Diabetes paraphernalia


IMG_3184This is an experiment inspired by the brave and lovely Charlotte (@bipolarblogger) but also to push myself to try new things.

Charlotte did a vlog to ‘show and tell’ all her medication for a week.  It was fascinating and helped me to understand.

So mine is a vlog to show you all the ‘stuff’ I use to manage my diabetes in a week. This is my personal list, everyone has their own approaches, favourites and tricks.  These are mine and mine alone.

Let me know what you think in the comments box :0)

PS I have learnt more than I needed/intended to know (ever) about video files, their size and how to compress them – #learningexperience

 

 

Exploring New Territories


It was a usual morning with an early start at 6 o’clock to get the train from Wakefield to London. It was all pretty much typical, Costa coffee in hand and sat waiting patiently, shivering, on the station platform, as I always arrive early. As is also usual, I’m filling in those pockets of time with my Twitter feed on my beloved iPhone and I notice that the HSJ were announcing their first ’Social Pioneers’. As I do, I flick it open and the first thing I notice is a lovely picture of the lovely Teresa Chinn. Then as I scrolled down, there I was: gobsmacked – me a ‘Social Pioneer’?

I am passionate about how information empowers. Information can bring independence and create changes and shift in social order. So bringing information to nurses can enable them to improve their practice, see things in new ways, revolutionise and encourage improvement as well as spotlighting where things might not be right. For citizens, information can drive real change, be disruptive in creating new paradigms of systems and behaviours; I think that ‘Patients Like Me’ is one of the best examples I can think of that shows this; have a look at this story to see what I mean:

Frustrated ALS Patients Concoct Their Own Drug’ The Wall Street Journal, April 15th 2012

This powerful very short TedTalk from Stanley McChystal is about how having the confidence to open up information can make significant differences to what happens and illustrates my point too.

 

‘Information is only of value if you give it to the people who can do something with it’ Stanley McChrystal 2014

‘Sharing is power’ Stanley McChystal 2014

So what has this got to do with me being a ‘Social Pioneer’?

In around 2010 I discovered social media. I’m naturally curious and experimental so, curiosity prompted, I wander into social media. Wandering is a good description – I had little knowledge beyond being a Facebook user, no skills and little insight = scary!

What I discovered was a space that I think has huge potential for nurses but also those people who have health needs – it has the power to transform some aspects of how we use information.

What I also discovered amongst the nursing community was a reticence, anxiety and resistance and sometimes all of these things are still present. It frustrates me sometimes that I sense a lack of professional confidence about using social media and experimenting with its potential amongst many nurses. I also discovered people who I now realise are social pioneers, people with long term conditions and experiences of the health system that I started to follow and watch – I was amazed.

I saw the huge untapped potential that I believe social media offers us. Yes, it breaks down boundaries and flattens hierarchies, but it also has the real potential to change the very nature of the power based relationship between systems and people. I also believe it still has untapped public health potential but it has to move beyond broadcasting to achieve the possible.

So in 2010 I decided that one of the things that was needed were some role models in nursing that showed what could be achieved and as no one else (other than a few notable exceptions like Teresa @agencynurse and a few other pioneers) were taking that on, I decided that I would. If I was to show the power of social media I needed to ‘show’ it, not just point at it; doing presentations about social media is one thing but living it is another. So my ambition was to be a good role model for nurses in social media. That’s when the real pioneer journey began. My delight on being identified as a social pioneer was partly to do with feeling that it was evidence that I had, at least partly, achieved some of what I had set out to do.

In my journey I also discovered a very eclectic diabetes community and I am proud to say that I have also been part of that, making I hope, a contribution based largely on my 35 years of living with type 1 diabetes but of course combined with my other skills and knowledge. I have written with another social pioneer – @parthakar (whom I have never met in real life but know that I will 🙂  )  about the use of social media in the professional interface between professionals and patients – this would never have happened without Twitter. Here it is:

‘A New Dawn: the Role of Social media in Diabetes Education’

pionee signpost

Famous signpost with directions to world landmarks in Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland, Oregon

That’s why the word ‘pioneer’ was the part that gave me the most satisfaction when I read the piece in the Nursing Times and Health Service Journal supplement. I was also cited alongside many people I greatly admire – each has made a unique and significant contribution. I was delighted that the write up picked up some of the very things I was trying so hard to do, rather than just my level of frenetic activity! That’s exactly what I set out to do, to start to chart the new territory of social media for patients and nurses and other people who are part of the big NHS and social care extended family and I hope I am a little part of an enduring story.

FlorenceI also came to realise that being called a ‘pioneer’ gave me great satisfaction for other reasons; I have always taken on roles in leading (and sometime ‘bleeding’) edge environments; complaints management in 1990 (listening to complaints then was not what it is now), NHS Direct, the National Programme for IT and informatics is still, in its own way, pioneering. There is also the point that nursing has a strong history of pioneers like Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale – fantastic role models.

So on Wednesday I celebrated with a very large piece of cake!

Anne Cooper – ‘Social Pioneer’ – who would have thought it! Now where is the next territory to explore?

So that’s enough about me (a very self-indulgent blog this week AnnieCoops!): A very big thank you to everyone who was kind enough to nominate me (you know who you are), the Nursing Times and Health Service Journal and the lovely judges: Jenni, Andrew, Shaun and Emma. But also I couldn’t be social without conversations and it is those people who increasingly have the confidence to share, debate, support and push conversations in social media that I need to thank. Your conversations, blogs, video blogs inspire me, help me to grow and learn, support me and enable me to see new futures – thank you.

Cake

 

 

The end of #Annies50th – friendships and making memories


Best friends at the seasideSome of you will know that I have another less popular blog site, where I wanted to write about my 50th year, having become the big 5-oh in April 2013.  You can see the blog here and some of you who are a certain age might like the play-list there too.  I know I made a big song and dance about getting to 50 but I sort of wanted it to be celebratory, rather than see in my 50th year with any sense of regret.

I decided to write my final #annies50th blog here because I’ve discovered on my social media journey that, for me, personal and professional can co-exist and that although some people might be irritated by my complex online persona of home, baking, chickens, diabetes, nursing and technology, and find me light-weight, many also tolerate me and some might even enjoy the diversity I bring.

So here it is – my final #annies50th blog.

Primroses on the cliff side - they are a flower that blooms during my birthday month and much remembered from my childhood

Primroses on the cliff side – they are a flower that blooms during my birthday month and much remembered from my childhood

During the year some of you will have noticed that I have regularly changed my Avatar, in fact those most observant will have watched the pictures present an aging Anne over the year.  It was a sort of mini twitter project.  I know it broke some of the rules around being recognisable but digging through all my old photos was so much fun 🙂 The last one was of me in my glorious hat, that I wore to a wedding in around 2012.  So my Avatar and photographs play a key part of my final celebration of being 50.

Many of you also know I did my nurse training in Scarborough and met my best friend there.  Here is a link to a blog where I tell exactly that story.

To celebrate my 51st birthday I went back to Scarborough with my friend and we had some photographs taken that represent my sense of our friendship and the place.  They are deliberately ‘retro’ in style in a vague attempt to recreate the early 1960’s look, when we were both born. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

???????????????????????????The photographs were taken by Jess Petrie who was an amazingly lucky find.  I wanted a female photographer who I thought would gently handle the middle-agedness of us and Jess did exactly that.  She likes to shoot with natural light and she is a wonderful calm, gentle photographer.  You can find out more about Jess here and her twitter name is @jesspetriephoto – I recommend her to you.

So here are some of the shots and I hope you will agree they present a fitting start to my 5th decade and mark our friendship and I now look forward to our 60th!  Self indulgent – I know – but friendships and making memories are so very important.

??????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????  ??????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Best friends at the seaside

The above photo is me on 14th April 2014, aged 51, and will remain my Twitter avatar for a while.

Go on, reach out and build your networks!


I’ve always liked to get to know people and stay connected. My Myers Briggs type is ENTJ and my most extreme preference is extroversion – I know I’m a sociable animal. When you have those preferences it’s easy to under play the value of networks, after all connecting, learning and sharing are second nature to me and it’s how I stretch myself too; making sure I have interesting conversations that make me think. It’s also good fun.Myers Briggs

But as leaders in a system where it feels more complex and harder to achieve what we need to do than ever before, networking to share ideas and co-create solutions must be part of the future. Relationships that bridge organisational boundaries and stretch us to acquire new perspectives and look at things in new ways must surely be part of our future?

Networking sometimes has a bad reputation. That funny look people give you when you say you are meeting someone for coffee, a sort of ‘nudge, nudge wink, wink’ and a ‘tapping on the side of the nose’ as if to say – ah you are off for a quick skive or you must be job hunting. That’s not how I see it and how it works for me. I see meeting people and getting to know them part of my knowledge network; it enables me to stop worrying about not knowing so much but knowing others who do, or who think differently, or have different experience to me. My brain sometimes feels full-up and not able to absorb more – I need to share brains through my networks. You know the old AA advert ‘But I know a man who can’. 

Networks are also brilliant for finding people to test my madcap ideas on – it sometimes takes someone to say to me – whoa! Hold that thought right there!

nurture

 

You need to nurture and grow your networks, they don’t just arrive, and once you have them they need loving care and attention.

 

 

Here are my top 10 tips for developing and growing your networks:

  • Always be genuinely interested in people and what they have to say
  • Find common ground and share what you know too – it’s not a one way street
  • Try to stay connected as much as you can – close connections need more of your energy than loose ones but both need your attention
  • Always try to give as much as you take – generous spirits tend to be good networkers
  • Only promise what you can deliver
  • Build trust and mutual respect and keep at it
  • Never, ever, ask for anything that you know is wrong, however good the relationship
  • Use social media to connect and share
  • Share your connections – you will extend your networks this way
  • Enjoy yourself and relax!

Leeds connected coffeeI recently had the very great pleasure of meeting Phil Jewitt @philjewitt from Leeds City Council as my NHS Change Day pledge for Leeds Connected Coffee. A great example of networking; we both come from very different professional backgrounds but we found much common ground and I feel sure I will be meeting Phil again  and I wouldn’t hesitate to ask his advice on local authority stuff! If we are to connect across systems it is the people who can do this, not sterile organisational structures – so go on, reach out and build your networks!

Finally have a look at this short RSA film about where good ideas come from and spot how networking might play a role here too 🙂 Its a good watch too!

 

What’s in a name?


I recently went to NHS EXPO and noticed something strange; nearly everyone who I networked with called me ‘Annie’. Now most of you all probably know me as Annie and if you were to meet me in real life you would perhaps call me Annie too, so why is this so strange?

cropped-img_16971.jpg

I joined Twitter in July 2012. I remember creating my account and wondering what I would call myself; I instinctively thought it needed to be memorable and reasonably short. I had an ex-boss who used to call me ‘Coops’ so I tried that first but – it’s a common name, Cooper – it had been taken, so as it turned out had AnneCoops. anneYou see my given name is Anne, no middle name, hard to shorten or abbreviate. Everyone who knows me in my family and most of my friends would never call me anything else (unless they were being rude; matron has been known). It was just a flash of, you might say, inspiration – and AnnieCoops was born.

Since then my life lived via social media has been a really fun experience. My career and working life before 2012 was fine but the opportunity to develop my networking skills has allowed me to create a new social ‘me’, I hadn’t really expected Annie to stick in the way that it has. As AnnieCoops I have met many many interesting and incredible people and I hope very much that it won’t stop here.

I never thought of myself as Annie, in fact my paternal Grandmother, who I was not particularly close to, was called Annie. I didn’t think I matched the name but somehow it’s taken a life of its own, so much so that at EXPO I heard my self say (I cringe) to Kate Granger (of all people) ‘Hello, I’m AnnieCoops!’ I have even bought the domain name anniecoops.com for my blog.

It’s become part of me and my persona. I don’t think it was ever a deliberate act but I have completely embraced AnnieCoops and now love being called Annie. It tells me quite often where I know you from and how long we have chatted! Life often creates strange and interesting twists and turns, and I hope AnnieCoops will stick for a long while yet!
annie

So, what’s your twitter name and what does it say about you?