Sunday, 1 May 2016

Tickled Pink over Bedbugs, Thoughts of the NMC and Creating a New Start in Salford

It seems colours will also feature again in this week’s blog posting (see last week’s post here). I was tickled pink (Ok, gratuitous I know) on reading the story about bedbugs having a preference for certain colours. They like the colour Black, (Red is their favourite colour however), and don’t appear to like the colours Yellow or Green. Female bedbugs preferred Lilac and Violet, whereas the male bedbugs preferred Red and Black.

The study results were published last week in the Journal of Entomology, although the UK newspapers had great fun in interpreting the results in creative ways. The Telegraph even managed to weave some Fifty Shades of Grey comments into its report of the story. Bedbugs can be really difficult to spot, although their presence can cause a number of allergic reactions, skin rashes and itchiness being the most common. They are not particularly attracted to dirt and can be found in the cleanest of rooms – However, I would recommend calling out a pest controller if you suspect you have an infestation.

Last Thursday I awoke to a White World. It was a Spring blizzard.  However as it was the right kind of snow and I was able to catch the train to London for the first meeting of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Future Graduate Registered Nurses Thought Leadership Group. I contributed to the early work of this group last year, and its a great privilege to be invited back to continue the work. The group has been formed to address the impact the changing nature of health and care delivery might have on the practice of registered nurses.

Working with a wide range of stakeholders the group aims to identify and agree the professional practice knowledge, skills, values and proficiencies a future nurse should be able to demonstrate at the point of registration. The group will also develop new outcome based standards of proficiency for future registered graduate nurses which are robust, resilient, dynamic and fit for purpose.

The challenge inherent in the project is one familiar to me. In 2000 I contributed to a research project for what was then the English National Board (ENB). It was a project aimed at identifying the educational preparation required for mental health nurses to best equip them to work in multi-professional, multi-agency services. It was an interesting project to be part of. The ENB almost didn’t publish the final report due to the contentious outcome of our analysis, an analysis that brought into focus the comfort and challenge of mental health nursing practice.

During the summer of 2006 some of the members of that project team came together again to write what I think was one of the best papers I have ever been part of. The paper looked at the changing nature of professional practice, and developed the notion of economies of performance and ecologies of practice and how these were acted out in teacher and nurse professions. I used some of the thoughts from the paper in a poster, which I framed and put on the wall of the nursing School at the University – and some 16 years after first writing them, I think they absolutely capture the challenges involved in the NMC project: The more diverse, plural and unpredictable professional work becomes, the greater will be the managerial pressure towards homogeneity, singularity and coercive specification; The more precisely you specify a professional performance, the easier it is to measure and the harder it is to motivate.  

There are other challenges for me this weekend. Later today I am off to Edinburgh to do some shopping. W, who is a Dyson Queen and a major collector of these appliances, has heard about the new Dyson hairdryer, a real bargain at only £299, apparently. It took 4 years to develop, and Dyson spent almost £50m, and used up 1010 miles of hair in testing it. What W doesn’t know is that it will only be available in the UK in June this year…

...finally, there was also another colourful reminder of my past last week. In March 2014 I shared the conference platform with Ruby Wax, a great advocate for mindfulness and a wonderfully warm person. We were both speakers at a mental health organised by START in Salford. 

Start is an arts based organisation that seeks to nurture the mental health and wellbeing in those who might feel isolated or excluded. It is a brilliant organisation and one I helped establish many, many years ago. I was back there on Wednesday evening, to experience a Board meeting prior to joining the Board in July – something I both pleased and proud to do, in fact I was once again tickled pink to be asked.