Did you watch Frankie…

…last night on the box. It’s a new drama about a Community Nurse struggling to have a good work life balance with work being given the priority over her relationships. It was all a bit too close to home. When I think how many extra hours I have given to the NHS never mind money I have spent from my own pocket to buy biscuits, lunches etc for work meetings and training. I feel guilty that this was taking something away from my own family. Having said that if asked if I would do it again, I would find it difficult to say no. I think it’s so important to act as a good role model as a single person or whole organisation and that means caring for each other first. If staff don’t feel as if they have been treated well and fairly by the trust they work for its not a good start and doesn’t make us stand out as a caring organisation. Human resources have a very important part to play in the care of patients even though they may never have direct contact with them. This must start with the staff working in Human resources feeling valued and cared for.

If and when I return to work I would love to work more closely with staff to ensure that they feel supported by their organisation and that they are working as part of a big team to provide excellent community care at all times. There should be zero tolerence to bullying in the workplace and staff should feel comfortable to whistle blow if they witness any unsafe or unsatisfactory practice. All NHS Trusts must act in a way that the general public and the staff within those organisations feel they can be trusted and proud of the care delivered. I have always felt very proud of Step2 and would hope that all the staff in our service feel cared for and supported in the excellent care they deliver.

I am not sure who nominated me for Role Model of the year but sadly the tickets have all run out so if you were hoping to come along on the night you might need to go on a waiting list for tickets now. I am also not sure I deserve such a title but I know I did put out a plea through my blog to nominate me if you thought I deserved such an honour. All these ideas seem great at the time but now I feel a little embarrassed and anxious about the night. At least I may get a chance to highlight the importance of good mental and emotional health, I may even be able to put in a plug for our own service although I know we are currently drowning in referrals and the waiting list is growing.

Why are so many more children and families turning to a mental health service for support? I wonder what your thoughts are?

I shall leave that one for you to ponder on but do write and let me know if you think you have the answer.

Deborah x

Book Proposal

I thought today I would share a book proposal I put together in 2004 (I can’t believe it was that long ago), the idea was to send it off to a publisher. If I decide to finish this book I would bypass a publisher and just self publish. One of my best friends has done just that and is earning nearly £100 every month. OK thats not enough to pay the mortgage but it’s a start.

I would be grateful for your thoughts, please be honest as I have other book ideas and don’t want to waste my time on this one if you don’t think it’s worth it.

So hear goes:

Welcome to the Meday Concept

An inspirational guide to taking control of time that will change you’re life forever.

Written for all those busy people who think they haven’t the time to read it!

Because….Smart People do Lunch!

What is ‘Welcome to the Meday Concept’ all about?

‘Welcome to the Meday Concept’ is a self help guide to improving emotional wellbeing. The term Meday is being used to illustrate a moment in time taken for oneself. This book is for anyone struggling to balance the demands of the workplace, school or family life or for those who just want to step off the treadmill and claim back some time for themselves.
The concept is accessible to anyone regardless of age, culture, religion, or gender. Very soon the idea will become common practice and people all over the world will be taking a Meday. Employers will encourage staff to take a Meday as they start to recognise its contribution to increased productivity and its ability to reduce stress. Single parents to busy executives, children to grandparents will soon be talking about their own unique Meday experiences.

This book will discuss the importance of the Meday and how it guarantees to change your life. Packed with invaluable advice, checklists and action plans it will provide a simple easy-to-understand guide on how to achieve the perfect Meday.
Taking small steps and periods of time out from a busy schedule will allow individuals to revaluate their strengths, and put some balance back into their lives.

The concept uses a solution-focused brief therapy approach by focusing on solutions rather than investigating problems.
It can be used by the reader alone or with the help of a therapist either way; by investing time in ones emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing the improvement in quality of life can be unbelievable.

Who will buy this book and why?

This book is aimed at anyone interested in improving their emotional well being. Self help books have become increasingly popular over the past few years. The strongest target group most likely to buy this book will be women who want to make sense of their lives and slow down. It will also be of interest to professionals who want to explore its concepts in order to increase productivity in the work place and therapists who want to use its ideas in their own work.

This book is just the beginning and will be followed by more books on the subject such as; ‘365 Meday Ideas’, ‘Celebratory Meday’s’, and ‘How the Meday concept changed my life around’. There will be a range of Meday products and services for sale. The Meday concept is revolutionary and will change lives forever.

The Meday Concept will be talked about on morning TV and late night shows. The author will travel the world giving conferences for business professionals to women’s institutes.
I have no doubt that this books willing formula will make it a best seller with many by-products, making its author and publisher a household name and a tidy sum of money.

Contents

Chapter 1 – Introduction
Explanation of the Meday Concept
Why we need it? – Research into effects of stress on physical and mental health.
Benefits of following the Meday program
How it will work
Who this book is for – Check list with tick boxes

Chapter Two – Why taking time for yourself has never been so important
Living in today’s busy world
Juggling time
Pressures and its effects both long and short term

Chapter Three – What is a Meday and how it can help change your life
Taking time for ones self
Lunch breaks
Weekends
Annual Leave

Chapter Four – Recognising the signs/When to take a Meday
Symptoms of stress

Chapter Five – How to plan the perfect Meday
The importance of planning
Ideas for the perfect Meday
Charts to help you successfully plan your time

Chapter Six – How to help others achieve their perfect Meday
Using the concept in a therapy setting

Chapter Seven – Noticing the changes within yourself
Recognising the differences you’ve made to yourself and the effects on those around you
Sharing the secret

Chapter Eight – Lie back and enjoy the sunshine
Recap
Reflection
Evaluation

So there you have it, I have written quite a bit already but will need to hunt it out because all I could find so far was the above book proposal I put together.

Happy Tuesday another day we need to wrap up warm unfortunately.

Deborah x

Today is …

..NHS Change Day, and I am feeling good.

I am proud to be a nurse.

Today I pledge to continue to honour my profession and use my skills and passion to improve the mental health and emotional well being of all I come in contact with.

I pledge to support my organisation in improving the mental health of our staff in order for them to act as good role models, feel comfortable to talk to patients about mental health and in turn improve the general health of our community.

Hertfordshire Community Health Service can feel proud of its staff who really want to make a difference to the health of their community.

As a patient I pledge to talk to the staff, who are treating me for myeloma, about my mental health and emotional well being. I shall demonstrate it is good to talk about mental health and the difference it can in turn make to physical health.

Today I appreciate all that life has given me and YES that does include Cancer. I thank the cancer cells for the challenge to become stronger and the opportunities that have been presented to me since the diagnosis. I thank it for teaching me how better to live in the moment, for inspiring me to write the blog, for the wonderful people I have met on my journey and for opening my eyes and ears to all that is good in the world.

I appreciate life and thank God,The Universe ( including the Parellel one!) science, human kind, evolution, dinosaurs, consciousness and whatever made , brought about, contributed to life today.

Being emotionally and mentally healthy doesn’t mean never going through bad times or experiencing emotional problems. We all go through disappointments, loss, and change. And while these are normal parts of life, they can still cause sadness, anxiety, and stress.

The difference is that people with good emotional health have an ability to bounce back from adversity, trauma, and stress. People who are emotionally and mentally healthy have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. They remain focused, flexible, and creative in bad times as well as good.

So who wouldn’t want to help others to feel emotionally healthy, what a privileged position I am in.

In order to maintain and strengthen your mental and emotional health, it’s important to pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Don’t let stress and negative emotions build up.

Try to maintain a balance between your daily responsibilities and the things you enjoy. If you take care of yourself, you’ll be better prepared to deal with challenges if and when they arise. Remember the blog about the importance of looking after yourself.

Here are a few tips for improving your mental health today:

  • Do something today that has a positive impact on someone else. (I am sure you all do this everyday anyway , just become more aware of it). Being useful to others and being valued for what you do can help build self-esteem.
  • Practice self-discipline. Self-control naturally leads to a sense of hopefulness and can help you overcome despair, helplessness, and other negative thoughts.
  • Learn or discover something new today. Think of it as “exercise for the brain”.
  • Enjoy the beauty of nature or art. Studies show that simply walking through a garden can lower blood pressure and reduce stress. Physical exercise releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that energize us and lift our mood.
  • Manage your stress levels. Stress takes a heavy toll on mental and emotional health, so it’s important to keep it under control. While not all stressors can be avoided, stress management strategies can help you bring things back into balance.
  • Limit unhealthy mental habits like worrying. Try to avoid becoming absorbed by repetitive mental habits – negative thoughts about yourself and the world that suck up time, drain your energy, and trigger feelings of anxiety, fear, and depression.
  • Appeal to your senses. Stay calm and energized by appealing to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Listen to music that lifts your mood, place flowers where you will see and smell them, massage your hands and feet, or sip a warm drink.
  • Make time for contemplation and appreciation. Think about the things you’re grateful for. Meditate, pray, or simply take a moment to pay attention to what is good, positive, and beautiful as you go about your day.

As we know, everyone is different; not all things will be equally beneficial to all people.

Some people feel better relaxing and slowing down while others need more activity and more excitement or stimulation to feel good.

The important thing is to find activities that you enjoy and that give yourself a boost today you never know you might fancy doing it all again tomorrow!

I will get back on track tomorrow about ….which therapy, I just wanted to honour and share in the NHS Change Day today.

If you are a health professional or patient please make a pledge today by visiting:

http://www.changemodel.nhs.uk/pg/groups/33183/NHS+Change+Day/?community=NHS+Change+Day

A Special Request…

I would really appreciate it if you could share your pledge with me through your comments on this blog – Come on i know a lot of you read the blog now it’s your turn – Thank you

Scores on the board:

Physical health = 5.5 ( the leg pain is improving or at least kept at bay with the pain killers)

Mental Health = 2 It feels good to have my positive mentally healthy head back on!

The Oxford Dictionary definition of courage is…

…the attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, or painful, instead of withdrawing from it; quality of being fearless or brave.

I must be brave and continue with my treatment remembering the end goal, which ultimately is life, and I do so love life.

I need, must and will have courage because I am not alone. You give me the strength to continue on my journey – Thank you

I have also been given the gift of optimism and resilience, something I really must not take for granted, even when it appears to be trying its hardest to hide itself from view..

Thank you for allowing me to use this blog to be honest.

It has been a pretty tough weekend and I expect I will have a few more of those to come, but I can do it. For a start I have Village Secrets coming up, my scarves to deliver and of course most exciting of all the Summer Party to look forward to.

Thank you to my family and friends who worked around my aches and pains to make Mother’s Day very special and a big Thank you to Pollyanna and Jem for the wondefully thoughtful gifts. ( hot massage oil for aching bones, favourite bath soaks, perfume, ice creams,and all the toppings etc).

Now let’s get back on track, where were we?

Oh yes the minefield of therapies on offer.

So let’s get the ball back rolling with – Mindfulness (mind, body connection)

Mindfulness has grown in attention and interest in the recent years, thanks to a rapidly expanding evidence base demonstrating that it can be helpful for many mental and physical health problems, as well as for improving well-being more generally. But Mindfulness isn’t new, it had been applied for thousands of years by Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians.

Mindfulness is the integration between the mind and body. The true body and mind connection.

Training our brains to become more mindful helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, we’re better able to manage them.

Mindfulness exercises or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) are ways of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga.

MBCT is recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the prevention of relapse in recurrent depression. It combines mindfulness techniques like meditation, breathing exercises and stretching with elements from cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) to help break the negative thought patterns that are characteristic of recurrent depression.

Neuroscientific studies have found differences in the areas of the brain associated with decision-making, attention and awareness in people who regularly practise Mindfulness meditation. People undertaking Mindfulness training have also shown an increase in activation in the left pre-frontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with positive emotions that is generally less active in people who are depressed.
Regular meditation also results in increased brain size in areas linked to emotion regulation, such as the hippocampus, the orbito-frontal cortex, the thalamus and the inferior temporal lobe.

Almost three-quarters of GPs think mindfulness meditation would be helpful for people with mental health problems, and a third already refer patients to MBCT on a regular basis. (Source: ICM survey June 2009 of 250 GPs). With the increase in talking therapies being instigated across the UK this is something that you can raise and discuss with your GP.

Mindfulness can also help you take control of your eating habits by amplifying the volume of your body’s cues so you can hear loud and clear when you are hungry and full.

Eating while multitasking, whether working through lunch or watching TV while eating dinner, often leadsus to eat more. On the other hand, eating “mindfully,” savoring every mouthful, enhances the experience of eating and keeps us aware of how much we take in.

Many social and environmental factors can stand in the way of being able to accurately decode your body’s feedback. Mindfulness helps you break free from routine eating habits by examining the thoughts, feelings and internal pressures that affect how and why you eat (or don’t eat).

Mindfullness does take some practice, and I must admit I certainly need more practic!

To find a course near your visit you GP of take a look at this link:

http://bemindful.co.uk/learn/find-a-course/

One more thing here is a funny,but quite long (you have been warned) little animation that explains all so it back relax and enjoy.

http://youtu.be/ePw0pZxe3yI

Has anybody experienced mindfulness they would be willing the share?

Tomorrow we will explore Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

Thanks again for sticking in there

Deborah x

Which therapy is best for me?

Oh dear it’s another early start for me as I avoided taking a sleeping tablet last night. I have however still had 5 hours sleep which, for me, is pretty good going and I have at my disposal a day of succumbing if need be, but I do hope not.

I have been thinking about mental health, as I usually do, and the minefield of different types of therapy and therapists out there. How does one choose which is best for them. I of course have my own ideas and preferences but these are based entirely on my own experiences and my personal  map of the world.

This blog post would be far too long if I were to tell you even a little about some of these in one fell swoop so I shall do so over the next few days.

I shall start with sharing my own journey into therapy and why and how I have come to the conclusions I have. Please do remember these are not necessarily the right ones they are just MY beliefs and like I said based on my experience of the world so far. I am forever in training and learning more, so develop new thoughts and ideas as I go along.

Many years ago, person centred counselling was the buzz word and therapy around, and I took up the opportunity to train undertaking a diploma in counselling at my local college. As part of the training you go into therapy yourself.

I will be explaining more about what each therapy contains in a little more detail in the days to come, but generally this type of therapy is one where you sit and talk as much or as little as you want , and the therapist skilfully listens and reflects back, clarifying what they think they have heard. Some people go into this type of counselling for many years.

When working as a specialist nurse for children, mostly teenagers, who had been in care, I
listened to their experiences of counselling, and decided for myself that there must be a better approach to helping this group of young people. Many of them had told their stories over and over again to numerous social workers etc. Some of the young people were now living semi independently alone in their own bedsits. They often reported how unhelpful they found it to go and sit with a therapist where they felt they had to bring up there past yet again and then return to their homes to mull it over. They also reported that they were looking for more practical advice and support rather than someone to feedback what they think they had just heard. I felt fully in agreement with that and was anxious about the effect some of this therapy was having upon them. This is what led to my journey into finding out more about Human Givens (HG) and completing a diploma with the Human Givens Institute to become an HG therapist. During this time I managed (quite a feat I must say) to get hold of some funding to employ two qualified human given therapists to work with this group of vulnerable young people. This produced some excellent results and some very positive anecdotal feedback from the young people themselves. HG therapy is short and quick and does not require the client to go over their story in great deal or in fact at all in some circumstances. You will just have to wait a few blogs to find out more!

As I was coming to the end of my HG training I stumbled across Neuro- linguistic programming (NLP) and as I have previously explained in an earlier post.

https://mymyelomajourney.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/nlp-and-my-personal-journey/#comments

I found this personally life changing. NLP to me, is more of an attitude and a deeper understanding of what is happening in my mind and body as well as the external world around me. For me it is a toolbox of different techniques drawn from, or very similar to, a number of other therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Narrative Therapy , Psychoanalytic Therapy and Human Givens. NLP uses a range of techniques to help the client and the therapist gain a better understanding of their own world and resources, helping the client to move forward in their lives.

The biggest difference between the traditional therapies and the newer therapies like HG and NLP is the scientific evidence to back these newer theories up. However both of these are going through much research and analysis and the evidence is stacking up as to the positive impact they are having, so I hope they will soon be fully accepted and more respected by the scientific and academic community. All I can share is that for me personally and from what I have seen and experienced with my clients the techniques have had good results.

Since setting up a small team of mental health advisors and employing two excellent Clinical Psychologists I have been very lucky enough to listen and learn a little from them and their views and experiences. I have also experienced the support from a Clinical Psychologist on my own recent health journey as I tried to come to terms with my diagnosis. I learnt from them the importance of knowing and understanding something about my narrative. The story of my life to date and why this might be important in understanding the here and now. So I have a much more respectful view of why sometimes this may be appropriate.

At the end of the day , I believe it’s back to that old sage TIME. For me it is all about giving myself and the client time to think and explore together their resources and the best tools I have to share with them in the given time and situation being presented. Therapy is not something you do to some one else it is a journey you go on together with the therapist acting as a guide along the way. I believe you come into therapy to change your future not your past, but having a greater understanding about how your past history may have influenced your thinking today can be the key in helping you move forward.

So we have lots to explore together and over the next few blogs, I will talk in more depth about the different approaches and types of therapy you can access to help you with this.

On a different note, today I hope to bag up all the lovely scarves and hats that have been donated so far, ready to deliver to the Macmillan Centre next week. I shall make sure I get some photo’s to show you.

I also hope to have a visit to the wholesaler’s and start to better organise all the gear I have collected for the Village Secret event. So not much time for succumbing today I just hope my body agrees!

Have a happy day.

Are you getting your messages from the universe yet? If not don’t forget you can have them emailed to you for free by signing up at:

www.tut.com

Deborah x

Two sleeping tablets later…

…and I managed 8 hours sleep, I want to jump out of bed with joy but feel the remnants  of my deliberate choice to increase to double my dose, holding me back.

Yesterday I was yet again reminded of the kindness of the human spirit. Another beautiful new scarf was left on my doorstep, and some lovely friends from the village delivered us a whole truck full of logs. This will make such a difference as Colin should not really be chopping away and putting further strain on his heart, and I am feeling the cold more than ever
So Thank You dear friends and village buddies.
Kate will drive and chaperone me to my final beetle juice and stomach injection of the week, today. This will give Colin a much needed break from it all, and a rest from my continuos steroid fuelled chatter.  On the journey I may get the chance to help Kate explore some of her excellent training ideas. I like helping others and feel disappointed when my body has other ideas and I have to go back into succumbing mode.
Tomorrow is my planned day of rest but I do have some other ideas for it so I am willing my body to synchronise well with my mind.
I am excited about the future.
Firstly I am really getting excited about the Village Secret event on a March 22nd I do hope many of you will come and support me. I hope I have enough clothes and shoes that you will like but if not we will just have a fun evening together any way.
Secondly I hope to deliver all the new scarves to the cancer centre next week, I should have received the white paper bags that I want to decorate by then and have written all the positive messages to accompany.
Thirdly I now have the NHS Change Day  to attend  on March 13th, so I can share my pledge and join with colleagues nationally who want to make a difference and improve the services we deliver to our patients.  I will just need to find myself a healthy chaperone who is  willing to wander around with a blown up baldy, (that’s how I feel sometimes), maybe I had better get the wig out!
Then it’s the BIG one, the prep for the Hinxworth Charity Birthday Festival. I want it to be the best night ever so I am busy visualising a lots of sunshine and plenty of people willing to lend us their patio heaters, just in case the air gets chilly in the evening .
I need to stay as well as possible, as does Colin, to acheive all of the above, so we are doing our best to follow instructions ( not my usual modus operandi) and succumbing when we really have to!
Please note,  this blog has been complied  in rather a drug induced state so I hope the above makes some sense.
Back on form tomorrow is the plan,
All the best
Deborah x

A very proud mum and the NHS change day…

I am very proud of both of my daughters but today I want to share with you the success of my eldest daughter and how I feel so proud of her, especially in the last few weeks and months.

Pollyanna is undoubtably a very bright and focused young lady. This is not only demonstrated by her academic achievements that include, a first degree in politics and philosophy, a distinction in Masters of research, and her recent completion of the CIMA
(Chartered Institute of Management Accounts) course, (so far she has passed all of her exams for this with flying colours and is all set to receive her qualification as a charted accountant). I also want to acknowledge her dedication in supporting my own organisation, me personally and the rest of her family.

Pollyanna is always ready to help her elderly grandmother calling her most days and visiting her weekly, she supports her sister with her baby Elliot, and of course is there for me and her step father, calling us daily with offers of support and regular visits.

She finds the time and energy to do all this whilst finishing her NHS graduate scheme, which was no mean feat to get on (the competition was very tough) and is juggling her studies with her regular work place.

I am sure like me, having the support of a caring partner helps, so I must also thank her lovely boyfriend for his contribution.

I certainly appreciate that I couldn’t achieve all I do without the support and care of my loving husband and I often think Colin should be on my trusts pay role with the unseen time he spends rushing around printing, binding and generally supporting me behind the scenes. No wonder the poor guy has chest pains! Maybe I had better take a look at his work / life balance! Colin really is the wind beneath my wings.

Pollyanna has lots of resilience factors and her mothers drive, energy and enthusiasm for life.

Only a few years ago her paternal grandfather, to whom she was very close, died of Myeloma and her biological father has only recently got over ( if you can get over such a thing) bowel cancer. Now with my own diagnosis to come to terms Pollyanna’s powers of resilience and positive mental attitude are really coming into play

She is presently being offered various jobs and has to consider her next move very carefully. There is nothing tying her in to the NHS and with her connections in the city she could easily get a job with a bank earning mega bucks.

But not Pollyanna she is passionate about the NHS and making a difference, (now where may that have come from, I wonder ?).

Relatively recently , together with a few of her young graduate colleagues, they came up with the idea of the NHS Change Day.

This day is drawing close, it is set for March 13th, so only one week to go.

If I had been well and working (not signed off on sick leave) , I would have been more involved in our trusts drive to get our staff involved. I do hope, however, that many of the staff have read the newsletter that came out on February 27th . It was all about the NHS change day and how our chief exec David Law, is calling on us all to make a pledge.

David Law, will pledge…….”We will discuss how to reduce paperwork for the clinical teams”

and…The Quality Directorate Team pledges that on that day, each member of the Quality and Governance Directorate will visit one of the Trust’s services to meet the patients and team members, find out more about the services offered and support them to get involved in the day.

If you are working for our organisation have you made your pledge yet?

You didn’t think a little thing like Cancer would keep me quiet and off your back did you, even if I am running a little behind schedule?

For the many readers of this blog who aren’t health professionals and we are up to nearly 10,000 views now , let me explain to you what this is all about.

This information is taken directly from NHS Change Day website:

NHS Change Day is a single day of collective action to demonstrate how small changes can have a big impact.

On the 13 March 2013 NHS Change Day will bring together the individual creativity, energy and innovative thinking of thousands of NHS staff from across clinical and non-clinical areas of work, in a single day of collective action to improve care for patients, their families and their carers.

Change Day is an NHS grassroots initiative devised and driven by new young and emergent clinical and managerial leaders from primary and secondary care across the NHS in England, who want to make this call to action the single largest simultaneous improvement event in the NHS.

It is an ambitious programme of activities aimed at galvanising and engaging the frontline in the process of improvement through individuals and teams pledging to make a change in their practice which will improve patient experience and/or clinical outcomes by spreading and adopting best practice and championing innovation.

This will be a country wide event covering the whole of the UK and will coincide with Healthcare Innovation Expo at Excel in the same day.

The idea of NHS Change Day is to create a mass movement of people working in the NHS
demonstrating the difference they can make – by one simple act – and proving that large scale improvement is possible in the NHS. The aim is for 65,000 people to take part, 65 being the number of years the NHS has been in existence.

Those who wish to take part can go to the NHS Change Day website at http://www.changemodel.nhs.uk/changeday and make their pledge online, join in the discussions on the forum and become part of the growing list of active supporters and organisations taking part on the day.

You can see how proud I am of Pollyanna for coming up with such a great idea , (alongside a few of her colleagues of course)

My pledge is…to increase the resilience of our workforce by empowering them to improve their own mental health and emotional well being and achieve a better more healthy work / life balance.

I intend to do this by writing a blog for our organisation, very similar to this one but perhaps more specifically sharing the mental health parts of this blog with all the Hertfordshire Community NHS staff.

Should I just share this blog, which could perhaps act as a good role model for coping with adversity and demonstrating resilience?

Or write a more specific new blog? I am not sure as this one is quite a bit more about me rather than how I can help others.

I know some of you reading this are working in our trust so I would value your opinion in particular. Also have you made your pledge yet?

Remember you only have a few days left to deliver your pledge.

I am also considering going down to London ( yet again but not for treatment this time) to take part in the Heath Innovation Expo being put out on to celebrate the day.

I just need to find some one to go along with who is happy to perhaps drive or at least accompany a bald, bloated but enthusiastic cancer patient who is still holding on tight to her passion for work and mental health.

I think I must also ask the nurses etc at UCLH today what they know about the NHS change day and check to see of they have put their pledge in yet.

Hmm I wonder if my own team have put out their pledges, it’s hard being out of the loop. Hopefully one of them will be reading this blog and encourage the others to get their pledges in. It doesn’t have to be anything big just one thing that you are pledging to do to make a change in practice that in turn will improve our patients experience. Please let me know.

I urge you all not to just read, or necessarily believe all the bad spin stories often reported about us in the daily papers. We are, in the majority, a caring bunch of extremely dedicated people who want to keep the NHS alive and something that our whole country can feel proud of. I do however feel thst we have the private sector biting at our ankles, hungry for a piece of the action, and just perhaps offering a cheaper but not necessarily greater quality of service. In this day of financial constraints , even at the cost of reduced quality, money talks, and with new commissioning arrangements we are all having to work with a business head on. This is not necessarily something nurses have had needed to think about never mind worry about and do before.

Well it looks like I have got plenty to keep me motivated and out of mischief, so I am so pleased those cancerous cells have been taking note and dying off. They really do have no place to hide in my body. Together we are seeking them out and if one rat gets pregnant we shall be after it and its young, (sorry poor rats I didn’t mean to necessarily pick on you as my metaphor).

I am also grateful for my ten plate spinning abilities and will certainly not let the ‘Village Secrets’, ‘ Especially for You ‘ charity scarves or ‘Hinxworth Festival Birthday Charity Party’ , fall to the ground, with much family and community support they are continuing to spin well.

So just to finish off, this post is dedicated to Pollyanna.

Thank you for being the beautiful shining star you are and letting others benefit from you glorious rays of sunshine.

Your very proud mum

Deborah

X

Plate spinning and apologies…

Firstly let me yet again apologise to my early morning readers for the lateness of this blog I have been up since 3am but blame the steroids for me getting distracted.

Today I want to talk about plate spinning something I allured (allure is a good Miranda word and I like it) to on face book.

Some of us are completer finishes I am not one of those. A completer finisher enjoys doing a task where he and she will get pleasure from the end result. They can be trusted to do the job thouroughy and are much needed members within a team.

I am a planter I will start  several projects off but will usually need to find a completer finisher to see some of them through, I enjoy the journey but have usually completed them  in my head so don’t need to personally do the completing in practice to gain satisfaction and gratification.

Imagine the plate spinner at a circus spinning as many plates as possible. I would go for at least 10 if not more plates enjoying the risk and excitement of keeping as many up in the air as possible. Not too concerned if some drop to the ground.

The work place needs 10 plate spinners (well maybe just one per team or organisation) and 1, 2 and 3 plate spinners. It would be no good if we were all trying to spin 10 plates we would have a hell of a mess to clean up!

So knowing what you are and adapting the way you operate to fit into this may be helpful to yourself,  business and your family.

If you are a fewer plate spinner I think you need to plan your time carefully. Chunk your tasks down into small achievable parts . Make sure your goals are SMART
Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Relevant
Time – bound

Paul J. Meyer describes the characteristics of S.M.A.R.T and I quote “goals in Attitude is Everything ref.[1]
Specific
The first term stresses the need for a specific goal over and against a more general one. This means the goal is clear and unambiguous; without vagaries and platitudes. To make goals specific, they must tell a team ( or yourself) exactly what is expected, why is it important, who’s involved, where is it going to happen and which attributes are important.
A specific goal will usually answer the five “W” questions:
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
Who: Who is involved?
Where: Identify a location.
Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
Measurable
The second term stresses the need for concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of the goal. The thought behind this is that if a goal is not measurable, it is not possible to know whether a team (or yourself), is making progress toward successful completion. Measuring progress is supposed to help stay on track, reach its target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs it on to continued effort required to reach the ultimate goal.
A measurable goal will usually answer questions such as:
How much?
How many?
How will I know when it is accomplished?
Attainable
The third term stresses the importance of goals that are realistic and attainable. While an attainable goal may stretch you in order to achieve it, the goal is not extreme. That is, the goals are neither out of reach nor below standard performance, as these may be considered meaningless. When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. The theory states that an attainable goal may cause goal-setters to identify previously overlooked opportunities to bring themselves closer to the achievement of their goals.
An attainable goal will usually answer the question:
How: How can the goal be accomplished?
Relevant
The fourth term stresses the importance of choosing goals that matter. A bank manager’s goal to “Make 50 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by 2:00pm” may be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Time-Bound, but lacks Relevance. Many times you will need support to accomplish a goal: resources, a champion voice, someone to knock down obstacles. Goals that are relevant to your boss, your team, your organization will receive that needed support.
Relevant goals (when met) drive yourself, the team, department, and organization forward. A goal that supports or is in alignment with other goals would be considered a relevant goal.
A relevant goal can answer yes to these questions:
Does this seem worthwhile?
Is this the right time?
Does this match our other efforts/needs?
Are you the right person?
Is this acceptable for correction?
Time-bound
The fifth term stresses the importance of grounding goals within a time frame, giving them a target date. A commitment to a deadline helps you or your team focus their efforts on completion of the goal on or before the due date. This part of the S.M.A.R.T. goal criteria is intended to prevent goals from being overtaken by the day-to-day crises that invariably arise at home or in an organization. A time-bound goal is intended to establish a sense of urgency.
A time-bound goal will usually answer the question:
When?
What can I do 6 months from now?
What can I do 6 weeks from now?
What can I do today?

I hope you might find this useful

Now off to try and spin lots of plates some of which I will undoubtedly drop but I’m ok with that remember.

I shall try to be a bit quicker with tomorrow’s blog and put it further up my to do list.

Have a good day spinning your plates and remember it’s not the number of plates that’s important but being able to recognise your own best way of spinning and what you want to achieve in the long run to ensure you reach the ultimate goal of happiness for yourself and family.

Take good care

Deborah x

PS I would like to thank my special friend Julie who brought me round a lovely healing bracelet I believe it will get the rest of those cancerous cells running – So thank you Julie for that and the 15 new scarves you donated to the charity, they are perfect!  I just hope I didn’t bore you with my incessant chattering!

[1](Meyer, Paul J (2003). “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals”. Attitude Is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond. Meyer Resource Group, Incorporated, The. ISBN 978-0-89811-304-4.)

Blame the tablets ….

…for the lateness of this blog! Sorry folks I know many of you like to read it with your morning cup of char before heading off to work. But last night I had eight hours sleep, that must be a record, and no psychotic symptoms to note. Now I will have all the energy I need to enjoy the day ahead. My kitchen blackboard calendar has against today’s date In large capital letters REST DAY. Well it’s my calendar and I can rub it out if I like. 🙂

But I may stay in my jimmy jams today (so be warned if you pop by), throw a couple of logs on the wood burner and tick off a few of the items on my to do list for today.

Work on my painting
Try out my new dry cleaning unit
Shop on line for my paper bags
Prepare clothes and shoes ready for sale
Finish the Village Secret invites and email out
Make labels
Ring my pension lady
Enjoy a cuppa with my work colleagues.
Watch another episode of 24
Catch upon all the recorded TV programmes I have missed
Work on PR strategy
Reflect on my meeting with my new friend David who I have the upmost respect for and can’t wait to see playing the lead role in Phantom of the Opera, I may just have to keep hold of one of my recently required designer gowns!

I also want to appreciate today that I have been blessed with courage. I think courage comes with confidence and gives the possessor permission to step outside the normal rules that sometimes dictate today’s world.

According to my online dictionary, courage is:

1) The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.
2) The heart as the source of emotion
3) To have the courage of one’s convictions, to act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.

The 6 C’s is a new compassionate, caring vision for nursing that has been recently launched. The vision is based around six values – care, compassion, courage, communication, competence and commitment. I was pleased to see courage being one of them.

It takes courage to stand up for the things you believe, especially if it appears to be at odds with the people around you. In my experience however, I have found there are many people who are often thinking and believing the same but lacked the courage to speak out.

So I am grateful for the gift of courage. Courage has helped me to believe, to follow my dreams. Yesterday I met David in real life, (instead of just through the powers of technology). It felt good to have a hug from a fellow ‘Courager’ (ok I know there is no such word in the dictionary but I’ve just made it up so they can make space for it now) Couragers are role models who by example can demonstrate courage and share stories that can inspire others to take the first step. I think there are any Couragers out there, seek them out and ask them to kindly share their stories it may just change your life. I think courage could be catching.

Do you know any Couragers? Is there another word that describes people that demonstrate courage, that speak out , follow their dreams? Maybe the word is Hero?

Come on Libi this ones for you. I need a noun that fits otherwise I am sticking with Courager.

Go out and be brave today

X

Education and co-incidence…

Our education system failed me I dreaded every day of school and after years of wasted opportunities I came out with nothing. (OK one English O’level). Such a disappointment I am sure to my parents who encouraged me to stay on another year in case I was a late developer, I was late alright by another 20 years! Never mind it was probably the school and they would have more luck with my sister who they somehow managed to get into an all girls catholic school. Guess what she did about as well as me. Perhaps my brother had a better chance of shining, his father had at least been to university so just maybe he had the more intelligent gene (not that our mother is stupid, far from it!) but alas he didn’t fair much better.

Back in the early 90’s I completed a full year of teacher training in order to achieve a bachelor of education degree but I dropped out at the end frustrated by the lack of opportunity to use any creativity. The education system seemed so rigid to me and my teaching practices didn’t allow for the sharing or exploration of new ideas with other teaching staff. With the curriculum as it stands , you deliver it as and when you are told and are measured as to how good a teacher you are by the number of A stars your pupils achieve.

Today I visit schools to deliver training or to take part in meetings to discuss a particular child and there so called problems and it seems not much has changed. Teachers are dictated to about what they teach and when and the children must be able to sit still and learn in a particular fashion. Now we know we all have different maps of the world and different learning styles so it must be an enormous challenge to deliver a lesson on a subject that quite frankly is probably completely irrelevant to a class of thirty very different individuals. Ah Ha you’re not allowed to be an individual, stray too far from the norm and you will end up being referred to our service! We mostly see very creative intelligent young people whose contribution to the world could be enormous if they could be channeled in the right direction. Instead these kids fit like square pegs in a round hole. They don’t do boredom and won’t sit there for hours just because that are told to do so. They don’t see the point and quite frankly I often have to agree with them. Unfortunately in this country unless your willing to pay a lot of money there doesn’t seem to be many choices available if any?

Have any of you read the Celestine Prophecy? I digress a little but bear with me. This is just a simple, easy to read, book of fiction (although the author admits his intention of it being more of a parable to illustrate a point) . It discuses various psychological and spiritual ideas and talks much about co- incidences. The book is a first-person narrative of spiritual awakening. The narrator is in a transitional period of his life, and begins to notice instances of synchronicity, which is the belief that coincidences have a meaning personal to those who experience them.

The book starts like this:

“For half a century now, a new consciousness has been entering the human world, a new awareness that can only be called transcendent, spiritual. If you find yourself reading this book, then perhaps you already sense what is happening, already feel it inside.”

Recently I have met a guy, well I haven’t actually met him yet, but he is coming to sing at my charity birthday festival. And by co- incidence he shares some of mine and Colin’s beliefs about the education system on offer for our children here in the UK today. (see there is a link) David kindly sent me a link to a school in America, which he was fortunate enough to spend some time visiting. At this school the children choose what they want to learn and when, If they choose to play video games all day then thats what they do. Now before you make a judgement, about what you think about that, take a look at the film on their website and then come back.

http://sudval.org/

I was reminded of a conversation I had with a teacher who couldn’t understand why this particular boy had no interest in attending school. I asked her for a good reason why he should. She was flabbergasted by this question and looked at me in horror as she firmly stated to get an education of course! Is that the only way we become educated?

Here is a quote from one of the children who attend The Sudbury Valley School.

“I didn’t really think about getting an education. I didn’t understand the idea of having to artificially “get” an education. I thought that you lived in the world and you got smarter because every day you were learning. I thought that there was no way you could get dumber unless you were erasing stuff out of your brain. It seemed to me that one day you were talking to someone about one subject and another day you were talking to someone about another, and eventually you’d get around to all of them.”

A few years ago now a colleague and I were asked to speak to a large audience of teachers, on an inset day about managing stress. It was the end of the summer holidays and the day before the new school year. ( I’m not sure the timing was great). Besides speaking we were also on hand to offer a few individual sessions for any teachers wishing to make use of our skills and time. I think we only had time for 6 slots between us and they soon got filled. Each one of the teachers we saw broke down in tears as they described the stress of teaching, lack of supervision and support, bullying and fear of failure, and the new year hadn’t even started! How were these teachers meant to act as good role models? I very strongly believe to have mentally healthy children we need to start with mentally health adults. Sue and I ended up with recommending to some of these teachers they visit their GP as.the signs of clinical depression were clearly there.

Surely it is time for us to rethink our educational system.

Would you agree?

Have a great weekend

Deborah

ps just in case your worried about your kids spelling this ones for you:

I cnduo’t bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh?