4000 nurses together, what an experience!

The Royal College ofNurses democracy in action – points of order, voting members and non-voting members, Β electronic voting handsets which I didn’t know I needed…
Trouble with technology the radio waves interfering with the wifi so there was trouble with the electronic voting handsets πŸ™Š

I discovered that my cognitive function is significantly impaired by 1/2 glass of wine πŸ“‰ when I’ve been nil by mouth after about 6hrs travelling and bag stuffing. The wine was free but I didn’t want any career defining moments whilst tipsy in the exhibition hall. 🍌

Freebies in the exhibition hall have to be of nominal value as nurses can’t be trusted not to be swayed by a free fob watch, stethoscope etc. so I have a collection of mainly pens… I like a nice pen βœ’οΈ

Fun and collaborative interdisciplinary working, stuffing bags in my yellow “here to help” t-shirt (Minion style – note to self must watch a film and check out these minions! Is it a rumour that they eat bananas and kill their master??)

My full day at the conference was packed:

  • 8:15 minion duty ⏰
  • first conference debate
  • more minion duty
  • lunchtime fringe talk on getting students into general practice nursing
  • after lunch morphing into adult nursing student, now dressed in psychedelic pink (bit like a clanger). Great sessions for students:
  • 1) on the importance of self-care and
  • 2) a whistle stop tour of wound care with a tissue viability nurse
  • Free ice cream! 🍦 Yes! Perks of being a student…
  • Mindfulness in the quiet room βŒ›οΈputting self-care into practice.
  • Session on death and dying in an acute hospital setting – asking can we do more for patients and those close to them. Encouraging us to do things differently to meet the needs of the family and in so doing do it better. I can usually hold the tears back but so moving, inspiring and better in its own post.
  • After that I wasn’t up for the regional reception, more wine on an empty stomach, so I walked back up the Eastcliff and πŸ‘£πŸ’€

Meeting new people – on the train, in the conference hall, on the stands, handing out conference bags, lovely RCN staff and hotel staff at the Marriott πŸ’‘

Bournemouth was beautiful. For my last day (no minion duty), lie in, leisurely breakfast and walking to the conference centre next to the beach. Awesome way to start the day with a little mindfulness of seeing.

My hotel was chosen on price not its aesthetics. In need of some TLC but I had a πŸ› my room had tea making, chairs, space, 3G and a plug socket for my charger – snail heaven πŸ›€πŸ»

Today I peaked, I sat next to this lady in the most amazing shoes πŸ‘  and helped her open her tin of mints, it turns out she is the UK’s Chief Nursing Officer – wow!

Tweeting πŸ“±

Had to leave the debate on should we change nursing education which is producing 4 distinct learning streams. For adult nursing we need a broader base for us to deliver safe effective healthcare. Next time I’m hoping to contribute to the debate… πŸ“° 🏁




My first RCN congress!


and a little bit scary…

Royal College of Nursing is a professional body representing nurses (and students) in the UK. Their annual meeting is in Bournemouth this year. I’m going on my own and while I’m there I’ll be acting as an ambassador, one way to meet new people! We’ve been promised an attractive yellow t-shirt so I’m looking forward to doing an impression of a minion πŸ˜€ TTS




Matthew Johnstone (2015) The Little Book of Resilience. London: Constable & Robinson Ltd


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Matthew Johnstone author and illustrator of bestselling books including “I Had a Black Dog” describes himself as a passionate mental health and wellbeing advocate and has a website http://www.matthewjohnstone.com.au. I was very excited when his latest offering “The Little Book of  Resilience – How to bounce back from adversity and lead a fulfilling life” dropped through the letterbox.

This beautifully illustrated book suggests that our ideal life is one where the sun always shines, we are happy, healthy and fulfilled… We spend energy protecting ourselves from the realities of life but life doesn’t play fair. We put a lot of effort into regretting our past, maintaining the face we show the world, wanting things we don’t have… Life for most of us will have joys and sorrows and resilience is about how we respond to adversity.

Johnstone offers helpful perspectives such as “Thoughts are not facts”. Importantly he does not suggest that the advice offered is easy to put into practice, for example, “A vitally important virtue is patience. In this world of everything being instant, we expect the same when it comes to our difficulties.”

In Part II Johnstone identifies a number of important areas that need to be attended to if we want to build our resilience which include but are not limited to:

  • physical activity,
  • taking part,
  • helping others,
  • keep learning
  • taking notice

Incidentally these are the 5 ways to well-being promoted by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) see http://www.fivewaystowellbeing.org

This is followed by a list of websites for potentially relevant organisations offering information and support.

Finally there are a few empty pages for your own notes.


Paul Hoffman (2010) The Left Hand of God. London: Penguin Books

The first thing that attracted me to this book in our community library was the title and then the cover – I was looking forward to some exciting combination of murder and religion (a bit like Umberto Eco and “The Name Of The Rose”). It also helped that Eoin Colfer, whose work I like, called it “Magnificent”

Hoffman has created a fictional world the historical context for which is approximately biblical. A group of “Redeemers”, somewhere between monks and warriors, are training up “acolytes”, boys who if they survive the training, are to become ruthless soldiers fighting a war against the “Antagonists”, the purpose of which is not quite clear. The boys are often orphans or children whose families are prepared to sell their sons to the Redeemers. So far the war on the Eastern Front is not going well and reinforcements are needed.

Much of the early part of the book is spent detailing the boys education in the “Sanctuary” which is unforgiving and austere conditions in which the boys live. The Redeemers naturally favour somewhat more luxurious conditions for themselves.

The book’s central character is a teenage boy, Thomas Cale, whose future is bound up with the success of the Redeemers. Thomas plans to outwit the Redeemers and escape, which is no easy matter made somewhat harder by the fact that the escape party is finally made up of Thomas, his two friends and a girl. Girls have not featured until now in the boys’ lives…

At times Hoffman’s style put me in mind of Terry Pratchett. For example, “The Guelphs – a people of notoriously ungenerous disposition – have a saying: no good deed goes unpunished. Cale was soon to discover the occasional truth of this miserable proverb.”

Fans of Hoffman will be pleased to know that there is a sequel. I did enjoy this, particularly once the characters were on the run. Perhaps we are meant to feel somewhat ambiguous about Thomas by the end of this book but I felt so ambiguous that I don’t feel the need to read the sequel.

Described by the Daily Express as “A cult classic”, throughout the book there seemed to be clever allusions to our own culture and history. For example, is the “war” the redeemers are fighting World War I? A war that required the unquestioning sacrifice of large numbers of young men. The Redeemers revere statues of the “Hanged Redeemer” and I was wondering if in this twist on a monastic order the hanged redeemer is meant to be Judas? If anyone can add to these speculations that would be great, please get in touch.


Mindfulness based stress reduction wk 4 – the physical barometer

Refllecting on the halfway point in our course:

The physical barometer. This grows out of noticing where sensations are experienced in the body during unpleasant experiences. I’ve mapped mine out above. If you want to tune in to your own physical barometer, the abdomen can be a helpful place to start, investigating whether sensations in the abdomen change during challenging events.

Still struggling with the breathing spaces / responsive pauses. I get swept along by the moment and only afterwards think ahh a responsive pause would have been helpful there.

I am learning to love the bodyscan – who would have guessed. You spend the first two weeks of the course thinking this is boring / dull / irritating then when you move on you find yourself missing it.

Adherence to home practice can be too tight, as well as too loose. Humm! That was me I wanted so much to engage with the course I was pushing too hard.

My ability to find pleasure in day to day life has definitely increased.

Susie had to have the last word and says after her initial view that mindfulness sucks (as it involved turfing her off the duvet) she is also learning to love the bodyscan 🐾 πŸ’€