Technorati href="http://www.technorProfile Thinking Nurse: June 2005

Thinking Nurse

This blog will reflect my interests in learning disabilities, nursing, nursing theory, philosophy and politics and my general interests in the arts and literature. (Nursing is an art as well as a science!) Philosophy and nursing have been intrinsically linked since the days of Socrates, his mother was a midwife, and taught him everything he knew!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Person Centred Planning and Strategic Service Planning

A new pack from the Foundation for People With Learning Disabilities offers an interesting set of tools and techniques to bring together the information and ideas being generated by the Person Centred Planning process currently being rolled out across the country.

It has been shown that where Person Centred Planning is implemented properly, and it's objectives taken seriously by services, it can lead to major improvements in the quality of life of people with learning disabilities (For example see Greig 2005 'The Story So Far').

Now the Foundation has put together a way that service leaders can bring together the information being generated by these plans as a source of data and ideas for the long term and strategic planning of their services, hopefully leading to further improvements in the support and care offered to people with learning disabilities.

The pack is available here: Shaping the Future Together

There will be a one day conference in London on 30th June on issues around Person Centred Planning, called Making It Work Speakers will include Rob Greig of the Valuing People Support Team, Eric Emerson from the Institute of Health Research at Lancaster University, and Barbara McIntosh from the Foundation for People With Learning Disabilities.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Restraints - The Nursing Debate

JenSN has started an interesting discussion about restraints, that goes to the root of nursing's values, its' relationship with the patient/client, and it's relationship with other professions.
Her post is here:Restraints - Who Decides? She asks the question, who decides when to begin using restraint, and who decides when restraint should end?

I made my own little contribution to this debate too, I was a little concerned about the emphasis of one of the contributions, which did not seem to me to consider the rights of the patient...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Royal Society Of Medicine Forum For Intellectual Disability Student Prize 2005

'Thinking Nurse" would like to be the first to congratulate Jadwiga Irska of Manchester University and Salford University on winning the Royal Society of Medicine Forum for Intellecutual Disability Student Prize.

Jadwiga won the prize for an innovative and interesting health promotion project in a forensic institution for people with learning disabilities.

In particular she looked at sexual health promotion issues, around preventing testicular cancer, in a population that included people who had committed sexual offences.

Irska took on the ethical and other issues involved in a courageous and innovative way, and fully deserves the prize awarded by the RSM.

Jadwiga Irska is a student of learning disability nursing and social work at Manchester and Salford Universities

Friday, June 24, 2005

A night with the backpackers

I've just arrived back from a rather cool night spent in Central London.

I went down for a very interesting meeting, followed by an excellent dinner, then back to my 'hotel' - actually a backpackers hostel near Russell Square.

I dont think I could have chosen a better place to stay - the facilities were admittedly basic - I had to share a room with 2 backpackers, but this did not seem like an inconvenience given the friendly relaxed atmosphere.

I met some really interesting people, from every part of the world, who were only too happy to chat, and made full use of the 3am bar, I think at one point I even had a dance. I even met a woman who works as a 'Applied Behavioural Analyst' (whatever that is) with children with autism in Missouri USA, so we had plenty to chat about.

I am sure that had I stopped a more expensive, and more stuffy establishment, I would have retired quietly to my room, and missed out on a mind-broadening experience, and on meeting some rather cool people.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Comprehensive Nursing Blog Links

I've tried to keep my own links list up to date with the finest examples of nurse blogging, (as well as many other links that might be useful or interesting to people interested in learning disabilities, nursing, philosophy and politics). My approach has been rather wide and eclectic, rather than focussed and specific, so when it comes to a full grasp of one particular area, my lists fall down.

I have to take my hat off to Mediblogopathy, a blog that has managed to compile what must be THE most comprehensive list of nursing blogs, and which I will be treating as the authoritative source for such information, unless anyone can show me a better one!

In the meantime, I will persevere with my own quirky, eclectic (and unfortunately partial) method of compiling my linklist. Hope you find something in there to provoke, stimulate, inform and entertain!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Socialism and Excellence: Reply to Smirnoff

'Bloggers of the Left Unite think it is funny to parody the language and activities of scoialists. Sometimes they do it very successfully, once I almost laughed.

Their most recent post, and their link to The People's Cube got me thinking however.

There is a common myth that socialists want to make everyone 'the same', that socialism would stifle creativity and excellence, making people into mindless clones, all singing from a little red hymnsheet.

Socialists would counter that it is capitalism that encourages mindless conformity, even packaging 'rebellion' into a neatly wrapped commodity for sale at profit.

Here is the reply I posted to 'Comrade Smirnoff':


The 'People's Cube' has nothing in common with socialism. Those who accuse socialists of wishing to create a society where there is no intellectual challenge, no opportunity for excellence are simply projecting the mushy braindead capitalist MTV culture onto socialism.

Karl Marx defined socialism as 'From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs'.

What are the blindingly obivous implications of this statement?

1. That Marx understood that human beings have different abilities and needs.
2. People with high abilities would be encouraged to express these to the full in a socialist society.
3. People with lower abilities should also contribute to society, we xhould find ways to enable them to do this, rather than rejecting, segregating or impoverishing such people.
4. Socialism does not try to make people the same. It recognises and celebrates their differences, emphasising unity and solidarity NOT homogeneity.

Regurgitating anti-socialist propaganda may be mildly funny, but you seem intelligent enough to recognise when such propaganda is groundless. Is it worth maligning the people who are struggling to create a better world, simply for the sake of a chuckle?

Socialism and Excellence: Reply to Smirnoff

The People's Cube got me thinking however.

There is a common myth that socialists want to make everyone 'the same', that socialism would stifle creativity and excellence, making people into mindless clones, all singing from a little red hymnsheet.

Socialists would counter that it is capitalism that encourages mindless conformity, even packaging 'rebellion' into a neatly wrapped commodity for sale at profit.

Here is the reply I posted to 'Comrade Smirnoff':


The 'People's Cube' has nothing in common with socialism. Those who accuse socialists of wishing to create a society where there is no intellectual challenge, no opportunity for excellence are simply projecting the mushy braindead capitalist MTV culture onto socialism.

Karl Marx defined socialism as 'From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs'.

What are the blindingly obivous implications of this statement?

1. That Marx understood that human beings have different abilities and needs.
2. People with high abilities would be encouraged to express these to the full in a socialist society.
3. People with lower abilities should also contribute to society, we xhould find ways to enable them to do this, rather than rejecting, segregating or impoverishing such people.
4. Socialism does not try to make people the same. It recognises and celebrates their differences, emphasising unity and solidarity NOT homogeneity.

Regurgitating anti-socialist propaganda may be mildly funny, but you seem intelligent enough to recognise when such propaganda is groundless. Is it worth maligning the people who are struggling to create a better world, simply for the sake of a chuckle?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Learning Disability Week In Oxford

'Learning Disability Week' is nearly here, a week dedicated to raising the profile of people with learning disabilities, people with rights to independence, to make choices, and to be included as an integral part of society.

I got this over email about some events scheduled to celebrate Learning Disability Week in Oxford. Pop along if you are in the area.

Anyone with information on other events for Learning Disability week can either post it below, or email it to me at thinkingnurseATcoolgooseDOTcom

As part of Learning Disability Week (18-25 June) the School of Health and Social Care at Oxford Brookes University, the Oxfordshire Learning Disability Trust and the Oxfordshire Learning Disability Partnership Board are jointly organising two Open Days.

Why?

These days form part of other activities that will take place in the School during the week to promote and highlight Learning Disability issues, and links with similar events throughout the UK under the auspices of Mencap.


When?

Wednesday 22nd June 10 am to 4 pm
Thursday 23rd June 10 am to 4 pm

Where?

The venue for the open days is the School of Health and Social Care at Oxford Brookes University, Marston Road Campus, Jackstraws Lane, Marston, Oxford OX£ 0FL.

Who might be interested?

The open days are aimed at:

Any member of the public who wants to find out more about learning disability issues

People with a learning disability, their parents, relatives and carers

Those who work in services for people with a learning disability

Anyone interested in working with people with a learning disability and seeking local employment opportunities in a range of different organisations

Individuals of any age who may be interested in studying for a career in health or social care, be it in learning disability nursing or other associated professional courses.

Local people who are interested in discovering the opportunities and facilities that within the School of Health and Social Care


What is on offer?

An exhibition of Art work produced by learning disabled artists

A photography exhibition with Learning Disability as a theme

Non stop video shows of dramas and documentaries that focus on or feature people with a learning disability

Discover a range of sources of information on learning disability in the Internet information centre

Stalls by local organisations, such as the Oxfordshire Learning Disability Partnership Board and Mencap, who represent the interests of people with a learning disability

Information from local organisations who provide services for people with a learning disability, including the Oxfordshire Learning Disability (NHS) Trust, about current and future employment opportunities

Advise on pursuing a career in learning disability nursing and other associated professional courses on offer at Oxford Brookes University

Information on courses that are available locally to obtain vocational (NVQ, LDAF) or professional qualifications in learning disability, such as Nursing, Social Work, Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy.

Advise on opportunities to get involved as a local volunteer in a range of different activities with VOX

Take a tour of the modern skills laboratories and other facilities at the School of Health and Social Care

Attend a range of skills training demonstrations in e.g. clinical nursing skills, communication skills and methods, massage etc.

A chance to practice some of these skills (taking blood pressure, listening to a heart beat, resuscitation) for yourself in 'Have a Go' sessions


What else?

A half day Learning Disability Nursing Student conference is organised for Thursday 23rd June, 1 - 4.30 pm on the theme of: 'Opening up New Worlds'. The conference is free of charge, but advance booking is required, and it is only open to learning disability nursing students and tutors. Speakers include:

My Life, My Choice - Advocacy Group
Sue Carmichael - National Valuing People Support Team
Yvonne Cox - Chief Executive, Oxfordshire Learning Disability (NHS) Trust
Eddy McDowall - Oxfordshire Learning Disability Partnership Board
Gail Hanrahan - Parent Consultant



'Thinking Nurse' wishes good luck to the organisers of all these events

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Would You Agree To Have Your Post Mortem Screened On Live TV?



Here's a picture of Jeremy Bentham's body - he was the philosopher most associated with the ethical principle of 'utilitarianism'.
In line with his philosophy, he wanted his body to be of some use after his death, so he had it stuffed, mounted in a wooden case and put on display at University College London.

As an atheist, I would have no objection to my body being dissected, particularly for the benefit of science, even though I have heard the rumours about what happens to body parts when medical students get hold of them!

I cannot see what harm it does to have a Post Mortem displayed live on TV for educational purposes, where there is full consent from surviving relatives. In my view, the more people understand about how their bodies work, the more likely they are to look after them.

I'd be interested in what other people feel about this issue.

Carnival of the Un-Capitalists 10

My recent post on Poverty and Health is featured in the tenth edition of the Carnival of the Uncapitalists. There are some other good posts there too, in what looks a very entertaining, informative and stimulating blog carnival.

Readers interested in issues around the rather disastrous inefficiency of the 'market' as a method of delivering healthcare should look at this old edition of the Carnival, which was specifically devoted to the topic: Carnival of the Uncapitalists: - Markets and Health Edition.

Carnival of the Uncapitalists has become my second favourite blog carnival - after The Nursing Moments Blog Carnival of course!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Infection From Bibles

Very interested in this story BBC: - MRSA Infection From Holy Scripture?

I can see a few sides to this argument:

Having a Bible at the bedside is a source of comfort to some patients.

It is nice to have something to read to take your mind off the monotony of the ward.

Is there any evidence that someone has caught an MRSA infection from the Bible?

However,

The majority of patients do not read the Bible during their stay in hospital.

Patients who want a Bible could bring their own, or request one from a Chaplain.

Bibles do not have wipe-clean covers and are not magically protected against becoming media for life-threatening infections.

If you were a patient with a compromised immune system, would you be happy to risk touching a Bible that had previously been used by an MRSA-infected patient?

Here is my suggestion to the Gideons
invest in electronic 'talking' bibles that can be easily wiped clean, and would be far more accessible to bed-ridden patients who struggle with small print and thin pages.

Or even

spend the money on providing some hospitals, doctors and nurses in 3rd world countries

Nursing Moments Number Two - Posted at CODEBLOG

Nursing Moments Two has been keenly anticipated, and now it is here!

As promised it is bigger and better than Nursing Moments Number 1!

Geena has done a great job of tieing it all together. Head over and see what you think.

Friday, June 03, 2005

UK Health and Learning Disability Network Under Threat of Closure

UK health professionals have grown to value the work of the 'Health and Learning Disability Network', affectionately known as the Janet Cobb Network after the tireless and dedicated woman who currently runs it.

The network is a method by which learning disability workers, nurses, social workers and other professionals can quickly exchange ideas and information about ideas and best practice in this rapidly changing field of health and social care.

But now the network is under threat, at a time when it is probably needed more than ever, as the realities of the size of the challenge of implementing the ambitious aims of the government white paper 'Valuing People' begin to hit home - the aims being to bring into reality the Rights, Independence, Choices and Inclusion of people with Learning Disabilities.

To date, the 'Valuing People Support Team' have funded the network, but this funding ceases in September of this year. Unless new sources of funding can be found, the network will fold.

The Foundation for People With Learning Disabilities is ready to become the host organisation for the network, but will need funding. It has been worked out that a mere £1500 from each of the 28 Strategic Health Authorities would secure the future of this invaluable source of information, and a letter has been sent to each of the SHA's by the Foundation.

So far only one has come up with the cash. Lets hope that the SHA's back this eminently useful and value for money method of disseminating good practice among learning disability professionals, before this valuable resource is lost for good. If it is lost, you can guarantee that it will not be long before much larger amounts of time and money will end up being spent rebuilding something almost identical...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Poverty and Health - Online Resources

Poverty is the major challenge to human health in the world today.

Thought I would compile a list of links and online resources that provide information on poverty and health outcomes, and ways that nurses can act to challenge poverty and the systems that create it.

This factsheet on poverty and health from the International Council of Nurses is a good starting point:

For those living in poverty the impact reaches far beyond income and monetary matters: the greatest adversities are the lost opportunities to develop essential human capabilities. Poverty is a disease that saps people’s energy, dehumanises them and creates a sense of helplessness and loss of control over one’s life. Illiteracy, ill health, malnourishment, environmental risks and lack of choices contribute to the perpetual cycle of poverty and ill health.


Here is an informative article from Healthlink on Poverty, Disability and Health:
The conditions in which poor people live and work make them and their children more vulnerable to mental and physical impairments and they are less likely to receive the health care they need. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 500 million people - between seven and 10 per cent of the world’s population - have impairments that are preventable and treatable. Over 80 per cent of these people live in developing countries.


Ill health and poverty are not confined to developing countries. This PDF from the Public Health Institute of Scotland in 2002 outlines Health Inequalities in the New Scotland
the number of people in the UK living in poverty has increased from 5 million to 14.1 million in the last 20 years. Certain groups of society face the added risk of experiencing exclusion and poverty at sometime during their lifetime. These groups include lone parents, children, young adults, women, the elderly, the disabled, members of ethnic minorities and faith communities, the unemployed and those on low pay.


Policies that seriously tackled poverty in the UK would have immediate and major effects on improving health. Have a look at these findings by Mitchell, Dorling and Shaw for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

This is a summary of a few of their major findings:
Annually, some 7,500 deaths amongst people younger than 65 could be prevented if inequalities in wealth narrowed to their 1983 levels.
The majority of lives saved from redistribution would be in the poorer areas of Britain, where 37% of 'excess' deaths would be prevented.
Some 2,500 deaths per year amongst those aged less than 65 would be prevented were full employment to be achieved. Two-thirds of these would be in areas which currently have higher than average levels of mortality, preventing 17% of the 'excess' deaths in these areas.
Some 1,400 lives would be saved per year amongst those under 15 if child poverty were eradicated (using the Government's relative definition of child poverty). This represents 92% of all 'excess' child deaths in areas of higher than average mortality


This map published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows the number of lives that could be saved every year with just a modest redistribution of wealth, back to the levels of 1983, where disparities in income were still vast:

They point out the stark fact that
Your chances of premature death are strongly related to what type of person you are (defined here by your age, sex, social class and employment status).


This page on Poverty Health and Environment contains a list of links to articles that look at environmental effects on human health and poverty.

Here is a rather hard-hitting article on poverty in the USA by the Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County: The War On Poverty
A child is born into poverty every 43 seconds. A child is born without health insurance every minute. Over 40 million Americans are not covered by health insurance of any kind including 9 million children, 90% of whom are living in working families.


Children are hit particularly hard by poverty - they are being punished for the failures of an economic system and circumstances they have had no part in creating

This report by Astrid Guttman highlights child poverty in Canada: Child Poverty, Health and Healthcare Use in Canada
This research clearly points to an inequality in the access of appropriate preventative and specialty health care among the most vulnerable children, and to hospital utilization and morbidity, which may be avoidable.


If you are lucky enough to have access to the British Medical Journal via ATHENS, this regularly updated list of articles on poverty and health is invaluable: BMJ collection; Socioeconomic Determinants of Health

This article by Lovelace Opoku-Agyemang on Nurses Working With The Poor Against Poverty highlights the work of Ghanaian Nurses;
As nurses call for investment in health, education and sound social policies, they equally have a major role to play in reducing poverty. The teaching and care that nurses render their people gives them better health. Nurses must take up the challenge to accept postings to socially deprived areas and respond to the multiple health needs of the poor.


The fact that health workers are themselves poor, leads to absenteeism, lack of motivation, poor quality of services and one of the "push" factor for migration. Health is central to overall human development and poverty reduction. To improve the health of poor people, a pro-poor health approach needs to be adopted and supported. Scaling up financial resources for health should be a priority.

The issue of the 'healthcare skills drain' hinted at in the above quote is considered in this article: BMA - The Healthcare Skills Drain
in countries which already have severe shortages of healthcare workers (fewer than one health worker per 1000 population) further loss of such workers through premature death or migration is very likely to result in loss of health services and loss of life in the countries’ populations.
.

I will also include this debate from my own blog on The question of Human Solidarity in Nursing where I argue:
The question of health itself is inextricably linked to social and economic factors, with people from the most oppressed sections of society experiencing the worst health outcomes. In my own area of nursing, for example, people with learning disabilities are 58 times more likely to die before the age of 50 than the rest of society.


Finally, (for now) I have found this article by Ainna Fawcett-Henesy on Poverty, its reduction and elimination – The contribution of nurses and midwives She points out that:

Even in western European countries, sections of the professions engage in moonlighting so that they can earn a realistic wage. Such pressures on individuals results in tired nurses and midwives who are unlikely to be able to give high-quality care to their patients and clients. In addressing the poverty agenda, WHO and all partners involved in the eradication of poverty in society must pay attention to the needs of the professions in this regard.


These are just a few of the important resources available to nurses on poverty and health. If you find others that can add to this list, please feel free to post them below.

World leaders are to meet soon in Edinburgh for the G8 summit. People from all over the world will be reminding them of the crime against humanity that is world poverty. Nurses and other healthworkers must add their voices to this angry chorus.

Cost of the War in Iraq
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