This has definitely been the highlight of my working year so far. The talks although predominantly adult and elderly care based and not my current field of work/study; were refreshing in their approach to the simplistic and humane aspect of care, that can be so often overlooked in the current age of ever growing bureaucracy and administration that is required in the nursing profession.
Many of the ideas for care are transferable to the population of children and families worked with in Health Visiting. The “playlist for life”, so grounding for the people with dementia and valuable for their carers, to capture precious time and memories together; made me think of the benefits of music for children with autism and the soothing distraction it can bring to help a child receive a vaccination. The benefits of such simple and enjoyable pleasures that are solutions or antidotes to some of the challenges of our world today are many. Increasing the amount of water/fluids drunk to counteract urine infections is just as relevant for the child with toileting issues. To remember the basic activities of living and their value to health and well-being, to me is intrinsic to nursing
The workshops offered opportunity to share ideas and challenges, on a personal level I found it sad but comforting that nursing colleagues had felt they had to leave the NHS to be able to make a change in people’s lives. To meet others who had battled the frustrations and felt strongly enough about care to take risks in order to make change was inspiring. It was noticeable that we are never happy though, colleagues complained about agile working and having laptops; whereas in other areas people would relish the flexibility of a tablet or laptop.
Hilda Campbell and the “Cope” project in Drumchapel highlighted the inequalities agenda and the again simple and humane act of listening as a prescription to change lives. I contemplated how difficult this had become in our work environment, with conflicting priorities, time management audits and our often difficult personal cultural work circumstances, which had been the topic of the opening talk by Professor Brendon McCormack on person-centeredness. Would workplace culture ever change for the better or was it as inevitable as human nature? I am glad I can remember times and places in my working life that were positive and flourished with good team working and innovation.
Rhona Hotchkiss rounded off the day on a high note, with a really uplifting look at nursing in the prison service and the difference the humane can make to the present and future lives of those serving time. She has made sure that the time served is not time wasted and that they have a vision, a trade and a route to integration and belonging so needed for the world they will come back to. Her talk was truly inspiring and made me think about the value of vision, imagination and hope.
She urged us to be BRAVE, BORING and BONKERS…… Sounds about right to me.