Sunday, 12 April 2015

Four days filled with inspirational people: and living a life less ordinary

For a week that was only 4 working days long, I ended up feeling exhausted by the Friday afternoon. The Easter break seemed a long time ago. However, up until yesterday morning the weather has been absolutely gorgeous. I went down to London on Thursday to attend the Transforming Nursing for Community and Primary Care (TNCPC) Steering Group meeting. Travelling down it was clear that Spring had well and truly arrived. The sunshine was welcome, illuminating and warming. I felt very inspired. But it wasn't just the weather that inspired me. It was people this week who really inspired me.

I feel privileged to be part of the TNCPC group and being able to contribute to the development of the way nurses in the future will be able to work in providing care closer to peoples home. And it’s an illustrious group. Professor John Clarke, the coolest Director of Education and Quality Health Education England has (sorry Ged…) - he is joint Chair of the steering group, alongside Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Director of Nursing. They were joined amongst others, by the inspirational pairing of Karen Storey, and Anne Moger (Primary Care Nurse HEWM, and Practice Nurse Advisor NHS England). And then there was the irrepressible and inspirational David Sines (former Pro Vice Chancellor at Buckinghamshire New University, and now Professor of Community Nursing).

During the meeting we also got to hear of the work being undertaken around Physician Associates – an emergent new member of the health care workforce that I have been fiercely critical of. I heard a more balanced account of what they might do. And I don’t mind admitting that my mind is now more open to this initiative than it ever has been. Which will please my colleague Umesh – Dr Umesh Prabhu is the brilliantly and absolutely inspirational Medical Director at the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Trust. WWL is the winner of 3 Health Service Journal 2014 awards including the elusive award of Provider Trust of the Year. Umesh is an advocate of the Physician Associate programme.

Umesh is also a member of the WWL Quality and Safety Committee, a committee I chair as a Non-Executive at the Trust. In fact last Wednesday was my first official meeting as Chair.  I was following the very accomplished Louise Barnes, who for many years has successfully steered WWLs work in improving the quality and safety of the care provides. Not only were they big shoes to fill, Louise’s shoes were always inspirationally elegant! Many thanks Louise for showing me a path worth treading.

And sadly last Tuesday I heard the news that Maureen Deacon had died that morning. Maureen was a mental health nurse at the same time as me, but in a different part of the UK. We worked together at Manchester Metropolitan University for 10 years. Along with my colleague Professor Eileen Fairhurst, I was Maureen’s PhD supervisor. She produced a fascinating and refreshingly challenging thesis. Her ethnomethodological approach looked at the work of mental health nurses working in an acute setting. Her ability to make the ordinary extraordinary was brilliant.


In 2010 she moved to the University of Chester as a Professor in mental health. Her work in exploring the relationship between mental health nurses, their practice and education and how this related to mental health care was her passion. There are many of us in the mental health nursing world, academic and practice that will really miss Maureen’s intellect, her challenge, her smile, and warmth and the way she made everyone she met feel very special. She really did live a life less ordinary and was an inspirational in the way she created space for a fuller life by wasting no time on a unimportant things