Am at #OpenSSW today, going to be talking about engagement, evidence informed practice and research.
Will blog later but for now, here’s how to NOT engage ppl w research!
There have been a couple of discussions on twitter and blog posts I’ve read recently that I’ve wanted to reply to, the most clear one came from @Ermintrude2 who wrote an excellent post about her struggles to keep up with research while working in frontline practice. Ermintrude, works as a social worker in an integrated mental health team, alongside NHS colleagues – she is an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP – pronounced ‘amp’ for anyone not in the know), a Best Interests Assessor (BIA) and a Practice Educator. She is also a prolific blogger and tweeter – she is likely the perfect opposite to apathy when it comes to social care practice.
In her post Ermintrude discusses the impact of work culture, of an employer’s attitude to research, and of professional attitudes to the importance of keeping up to date with research. She also talks about some of the sources she uses for information and keeping herself up-to-date, I was delighted to see RiPfA in her list, alongside other similar organisations who in one way or another are working to support people in social care practice to access and use research. I would recommend you read Ermintrude’s blog if you’re interested, the quote that made me chuckle into my coffee was this one:
One of the chief things I’ve learnt is that just because an article is presented in an academic journal, doesn’t mean it’s well-written or useful. We shouldn’t idolise academics as there is as great a variety in quality as there is in practitioners but there is no doubt that having an active interest in current academic research and debate is the next best thing to being able to be actively engaged in contributing to research.
I don’t think Ermintrude is alone. It appears to me that there is growing interest in the application and utilisation of social care research evidence and this interest is coming from several directions. There are those who work in social care practice, like Ermintrude and many of the people I saw on twitter engaging with that particular post, who care about their practice. Who want to be able to readily access research and use it’s findings. There is a considerable group of people who use social care services or who support someone who does, and I would argue an increasingly growing group of people who have yet to need to use social care, but who are aware that they may need to at some stage. Obviously there are social care providers, individuals or small organisations, alongside large national companies, who all want to do a good job providing social care and have an interest in efficiency and standards. Then there are those who work in social care training, development and education who to keep need themselves current with the growing evidence and knowledge to do a good job. Then of course there are academics and researchers who are producing research evidence, there has always been interest in what happens to the new knowledge that is created and there is a growing focus on research impact, I’m also hopeful that the focus on the Research Excellence Framework (REF) will go some way to turning attention to how research actually gets to those who need it.
So, all in all, there is potentially huge amounts of interest in getting social care evidence into practice and I’m really delighted to share with you the launch of a new project focusing on this very topic. The project, Creating an Impact: Social Care Evidence in Practice is a collaboration between the LSE team from the NIHR School for Social Care Research, RAND Europe and of course, research in practice for adults (RiPfA) and the LSE Higher Education Innovation Fund have kindly agreed to fund it.
The project aims to look at three areas:
- Exchanging evidence and practice around two key areas – the Care and Support White Paper and Long Term Care – these are deliberately broad topics so there should opportunities for most interested parties to get involved
- Exploring best practice methods for exchanging knowledge, and
- Making the case for research
If you’d like to know more you can read an outline of planned activities on the new project blog, which is in development and will be added to throughout the project. There isn’t currently the function to subscribe to the blog but hopefully there will be soon. If you would like to get involved with the project there are two immediate opportunities:
Firstly, there is still just about time to apply for the project coordinator role, this would be a great opportunity for anyone interested in the issues we’ve been discussing. Applications close on Wednesday 5 September so you’d need to be quick but please do consider applying and share the advert with anyone you know who might be interested.
Secondly, we’re looking for people who work in social care, you might be a social worker, an AMHP, a care worker, a provider, anyone who works as a social care practitioner, who would like to contribute to some media articles. We’re looking for people to comment, (anonymously if you prefer – we just need your generic job title and some idea of the region where you work) their thoughts about a) what does not work well currently and why relevant research is not feeding through to you, and b) your thoughts about what researchers need to do differently in future. This should take no more than five minutes of your time, if you would prepare to do this let me know and I’ll provide your details to the person compiling the contributions. Feel free to just add a comment to the bottom with your thoughts if you prefer – it would be good to see what people think.
There will be lots of opportunities to get involved with the project over the coming weeks, keep 19 October free for the first unconference if having read this you can feel the fire in your belly burning a little brighter. Hope to hear from some of you and see some of you there.
Short ranty blog post warning…..
I’m watching the Paralympic Opening Ceremony and following it on twitter, and also catching comments on facebook. It’s impressive, I’m delighted to see so many athletes and proud that London are hosting. I’m also morbidly curious, as an obsessive people watcher, watching people who are different to the norm is just that little bit more interesting. I’m comfortable with disability, always have been, I think I’ve always been naturally curious in people, my parent’s chose our Primary School because it had a PHU, Partial Hearing Unit – not that I think that’d be what it’s called nowadays, (I suspect it would be something like a ‘Resource base for hearing impaired pupils’ or maybe for ‘pupils with hearing impairments’). My parents wanted us to know from a young age that people came with all sort of abilities, strengths, interests. I would spend my breaks hanging out with the deaf kids (or Deaf kids) and learnt to sign before it was fashionable – unfortunately I lost that ability when I stopped practising, although I learnt Makaton at university.
Annnnnyway, what am I on about. Well I have always been as comfortable with people who are disabled as I have with those who aren’t. As a primary school kid when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I’d answer a Special Education Teacher. I was quite inspired by Mrs Renton who ran the PHU. I dallied in wanting to be a Blue Peter Presenter for a while, then special ed teacher training was cut and I ended up going to university to study for an Education degree. I volunteered as a teenager, and again at university, spending time with people with disabilities in various ways. I was fascinated by the Psychology of Special Education as an undergrad and ended up doing a PhD looking at education for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties.
All of this is context, I am comfortable with disability, I have spent a lot of time around people who communicate differently to how I do, who move around differently to how I do, who physically are different to me, who think differently to me. Some of these people may self-recognise as being disabled, others would not. I also have a lot of people in my twitter stream who do, some who don’t.
So what’s the headline about, well I happen to think we have an opportunity right now, an opportunity to engage people with disability sport, with disabled people and with what they can achieve in life or sport. There is an appetite, an opportunity, an excitement from the general public. A chance to, dare I say it ‘normalise’ disability, I know, I know, but the point I’m trying to make is that many people who only ever glance out the corner of their eyes, and those who blatantly stare at someone with a disability strolling down the street, have the chance to see what disabled people can, and do, achieve. They have the opportunity to learn, to watch, to engage. I think we should all be welcoming this chance.
….and yet my twitter stream has lots of people complaining about language, about how people refer to disability, about people getting it wrong. There are concerns about being too patronising, or claiming people are superhuman when really they’re just getting on with their lives. I thought Georgie Bingham summarised it quite well in her blog post about reporting the Paralympics. There have also been a couple examples of athletes getting into trouble with other athletes for dissing their sport or their efforts.
I know language is important, I know it *is* worth considering how we communicate. I also know that many, many people are currently engaging with the Paralympics who don’t have every day contact with people who are disabled, or don’t know that they do. People are interested, they are ready and waiting to be inspired. Some of them are alo nervous, worried about getting it wrong, offending someone or misunderstanding them. Please, please can we focus positively and educate people but let’s not get all huffy about people who get it wrong, not the first time anyway. I think as a society we have a long way to go until people are comfortable with disability, there is lots that needs to improve, but let’s take people with us on that journey. Let’s educate not bitch. I think we’re far more likely to change perceptions and have a lasting legacy if we bring people with us and do so positively.
I’m doing something very unusual, I’m taking a 15min break this morning at work!! I’m doing this so I can share some of the brilliant responses to my earlier tweet in which I shared that I had challenged myself to fall in love with LinkedIn next month.
Luckily my tweet got an instant response, some people who wanted to share the challenge, such as @ColinWren
There was some instant feedback re groups from @AMCunningham
A response, with a hidden warning from @MartinHowitt
and my absolute favourite response so far from @JeanetteLeech
So what do you think? Are you a LinkedIn fan? Do you use it? Love it or loathe it I’ll love to know your thoughts…
Seven days after the spectacular opening ceremony of the 30th Olympiad, something quite remarkable has happened, Team GB is sitting third in the medals table. Seven days in and we have 14 Gold Medals, 7 Silver and 8 Bronze. That’s not it, the tally will continue to rise. Who’d have thought it.
Well seemingly Royal Mail had thought of it. They are issuing special stamps to celebrate each win of a Team GB Gold. Team GB Gold Medal stamps will feature an action image of each Team GB member or team that wins gold this summer and perhaps most impressively the stamps are all due to be on sale in at least 500 Post Offices within 24 hours of the Gold medal win. Thinking about it maybe they didn’t think we’d be as successful as we have been!
Even better than Gold Medal Stamps though, are Gold Medal Postboxes. To further honour the successes of Team GB, the Royal Mail have a team of people on standby to paint one post box Gold in the home town of each medal winner (pairs will get a Gold Post Box in each of their home towns and teams of more than two will have one in a location of significance to the whole team). The post boxes will be painted within a couple of days of the win, and the website features photos of each post box and the address so you could go visit.
An inspired response from Royal Mail in honour of some seriously inspiring performances.
There are two twitter conversations in the last twelve hours that have encouraged me to put fingers to keyboard – one was a discussion with @ermintrude2 @martinhowitt @copperbird @HelenHSAUK @jaxrafferty about obituaries and whether you should have ‘live obituaries’ and the other with a similar group and @timolloyd and @paulcoxon81 about social media and whether it can be taught.
You may be sat there wondering how the two can be linked, I’m going to suggest that they are, because they’re fundamentally about recognition and acceptance. Last night I posted my grandfather’s obituary from the local paper and I was delighted to receive comments from people who had read it and felt like they knew something of my Grandad. I guess there was a sense of recognition, I have a pride in being associated with such a great man (who if I’m honest is possibly no more or less great than anyone’s Grandad but I’m particularly proud of him because he was mine!) and I get a warm glow when other people also recognise in him what I experienced.
I was also remembering my first boss, who had worked for over 35 years in Special Education in Ireland when he retired. He spent about six months receiving awards and accolades, being dined and respected…all very definitely due, but we were talking over a cuppa on one of his last days at work and he remarked that he didn’t understand why it had taken him to retire, for people to encourage him. He was one of the most supportive people I have ever worked with, he saw my potential and invested a lot in me, building my confidence and belief. He took the time for me, we would often have early evening chats over tea once the rest of the department had emptied out. He was a truly great man, who had a significant influence on me and my thinking….and evidently on many other people’s. It did leave me wondering whether he would have had a better experience if he had received just some of that recognition earlier in his career.
So, how does that relate to suggestions about teaching social media. Well I guess for me, it all comes down to the same thing, recognition and acceptance. Anyone who can remember their childhood (I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt like this) can probably remember the mix of excitement and fear when you goto school for the first time (I felt something similar when I went to my first OU tutorial a few months ago) or when you join a new club, or move house, or start a new job – that sense of potential, wrapped up in a basal level of concern that you might not be accepted. That you might not fit. That you might get it wrong. I’m not sure that those of us who have been using social media for some time are necessarily the best people to advise on how to encourage or support people to use it, we’re already convinced or we wouldn’t be here. That said I do think people need to be comfortable to learn publicly, to risk making errors in public (most social media platforms are very public), to have a go, to contact people and risk that they won’t reply, to realise that there are slightly subtle differences in online communication, people may not reply because they don’t see something/are too busy but that doesn’t equate to ignoring someone – it took me a long time to feel comfortable with not trying to catch up with conversations.
So, what is this rambly post all about. I guess I have an overriding sense that we could all encourage each other a bit more than we do. In some way I suppose that is what #ff on twitter is about (although I don’t do that!) I hope it is also something of what Acknolwedgers is about too. Some public recognition. Maybe ‘live obituaries’ are a step too far, but perhaps an occasional public recognition or acknowledgement wouldn’t go a miss.
We rarely understand the totality of someone’s experience so if in doubt, a virtual high five, a word of encouragement, a response to their tweet, won’t do you any harm and it might have a considerable impact on the person stood at the edge of the circle trying to figure out how to join in. Go on, pay someone a compliment or give them an acknowledgement today.
I was in London at the weekend, and again for work today, and on both occasions I’ve been struck by the new BA Olympics adverts. A tongue-in-cheek series focusing on the Olympics and encouraging people not to fly, instead promoting staying home to support Team GB during the Olympics and Paralympics.
There are a series of billboard and tube adverts too, and you can even type in your postcode on the BA website and create your own advert featuring a plane down your very own street, just click the link and enter your postcode.
It will be interesting to see how this campaign works for BA, I’ve always liked a spot of reverse psychology and I for one will be keeping an eye out for summer holiday bargains during the Olympic season. Until then, I’ll be supporting Team GB and their #homeadvantage all the way.
Earlier this week I had the absolute pleasure of attending #innopints4 in Totnes. This was the first night off, and night out, I’d had in some time. During the evening I made a throw away comment to @phillirose about not being able to commit to meeting up on a particular day, because I wasn’t sure of my plans for the next while. Later on that evening when checking out how people had found it I noticed this tweet from @oerthepond
I was a bit confused, we were sat at the same table in the same pub and Kathryn hadn’t asked what I meant by the comment, but maybe the opportunity didn’t arise or she didn’t feel comfortable to. I read a certain incredulous tone in that tweet, maybe it was just the hmmm, maybe it was the question mark, maybe it wasn’t there at all, but I thought I’d use this post as an opportunity to explain further.
I can’t actually remember the last time I confidently planned something and didn’t allow a thought to flash into my mind that it might not happen for some reason. I can’t remember the last time I decided I would go away for a weekend or book a holiday or arrange a night out, without considering the consequences for other people if I had to bail at the last minute. My Dad has been living with cancer for four years and ten months now. He has been told he has months to live on five occasions, he has had a terminal diagnosis for the past couple of months and has been receiving palliative chemotherapy since April, the absolute last treatment they can give him to try and keep him alive, or dying well. This week his consultant agreed to continue his chemo for two more courses (6 weeks), his scan results suggest that it seems to be stopping his tumour from bleeding as much and none of them have got any larger, it also discovered a blood clot that they’d normally treat with warfarin but can’t given his other meds/blood loss they’ll just leave it and hope it doesn’t cause any problems. The hope is that he will live long enough to meet his second grandchild that my sister is expecting in six weeks. Knowing what my Dad is like with a target he may even manage that, I hope for him he does, but I wouldn’t be betting on it myself.
In an old post I tried to explain the cancer rollercoaster:
There are so many unknowns and so little certainty, the immediate reflection is that it can feel overwhelming at times. It’s like a constant faulty rollercoaster ride that you can’t get off, occasionally it slows, in fact sometimes it stops just long enough for you to feel rational/balanced/normal again then it’s like it flies off again, throwing any sense of equilibrium out the side of the ride with you…Then of course there is a continual, constant balancing act of making the right call around priorities in life. The hard thing about knowing someone you love is terminally ill is that it provides a lens of constant reflection, every decision (if you allow it) could take on a significance of monumental proportions. Well maybe I’m being a little dramatic, perhaps not every decision, cocopops or muesli for breakfast shouldn’t have a massive effect, but knowing whether to visit tonight or wait until tomorrow could.
Of late life has got even more complicated, my 94 year old grandfather is in hospital. Mogs has been ill, insignificant an issue you might think, but trust me trying to put ear drops in a cat single handedly, or being around regularly to give him five pills twice a day, alongside the five trips to the vet, has been a bit of a pressure. Work is work, which means it is invariably busy and there are never enough hours in the day. In addition to that Dad’s health is very up and down, he has had almost as many emergency admissions since he started palliative chemo as he has routine trips to get the chemo, he also still has to have regular blood transfusions and his picc line flushing.
The reality is that I do feel like most of the time I’m living on quicksand. It seems that the minute I take one step forward, something more happens that drags me down or back. I am beginning to feel exhausted with the uncertainty of life, and worse still I’m starting to feel it rubbing off on other people in my life, rarely in a helpful manner. It is incredibly debilitating not being able to plan or consider a future longer than a few hours away. The simple fact is that I can not plan more than one day at a time, sometimes more than a couple hours at a time – of course life isn’t that simple to live in such a way, so I’m left with one of two options, plan and risk the plan being disrupted, or don’t plan and don’t worry about letting anyone down. I find myself juggling those strategies all the time, at work, in my life, with friends, and certainly I don’t really feel like I have a life blueprint for anything past the immediate future.
What that means in a literal fashion is that I’m wary of making long term commitments, I’m increasingly wary of making short term commitments too. I’m meant to be at my OU Residential School next week and only booked my train tickets today – sacrificing affordable travel for the security of not booking tickets I then wouldn’t get to use. I have no holidays planned, although I have got a weekend planned in London in a couple weeks thanks to the awesomeness of FB who organised it, and I do have two days booked off work for one of my closest friend’s weddings in August. That said I’m sat looking at the hen night invite and toying with going or not – I don’t want to let them down, I don’t want to promise to go and then have to cancel at the last minute, that said it could be the dressing up as a flight attendant that is putting me off committing to that decision too!
Someone said to me today that you couldn’t make my life up at the moment, if you wrote it as a script for a soap opera you’d be told it was too dramatic and too unrealistic, no-one would believe it would happen like this. What that means of course is that when I make a commitment I have to trust that the people I’m making it with don’t mind if I cancel, or that they have an understanding of the pressure that I am (and by association some of the closest people to me are) under all the time. The great thing about #innopints is that @martinhowitt @carlhaggerty @fergusbisset @phillirose and @markbigsw are all such brilliantly generous and empathic people that while the last thing in the world I’d have wanted to do was cancel, I felt safe that they’d understand if I had to.
Support like that isn’t always easy to come by, this week they were my lifeline in the quicksand. Thank you lovely people.
At lunchtime today we had a meeting at work to discuss social media, with a particular focus on twitter. I met with a few colleagues in December and showed them how to use twitter, I wrote a post about it here and at the time asked people for their advice, which I had intended to write up in another post. Life took over and I never wrote the post, so today I asked the twittersphere some further questions (see above) and the responses are as follows.
What’s the point of twitter?
> What’s the point of talking? – @MartinHowitt
> What’s the point of talking, what’s the point of having a view and expressing it? – @Mikey3982
> Point of twitter, from the opinion of a young person:https://twitter.com/#!/DocNicola/status/162562761103114242 - via @JeremyPearson
What would you never do?
> Game follower numbers - @MartinHowitt
What twitter mistake do you most regret?
> Using the wrong account – @Phillirose
> Getting into pointless debates - @MartinHowitt
> Biggest twitter mistake was not getting something that was a joke and responding to it seriously @NursingTimes carving turkey! – @HelenHSAUK
What’s your favourite twitter success/outcome?
> Connecting with people over time, leading to mutual referrals over work/play – @phillirose
> Greeted last night at fab @jaimeelewis @HelenHSAUK #personalisation book launch as if everyone KNEW me! – @whoseshoes
> Meeting great tweeps offline. They know who they are - @MartinHowitt
> Almost all my current and ongoing work has it’s roots in a Twitter conversation. Weapon of choice! - @NatAltDesign
> Best twitter wins I have had are with solutions to ongoing technical failures. They need addressing, and publicly. Handy. – @zerosandones
So there you have it, the wisdom of the crowd. I’ve not got an awful lot to add, I’m shoulder to shoulder with everyone, especially Martin H, for me twitter is an opportunity to connect and chat – why not. I’ve met some amazing people, some I’ve not yet met in person, some I have, and I’m confident that many more are out there to connect with. If you’re new to twitter, don’t worry too much, jump in and see where it gets you.
You’ll notice that the successes and points of twitter far outnumber the mistakes and what not to do – so just have a go, we’re a friendly bunch.
Pick what you’re interested in…
- @C0tt0n1 @CharStamper thanks both, think am gonna give it a miss - neither of you sound massively convinced!! tweeted 17 hours ago
- @Samhudmiller @CollegeofSW I'll be blogging that session on the @LSE_SCEIP project website soon so wld love to carry on this convo #cclive13 tweeted 17 hours ago
- @C0tt0n1 @CharStamper is it worth a watch on +1 and/or will I just end up shouting at the TV? tweeted 17 hours ago
- RT @isleofeigg: Pls RT Calling all DOCTORS Amazing GP job in Eigg Small Isles & West Lochaber! West coast Scotland at its best. http://t.co… tweeted 17 hours ago
- @Samhudmiller @CollegeofSW and the discussion focused on whether individual's have a personal professional responsibility to prioritise tweeted 17 hours ago
- @Samhudmiller hi Sam, was quoting Owen Davies from @CollegeofSW in those #cclive13 tweets...the college have plans to support that capacity tweeted 17 hours ago
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