- learn about the conceptual framework Hodges' model. A tool that can help integrate HEALTH and SOCIAL CARE, INFORMATICS and EDUCATION. The model is situated, facilitates person-centredness, integrated - holistic care and reflective practice. A new site using Drupal is an ongoing aim - the creation of a reflective workbench. Email: h2cmng @ yahoo.co.uk Welcome

Thursday, June 20, 2019

RCN Congress 2019 i

Last month I finally attended a Congress of The Royal College of Nurses. The time was my own: from the Sunday evening to the Thursday. I'm really grateful to the NW Branch for some financial support as I did stay over, even though it was on my doorstep being in Liverpool. I live between what is the city of my birth (L9, Longmoor Lane) and Manchester.

I knew beforehand that it was unlikely that my proposed item for discussion was unlikely to be accepted. This was immediately obvious when I read the final agenda. Even then there were additions as I could see the mechanics of Congress. There were many more important, timely, critical issues to discuss and debate. What stands out though is not just the funding support but the fact of being encouraged to write something, which wasn't wasted as I posted my item in February (a living draft - that may have a long tail). The human side was inevitably in evidence too: accessibility issues, misunderstandings, things said, things apologised for and vulnerable and minority groups acknowledged and championed. This isn't nursing navel-gazing either. From local experiences, to national there was also an international and global view. Students, the future: were very much in evidence and Congress learned - or more likely were reminded - that they can be disruptive, unpredictable, energetic and they have a voice.

As I watched, listened and learned, the organisation (that's the event itself...) is equally and variously: tried and tested, slick, flexible, responsive, progressive, accepting, friendly, caring!, strident, testing, emotional (yes, moving), celebratory, tiring, educational, inspiring, social and potentially a bit overwhelming ... As you may of gathered - the adage; "you get out of things what you put in" applies. As is often the case I did not do as intended and 'network'. Congress acknowledged the overwhelming/isolating sense in extolling people to reach out to the people around them. If nurses cannot do that then we are in trouble. I kept meeting the same people and it was a great support to have that connection and company. That said, the lack of places to sit at an evening social did not lend itself to getting know fellow members. Standing at a narrow bar eating a hot meal was helped by having to share the ergonomic challenges; an unfortunate but helpful ice-breaker. This was raised as an issue at Congress itself.

There was a political undercurrent with several references and overheard comments pertaining to the RCN's role in negotiating the last pay deal and last year's Extraordinary General Meeting. There is unfinished business here. Not just for the RCN, but the government too. This debacle undermines trust on so many levels, especially after the past decade as experienced by nurses on the 'shop floor'. If that is not painful enough, this matters because it is corrosive generally. While choice matters and yes, health care is an 'industry', the vast majority of us do not want to work in a 'shop'.* We know where to find all the concepts associated with politics in Hodges' model. But, as the social and intra- interpersonal (mental health) domains have atrophied, we must ask where is the NHS on the political grid? A grid that also impacts the whole NHS workforce, social care (don't ask!) and vitally the shaping of career choices for would-be future nurses.

Post ii to follow ...

* How times change? I smile ruefully of how over several decades nurse colleagues have rhetorically suggested that they may look for a job at M&S or John Lewis. What price the retail sector now..? Another post ...?