Keep It Going

This month started with reflection on some key messages of NHS Scotland 2014 and will end with consideration of the event’s main theme: the challenge of sustaining and spreading good and innovative practice. How can we make others aware of the work we are doing to improve our services and ensure that good things are not just happening in isolated pockets within this huge organisation that is our national health service?

There are many ways in which we can promote our work but they do require that wee bit of effort. Thinking differently about a practice development project you are sure no-one would be interested in (you are wrong by the way), creating that poster (not as hard as you think), applying to present it at conferences (please note that this word is plural!), the list goes on, but the newest tool in our kitbag is social media.

If you are one of the people who are sceptical of or unsure about the power social media can wield let’s consider the extend to which messages about positive practice can can be spread using social media platforms.

In my last blog I shared videos which were launched at the event to promote some great work at Yorkhill Children’s Hospital – What Matters to Me has been viewed 1346 times and I’m on My Way a massive 22,240 times.

So far this month I have composed 262 tweets promoting messages, practice and research relevant to my professional interests. These will potentially have been seen by up to 420 people who follow my Twitter account, and almost half of these tweets have been re-tweeted by my followers and their followers, and so on, reaching up to a potential 59,000 people.

To date almost 4300 people from across the globe have read my blog, and over 600 of these people have accessed posts via Twitter. Even more impressive (for me at least) is that tweets mentioning me by name this month have potentially reached over 43,000 – now that’s a good way to build a reputation!

Is this social media thing a good use of our professional time and effort? I think so. Do we need to be more able to see our practice as being worthy of sharing? Absolutely. Can we afford not to? No way!

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One Year On

365 days, 21 posts, 2133 views in 36 countries, 28 comments, 23 mentions, 28 followers, 202 shares, 25 ‘likes’, and a partridge in a pear tree!

It doesn’t seem like a year since I started my blog, but they do say that the years get shorter the older you get. As I had a significant birthday this year it appears that this particular adage is holding true. Yet, despite the fact that the year has disappeared at lightening speed, I feel that I have learned a lot.

I have learned that blogging is a powerful and effective way to promote and discuss the professional issues I feel passionate about, and make connections with like minded people.

I have learned that I place exceptionally high expectations upon myself and need to moderate these to an acceptable level – Out with the Old, In with the New.

I have learned that people are actually interested in what I do – A Tweet in the Life – and that I can write in a way others find entertaining and thought provoking – What’s in a Name?.

I have learned that I can inspire others to contribute to my blog and share their thoughts and experiences too – Therapy Through the Looking Glass – and that I can be quite persuasive as well (more guest blogs expected later this year).

I have learned that writing a good blog is a craft and takes time; and gauging the right length to make it interesting and informative without boring the reader to tears is not easy.

I have learned that it is challenging to write in a professional capacity and ensure that I am not breeching anyone’s confidentiality or trust – Adding Fuel to the Flames and Communication Matters.

I have learned that I am part of a growing community of Allied Health Professionals who are spreading our message about the vital role we play in supporting the mental and physical health of people in our communities – AHPScot Blog and Ayrshire Health to name but a few.

But most of all I have learned that blogging is something I really enjoy doing and want to continue, and I intend to bring as many other people along for the journey with me as I can. So buckle up people; here comes Year 2!

A Tweet in the Life

I saw an interesting use of twitter recently. NHS Highland use their account (@NHSHWhoWeAre) to showcase services by having members of staff tweet about their working lives for a week. The “week in the life” that caught my eye was by the Caithness & Sutherland Speech & Language Therapy Team. I was interested to read about the diversity of roles members of the team undertook so, in a similar vein, I have decided to blog about my own clinical week “twitter-style” – each entry 140 characters or less!

Tuesday

Working on research proposal this morning: my first attempt at a qualitative study. Great support from NHST and SDHI – hope I get funding.

Two multi-disciplinary sessions this afternoon – first with Dietitian and second with Clinical Psychologist. Teamwork in CMHT is essential.

Joint initial assessment with Dietitian – teenager with suspected ASD and a long standing food phobia. Sharing knowledge and resources.

Working with Psychologist supporting young man with Asperger’s – blunt communication style having significant impact on family relationships.

Wednesday

Met with Social Worker from Early Years Service this morning – having difficulty communicating with young mum with post-natal depression.

Lunch meeting to organise Phase 2 of Communication Champions training with Richmond Fellowship. More staff want to do training – RESULT!

Visit to client with PTSD – mute for 10 yrs. Been using iPad to communicate for 3 months: family relationships and confidence improving.

Thursday

Quick visit to some Communication Champions first thing to provide guidance on support plan for resident with complex communication issues.

Meeting with young woman new to CMHT – CPN and Psychologist want a second opinion re: Asperger’s Syndrome. Difficult differential diagnosis.

Start afternoon with home visit. Client with Bipolar Disorder has language difficulties following ECT. Conversation flowing more easily now.

Off to local library for afternoon clinic: clients love this city centre venue – library staff even provide tea, coffee and biscuits for us.

Friday

Getting ready for a long clinic this morning – 9:30 to 1:30 – looks like lunch will be optional again!

Client with schizophrenia referred with very poor speech. Change of antipsychotic medication and speech much improved. Happy I’m not needed.

Assessing young woman with Asperger’s: confused because information doesn’t seem to apply – direct her towards resources for women with AS.

Seeing client with PTSD and low self-esteem. Dissatisfaction with voice contributing to problems: working to improve acceptability.

Client with history of alcohol dependency and anxiety reports sudden expressive language difficulties. Minor impairment having major impact.

Finish day meeting with student nurse who wants to learn about Asperger’s Syndrome – mutual love of The Big Bang Theory useful for examples.

And that was the week (or the tweet) that was.