2015 has been a strange year; at home my other half stopped working, probably for the last time (but never say never is our mantra), meaning that I am the only person at home working! We lost my beloved Henry, our old Ginger boy cat that we had nursed for 3 years through chronic renal failure. I moved back from my secondment at NHS England to the Health and Social Care Information Centre. Of course these are just some of the things that have happened!
It’s been a strange year of transition and loss but in the tradition of looking back and forwards here are some jewelled highlights:
PDDigital unconference and awards
This was definitely a highlight of the year for me. Working with a great group of people, led by the inspirational and stellar Victoria Betton, we put on what felt like a very different type of conference. We were determined to do a different type of event, more open and inclusive, less talking from a mainstage and accessible for attendees from a cost perpective. Our collaborators, all worthy of mention (and some I am still slightly star stuck by) were Mark Brown (@markoneinfour), Michael Seres (@mjseres) Catherine Howe (@curiousc). I think we set out what we wanted to achieve, a new way of including people, not the big, glossy event but one that people enjoyed and felt able to participate in vs being talked at.
The output of the day is here and worth a review:
Flushed with the success of the conference we went on to host the unawards a few months later. Stressful and challenging we managed to deliver the events with no cost to anyone at the event but where there was much networking and meeting of minds, connections and chat. The innovations we unearthed are all pretty incredible and the award winner’s worthy.
You can see a summary of what happened here:
Back in the spring I blogged about having Diabetes and being menopausal. It set off a chain of events that led to brilliant connections with a fantastic group of women. This led to change day connections and some of these publications on Evidently Cochrane. These women are like a force of nature and I love them. I know that we will all meet properly one day :) Thanks all of you: @drhannahshort @northnatasha @junegirvin @gussiegrips and especially @sarahchpaman30 who tirelessly pulled the blog together. Its a shame we never made Woman’s Hour but there you go!
The Academy of Fabulous NHS Stuff
[Click the link and look it up if you don’t know it!!]
On a similar vein (I would like to think they adopted some of the things they saw at PDDAwards) attending the Academy of Fab NHS Stuff awards was pretty amazing and a highlight of the end of the year. I have never been to an event like this. It was really fabulous but was truly celebratory of many great NHS ideas and solutions. The awards were given based on public voting. I found myself sat on the same table as the fabulous 5 Boroughs Partnership street triage team who won the 5127 Award. If you haven’t read about the awards you should, they are quirky and fun. The 5127 award for example is to recognise:
‘Absolutely committed. Fiercely determined. Brim-full of self-belief. Refusing to compromise. Dedicated to perfection. The winner of the 5127 award will have demonstrated all of these attributes. 5127 refers to the number of prototypes that Sir James Dyson developed before finally marketing his first Dyson ‘Cyclone’ vacuum cleaner.’
A worthy winning team who were given a toy Dyson Vacuum cleaner as the award. It all made me smile a lot and again made me think about how we ‘do’ awards. They are in the picture with me above.
Thank you Roy Lilley (@roylilley), Terri Porritt (@gbtpo) and John for not only showing us the way but also inviting me to be there to witness it.
On being a Fellow of the Queens Nursing Institute
Professor Viv Bennett (CBE) and me at the awards
In October I received an email from the inspirational (do you see a pattern here – a few inspirational women have crossed my path this year) – Crystal Oldman, CEO at the QNI I was invited to become a Fellow at the QNI. It’s hard to explain why this meant so much to me but here goes:
Back in the olden days when I was a student nurse we did community placements and I remember wanting to be a community nurse. I can still remember nursing the lady in Scarborough, at home, with her family, in their tiny house, where I realised this was how it should be. I remember going to the house to turn her every day of my placement. I attended her funeral when she died.
Somehow life got in the way of this nursing being my destiny. I think then, as now quite often, community nursing was not seen as a career for an ambitious young nurse and I was definitely one of those. I don’t regret my subsequent choices – I enjoyed being an acute nurse – but I do wonder what could have been different.
Now in 2015/16, especially having visited Buurtzorg in the Netherlands too, I strongly believe that nursing needs to invest its efforts more in community nursing as the way forward. It should be seen (and I hope increasingly is) as a brilliant career choice where we can help to change lives for the better especially in older age.
I am very very proud to be a Fellow of the QNI and I hope to make myself as helpful to this relatively small charity who in my opinion bat well above their weight (in a really good way).
Working in social media
Earlier in the year I was lucky to be able to work with the NHS IQ team to produce a short video about using social media. It was a personal challenge that had been set by Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth) when I visited him in Plymouth the year before. Although Steve’s challenge was to do a series of interviews I decided that using another media for sharing was what I wanted to do and thanks to Helen Bevan (@helenbevan) this became a reality in 2015.
You can see the video here:
I was also very proud more recently to be ‘in-print’ with Alison Inglehearn (@mrsgracepoole) – she is another incredible lady. I wanted to publish something that went beyond the social media rah-rah and gave a more honest view of some of the risks of working here. Here is the result with grateful thanks to The Journal of Research in Nursing and in particular Elaine Maxwell (@maxwelle) for believing in us!
I also attended the Diabetes UK conference this year as a patient and spoke about using social media. Speaking there has been an ambition of mine for a long while and it was great fun alongside Alex Silverstein (@alexYLDiabetes), Partha Kar (@Pathakar) Roz Davies (@rozdavies) and Laura Cleverly (@ninjabetic1) – you guys rock :0)
The prezi we used is here
I have continued blogging this year too with 17K views of my sporadic blog. I know that’s not many for some people but I still think it’s pretty awesome!
The arrival of #RoryCat
Losing Henry, the family cat was a blow, even though I had known he was unwell for such a long time but at the end of March it was time to let him go. He was a great friend and a brilliant member of our family. I didn’t think that the hole he left could be filled and in truth it can’t. But in September I decided that we were a family that should have a cat and as a result of contact with my fab vet we were linked to a local cat rescue, a small and amazing tiny charity who do great work especially with feral cats.
Rory has arrived and is a blessing. Zag is shortly to arrive too. We are #catstaff once again at the Coopers!
I’m planning some changes in 2016. I can’t yet say what they are as they feel fragile still but I’m getting more and more confident as the weeks go by. I’m aiming for radical change and trying hard to demonstrate that I do as I do, not just as I say.
Wishing you all a happy, health and successful 2016. My only resolution is to laugh and smile more – I wish that for you too.
Zag due to arrived the week commencing 4th January 2016