I was surprised and pleased that my post ‘Don’t call me mum’ resonated with many parents. I’ve been reflecting again on my experiences when my son Ethan was seriously ill with sepsis. Whilst it was an incredibly difficult time there are two members of staff I remember with particular fondness and gratitude.
First was Joan a health care assistant (who was approaching retirement). I remember her kindness, it was both firm and gentle. Instead of pushing the ‘breastfeeding’ party line she bottle fed Ethan in the middle of the night. So I, an exhausted on the edge new twin mum, could get more than 3 hrs sleep. I felt as though that nights sleep was life saving. She extended her care for my son to me.
There was also Dr O’Connor the paediatric registrar. She never lectured me on my googling of strep B sepsis. She understood my need to try to understand. She went the extra mile as many NHS staff do. On a number of occasions she came to Ethan’s cot-side after a long shift to answer my questions. Her efforts to get to the bottom of Ethan’s double infection were clear.
What was special about these two staff was, they heard more than my words. Joan listened to me as I said ‘I am worried about Ethan and who will take care of him in the night’. She heard ‘I am exhausted and close to breaking’ She’d discovered what I was not even admitting to myself. Dr O’Connor listened to my myriad of questions and heard a mum who needed some sense of control.
I love this quote from Stephen Covey:
I will be forever grateful that Joan and Dr O’Connor listened to understand. Whilst listening like this is not easy I am sure the positive impacts far outweigh the cost. I have found as a clinician my efforts to truly listen are nearly always rewarded.
In Don’t call me mum I gave these 3 keys for person centred practice:
Recognise parents individuality, communicate at a level appropriate for them and remember their preferred name.
Recognise parents are the experts in their child, use their experience and knowledge to jointly provide the best interventions.
Remember the child has a wider family, your interventions may affect grandparents and siblings too.
These 3 keys need prepending with a vital first step:
Do you ever get overwhelmed with the quantity of information available on the web? Do you wonder where to start when trying to find out about a particular topic? Or where to begin to research for a presentation or project? I have been there. What I have discovered is, that sticking my search terms into google or yahoo yeilds vast and mind boggling results. Now I always start with a few trusted websites. Here, in no particular order, are my top 5 recommendations for childhood disability information:
CanChild is a non-profit research and educational centre located within the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Our research is focused on improving the lives of children with a variety of developmental conditions and their families over the lifecourse.
I am a big fan of CanChild. They have great resources for professionals and parents. They have an interesting and impactful research portfolio. The staff and associates are really helpful if you contact them.
The British Academy of Childhood Disability (BACD) is an organisation for professionals working in the field of childhood disability. It’s aims include: to promote the development of quality standards, guidelines for good practice in the field of child development and disability.
BACD website gives acsess to their newsletter archive for free. For most uptodate information and members contacts you can join for an annual fee of £30 or £40. Membership also gives a discount on the ‘Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology’ journal.
Contact a Family is a UK-based registered charity for families with disabled children offering support, advice and information. As well as supporting families the charity supports those who assist the families, including medical and educational professionals, local government workers and health workers.
I find contact a family really useful for condition and rare disease information. They have lots of downloadable parent information and a professionals enquiry service.
PenCRU is a childhood disability research team. We are a partnership between researchers, families and health care professionals. Working together, we aim to ensure that research addresses issues that are relevant to disabled children and their families and results in beneficial new treatments and services.
It’s fantastic to have a UK based children’s disability research team. Pleasingly they are working closely with parents and families as well as professionals. They have a great ‘What’s the evidence?’ section: http://www.pencru.org/evidence/
PubMed is a free search engine accessing primarily the MEDLINE database of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics. Medline includes bibliographic information for articles from academic journals covering medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and health care.
If you are search for original papers or systematic reviews PubMed is a really useful free search engine. It searches the Medline database. This gives some protection as the quality of all included journals has been vetted by a medline selection committee.
As ever I’d love to hear from you. Let me know how you get on with the websites I’ve recommended. Join our facebook community Synergy-Now facebook community and pop in and say hello.
Twitter chats are live discussions hosted on twitter they are about a particular topic. They are identified by a hastag followded by a title of the topic eg #twitterchat. Different twitter accounts advertise and host regular discussions. Participating in a twitter chat has much value to offer health, care and education professionals.
Very often twitter chats are moderated (led) by experts on the topic. Frequently there is recommended reading and resources made available to help you prepare for the chat. Between them chat participants have a huge pool of knowledge which you can draw from. Aside from twitter chats themselves, conference organisers often encourage attendees to post using a specified #. If you cannot attend a conferance you can follow the # and get live updates on discussion and content. Following twitter chats transcripts are availble. You can take your time to look through, have follow up conversations and search for deeper information.
Twitter has no barriers to your participation. Accsess is equal whether you are a student, qualified 30 years, work in a prestigious university or volunter for a charity. Everyone can share their experience and opinion.
Twitter chats are a great way to get to know and form networks with people interested in the same field and topics as yourself. You can engage meaningfully with other professionals from across the country and the world. The twitter chat connection can be just the beginning.
Tips to help you join a twitter chat:
If you don’t yet have a twitter account follow my 3 easy steps: http://synergy-now.com/2017/02/216/
Find a twitter chat to join
We communities is a place to start for those in health.
Socialworkhelper is good for social care
UKEdchat is a suggestion for teachers
When you have found a twitterchat you’re interested in:
Open your twitter account a few minutes before it’s due to start
Enter the #title in your searchbar
Watch the twitter conversation as it progresses
If you want to join in remember to add #title to each tweet.
If this still feels daunting I can offer you some more help. I will be broadcasting myself on facebook live joining in a twitter chat this Thursday 23rd Feb at 8pm (GMT). I will try to show the nuts and bolts of the process. If you want to check out the twitter chat in advance enter this: #AHPsintoAction in your twitter search bar
To see this live broadcast join the synergy-now facebook community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1419809981385746/
It’s not so long ago that I was completely baffled by twitter. But I have discovered it is a really useful tool for connecting and learning. It’s not as difficult as I thought. Here are 3 easy steps you can follow to get going.
1. Set up a twitter account
Go to www.twitter.com. Select ‘set up’ and then complete the log in details.
You will need an e-mail account and will have to choose a user name and password. When you have completed your details and confirmed your e-mail address you will have a twitter account. I have set one up in the name of New User so you can see what yours will look like.
2. Choose people / accounts to follow
Following leaders and influencers in your field will be really informative. When you follow someone everytime they tweet their tweets will appear in your home feed. This is how you follow someone. Enter the name of the person or organisation you want to follow in the search box on the top right (highlighted yellow). If they have a twitter account they should appear in a dropdown box below.
Click on the name indicated by the red arrow.
Their twitter profile page will come up. Click on the follow button (shown by the red arrow)
Repeat this process for all the individuals and organisations you are interested in hearing from. If you don’t know who to follow, here are some suggestions for the field of childhood disability:
- Kings Fund
- Council for disabled children
- Contact a Family
- We AHPs
- We CYP nurses
- OT talk
- Physio talk
- SEND Jungle
- McKeith Press
I’d suggest you schedule a regular time in your diary to read through the tweets posted by the accounts you have followed.
3. Search and read tweets containing key words you are interested in
You do this by using the hastag symbol #. Put the word or phrase you are interested in in the search box preceeded by # (do not use spaces or punctuation)
In the example above I have searched EHCP. When the results come up you can categorise the tweets you look at. In the example below I have clicked (in blue text) to view latest tweets containing EHCP.
Go on give it a go. You can follow me at https://twitter.com/Andrea_Selley
I’d love to hear how your getting on or answer any questions you may have. Come over to facebook and join the Synergy-Now Community https://www.facebook.com/groups/1419809981385746/
Life is so busy, it can feel almost impossible to fit in CPD activities. Opportunities to attend funded courses seem to have almost completely disapeared. Suddenly the pressure can be on when evidence of CPD is needed for re registration, appraisal and personal development reviews. If as you read this your heart sinks in recognition then my ‘Everyday CPD’ template is for you.
As professionals our development is an ongoing process. There are many ‘everyday’ activities both in work and out of work that contribute to our learning. The key is to recognise when they happen and capture them. The first thing you need to do is get better that recognising these times. Here is a list of just a few activities and situations that can contribute to your learning:
Watching a tv show
Taking a family member to an appointment
Listening to a podcast
Joining a tweet chat
Researching a topic to better answer a clients question
Observing a colleagues practice in a joint session
My suggestion is that you get into the habit of weekly looking back over your week to identify those learning times. Choose a highlight colour and in your diary (paper or electronic) record and highlight all the entries that have contributed to your development.
The highlighted entries will then need some more detail to effectively demonstrate your development. The ‘Everday Learning’ template will allow you simply answer 6 questions that will provide robust evidence of your learning and it’s outcome.
For more details and an example of how I used the template, with an episode of DIY SOS, watch my short video tutorial on youtube.