development Day. For those readers outside of the School, we have these days four times a year. The everyday life of the School is suspended so all staff can attend and participate. It is an opportunity to grow our awareness of issues impacting on our performance and plans. I tend to start the day with a personal analysis of our external operating environment and the options we might consider in responding to the issues identified. Tim and Mrs J provided a superb guide through the complexities of Reg 8.8.2. – a hugely complicated change to the regulations which can result in students not being able to complete their studies if they fail to submit work as required. Martin, Ann and David provided much food for thought with their presentation on End of Life Care. I was very interested by the way that colleagues ran with this idea and immediately expanded a somewhat one dimensional view into something the School could embrace in so many ways. The end of a life can occur at any stage on the life cycle, not just in old age, and the point was well made by colleagues. I think the work could provide us with a much larger are to embrace with the Schools research and teaching and learning than perhaps was presented. I believe that it’s the kind of thinking we engaged in on Friday that will help us move from the confines of silo thinking into a more productive place, a new nursing research zeitgeist.

Interestingly, I find trying to understand what the spirit of the time might be is both entirely confusing and yet sadly predictable – something’s appear to have a transcendental quality. For example, having got held up in my home town of Bolton yesterday, by what appeared to be a huge mass protest of some sorts, I came home and Googled.

It seems that the Police have battled with thousands of demonstrators during a day of protest and clashes between the English Defence League and Unite Against Fascism in Bolton’s Town Hall Square. Some 4000 people from both sides took part. 67 people were arrested during the day of protest.

It is not my desire to comment on the political motives that might lie at the heart of such protests. However, the second web site I looked at in trying to and find out some information was sponsored by a dating company that specialised in arranging meetings for people who work in public sector services. The main advertisement featured Michael and Bethany:

Michael, Fire Fighter – Fights fires, rescues children from burning buildings, and makes a killer macaroni cheese – Bethany, Nurse - Saves lives and brings breakfast in bed

So it seems some things will always be a feature in society’s zeitgeist. This was a point well made by Ruth, our final and a very engaging presenter at the School Development Day, She guided us through the difficulties of promoting a fair and inclusive approach to Fitness to Practice processes for our students. Ruth reminded us of the difficulties we have in ensuring that our students understand that becoming and being a professional is a 24/7 responsibility. This is something I am acutely aware of in writing this blog every week. Balancing the personal with the professional is a task fraught with difficulties. For example, I am not entirely sure about wisdom of the current the article about my predilection for chickens that features in the latest US magazine.

This inevitably for me prompts my writing to return to the wonderful night of TV that was the Sports Relief coverage on Friday evening. My favorite item has to be Outnumbered! I have long been a fan of this excellently observed sit com. Anyone who has children will be able to identify with the story lines – the kids are just wonderful. For me the best line of the night was the conversation over what the family can do to support Sports Relief. They decide on running the Sports Relief Mile, Dad agrees only to find out the kids have booked him to run his mile backwards, and wearing a Chicken outfit. Good luck to all of you running the mile today.

Finally, most of you will know I am the least competitive person in the world. But I did get slight sense of satisfaction last Monday on entering the School of Nursing at University of Manchester. They were currently running at a NSS completion rate of 39% - our completion rate was 64%. Likewise, on Monday, this blog  received twice as many comments as the VC’s – thanks and keep the comments flowing.