So, the week began with Adult Safeguarding. Safeguarding is a course that has been reviewed yearly throughout my career. It can for some seem like ‘it is all obvious’, and ‘we know this already’ but it is essential in any role where you are working with people. It enables us to ensure we know what it means, and how you can use the knowledge to protect, prevent and act on safeguarding issues. I always come away a little more enlightened – as the law and definition around safeguarding do change.
Shortly after the lecture, I had to meet the Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing of Sheffield Hallam. It was only to discuss my upcoming Council of Deans Leadership programme, and what the university can do to support me. For some reason, I was extremely nervous, and I am sure I spent twenty minutes just rambling about why I felt like it was valuable to me as a student, and a future professional. She was not imposing, or intimidating; I believe it was just upon seeing the title and doing the dangerous tactic of making predetermined ideas in my head to prepare myself. She was instead friendly, encouraging and enthusiastic.
One of the planned lectures on Tuesday was intended to focus on a form of communication called Makaton. It was due to be presented by the partners in learning group, but they were unfortunately not able to attend. We still discussed the importance of using the method of communication, and in adapting how we communicate with individuals in a way suitable to their needs and requests. The importance of using different communication styles fed nicely into the next lecture which focused on the APIE/R nursing and social work framework. The main focus of the lecture was being split up into different groups and expressing our knowledge of each step which could be presented to the rest of the group. The care planning frameworks do not work unless there is good communication with individuals.
The first half of the week was predominately taken up with university lectures, and self-study. Wednesday seemed to be the day when I rushed to complete the errands that I had unfortunately left to the last minute, and due to delays in completing these, I missed out on the opportunity to undertake a volunteering induction that I had expressed an interest in. It is horrible to feel like you are letting someone down, but other plans, unfortunately, have to take precedence. A key learning outcome with the university is that you cannot always please everyone, even yourself. On the latter half of the day, I offered to pick up a Valentine’s card for a relative, as she was not in a position to look for one herself. As I was looking for a ‘dear husband’ card, I had begun to acquire some looks of bemusement, and unfortunately disgust from some of the other people looking. It highlights that we can, at times, be a very judgemental species, regardless of the context of me looking at the cards there should not be a situation when people are judged on sexual orientation. Part of me wanted to challenge a particular individual, and perhaps educate her, but I know not every battle can be won and it is really important where those conversations take place. In a busy shop did not seem an appropriate place to be having the discussion.
Skipping ahead a little here, but today’s final session of the day had focused on how personal values can have an impact on how we work with other people. We all have values that impact all aspects of our daily life, but it is important that we acknowledge these to be able to work with others. If we dismiss them, we misrepresent who we are as individuals, and it makes it difficult to understand the values of others. The lecture made me think back to Wednesday and how my values were clashing with the person making judgements, without directly expressing them, but the situation meant I had to accept both sets of values and move on in that particular circumstance.
Moving on from that, Thursday was Valentine’s day. I am always amazed by how excited I get over the little things, even now; and I am still someone that complains about the commercialisation of any event/holiday. Three things made me smile on this day:
Thursday also brought with it my long-awaited Ancestry DNA results. Which are very underwhelming, but are in line with what I expected. At the start of the year, I became a little obsessed with looking into my family tree and managed to trace back my ancestry to around 1600 on both my maternal and paternal line. All of whom lived around Doncaster, Shropshire and in varying places in Wales. My DNA result basically confirmed exactly that. It could be that they were just very homely people, or that their social mobility was limited as they predominately had jobs as servants, farm hands, or coal workers.
Abi’s DNA profile, on the other hand, was a colourful little rainbow, and it also fits in perfectly with the ancestry I discovered with her having 4th Great Grandfather who was one of the earliest settlers of Singapore, and who received not one, but two knighthoods from the Queen of Portugal and the King of Spain.
I recommend that everyone takes a few minutes out of the day to research their tree. Now it might not spring up a few knighted members of your family, but it is interesting to have an opportunity and insight into how you came to be.
The week was rounded up by much more studying. I might have forgotten to turn the sound on for my alarm, but I still managed to spend five hours in the library researching and refining a plan for my next assignment. I am finding that I am gradually branching out into more and more sources. A little tip is to look into the reference lists of books, they often offer up more avenues of information that you can begin to delve further into a particular subject area.
If you get the chance, check out Abi’s new blog https://yoocanfind.com/Story/1798/feelin-wheel-good
I am maybe a little too pushy at times, in trying to encourage her to make her voice heard, as I believe she has a lot of personal experience and knowledge to share with others. The stories and experiences of individuals with a disability are the ones that need greater light shining upon; in all kinds of media. It is the best source of education and on developing peoples understanding of what it is like to live with a disability. If there was more coverage, and education using these personal experience it may enable us to live in a more inclusive and understanding society.
The last thing, I promise. If you have a spare five minutes sign up to the Anthony Nolan register to potentially give someone the opportunity for a lifesaving stem cell transplant. It is something I signed up for around 10 years ago, and only remembered I was on the register when I received a cute little card from them in the mail to update my details. You may never be called upon to donate, but if you do you could potentially save a life.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I will hopefully post again soon.