Sunday, 6 April 2014

#bedpansandbandages, Getting your 10 a day, and the Dangers of Dusting!

Last Friday saw the screening of the 8th and last episode of Student Nurses: Bedpans and Bandages. For the last 8 weeks the ITV programme has followed the often complicated and challenging lives of student nurses from our School as they have progressed through their nurse education and training. I have to say that Alistair, Graham, Kelsie, Abu, Danielle, Kelly, Helen and Joanne did the School and the nursing profession proud.

The programme was shown every Friday, between 2 episodes of Coronation Street. It achieved an average audience of 3 million viewers, with one episode reaching nearly 5 million. It’s estimated that some 25 million people watched the programme, a programme that placed the good work of the School, its academic staff, professional support staff, students and colleagues in practice on prime time TV. Have a look at #bedpansandbandages for the many comments posted on Twitter over the 8 weeks.

ITV approached a number of universities in England and only our university and Birmingham City University were selected. Many people have contributed to making the programme a success, but the real dynamo behind this achievement is undoubtedly my colleague Moira McLoughlin. Moira is our Student Experience Lead and reminds me on a very regular basis that we are committed to ensuring we are student centred in all our activities. She organised our response to the production team, ensured the students were supported throughout, liaised with our local hospitals, and didn't let any obstacle get in the way. Well done, and many thanks Moira!

In 1990, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended that we all ate 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity. However, despite the UK Department of Health spending huge sums of money on advertising its ‘5 a day’ campaign, only 30% of us have heeded this advice and changed our diets. Then in 2012, research undertaken at the University of Warwick suggested that we should increase our intake to 7 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. In children this is a diet that is said will help prevent depression in later life.

And it seems that 7 portions is not enough, last week research published by the University College London suggested that 10 portions is now considered to be the optimum number as the protective effect increases with every extra portion taken. Others have been here before, the French are told to eat 10 portions a day, the Canadians between 5 – 10 portions, and the Japanese, 13 portions of vegetables and 4 portions of fruit a day. I'm taking positive action in heeding this advice. I am now putting 2 olives in my pre-vegetarian dinner G&T instead of just the usual single slice of lime.


Here is my own health warning. One rainy morning last week, while on holiday in the House in Scotland I decided that the wooden beams in the living room needed dusting. It wasn't a task that I felt required a full risk assessment being undertaken. How wrong can you be? I had only been up the stepladders for a few minutes when I dislodged a lump of loose plaster. It hit my eye and caused much pain and dramatic bleeding. Thankfully, the pain is now just a gentle throb and I am left with a bloodshot eye. However, next time, I will don protective goggles, hard hat and high visibility jacket. Last day of the holidays today, back to work tomorrow, might wear a pirate’s patch...