Monday, 27 May 2013
Reflections and Echoes
I have been considering writing again for a while; I suppose this is a kind of 'slow-blog' or 'Slog'. As ever though, strands of life have combined to make sitting down to this task inevitable. I have a notebook that since given it last Christmas I have used to jot down thoughts and ideas. I can see that in mid-MArch 2013 I was thinking about creativity in nursing.
In response to comments by Prof Don Berwick reported on the BBC on 12/3/13 regarding Mid Staffs I was asking do we stifle creativity in healthcare and particularly in Nursing?
Whilst pondering that on 14/3/13 Roy Lilley said this in the first of his blog pieces that day,
"Nursing has been at the forefront of innovation and nurses use some of the most sophisticated kit the NHS has to offer.... Nurses are the mothers and daughters of invention."
So I am not missing a theme here; once we consider nursing history we find the examples of Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole and many others who have developed kit and service models since then that have led to improvements in care. In my specialist field of palliative care Dame Cicely Saunders qualified as a nurse, as well as in medicine and social work. Her influence remains profound though I wonder if we have lost some of the energy that went with such creative spirits. Is working under the pressures many nurses describe sapping their energy and ability to see problems as they occur?
The other requisite for creativity is risk taking; when dealing with the lives of others we obviously have to minimise the risks, 'do no harm'. Yet whilst discussing service improvements via a Twitter nurse chat last week, care of WeNurses it was evident there were plenty of ideas yet little evidence that things were easy to change. So if creativity is there, what seems to holding things back? Is the appetite for change difficult to identify amongst the bad taste in nursing's mouth delivered by the hands of the detractors of the NHS?
In all of this I had decided I ought to try something different in terms of learning. I took advantage of an offer from Martin Shovel to join a cartooning for communicators workshop in Brighton. Martin and Martha his partner led four of us through a journey of discovery through drawing and use of language to communicate in simple direct terms. I hadn't drawn for many years; art was something I have always loved yet lacked the confidence to pursue. The workshop enabled me to connect with the idea of simplicity in drawing; finding the key message and developing from there. I found it quite an emotional day, as echoes of past 'you're useless' school days passed by.
On reflection I now know I can use a simple drawing to convey a message; my style is under development and I try to practice in spare moments. Another side to creativity, yet I am sure it has value in terms of increasing my range of communication styles, as well as my confidence in my messages. It has also reshaped my thinking, making me consider the core messages I want to convey.
All this has come about through social media 'SoMe'; using Twitter I have found a new arena for creativity. The aforementioned chats, blogs and vlogs, all make increased links with greater immediacy. This was brought home to me when a nurse contact made via Twitter looked like they could do with some support. I was happy to offer advice and to listen; and now nearly a year has gone by, the echoes of that time are coming around again. On reflection I have to acknowledge that I know there were some days I thought I could have done differently and been a better support. Even so it appears what I did sufficed for that person, at that time.
Reflections and echoes swirl around; often catching us unawares. For me this 'slow-blog' or 'Slog', has enabled to me look at how I have learnt to innovate with modest personal reputational risk taking, using the opportunities social media have offered to be creative.In my work the benefits are that I can see how important it is to allow all the team to reflect and sense the echoes of learning and opportunities that will allow us to grow and develop; from there we can take innovation forward, personally and professionally.