Clyde Street

Learning, Teaching, Performing

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A wiki resource for critical care nursing

I spent some time today with Holy Northam and Laura Hale setting up a Wikiversity resource for critical care nursing.

We met in the delightful surroundings of the Teaching Commons at the University of Canberra.

Ultimately the resource will be used by postgraduate critical care nursing students and critical care clinicians to develop a patient education guide that will lead to a clinical support site. The resource will include support for and education of:

  • Patients in the critical care environment
  • Families of patients
  • Staff working in critical care
  • Visitors

It was great to be part of a discussion with Holly and Laura.

Holly is a Registered Nurse and Midwife. She has spent over 30 years in critical care nursing areas. She is the convener of the Postgraduate Critical Care Nursing courses at the University of Canberra and teaches in the undergraduate Ethics and Law unit. Holly has a specialist interest in organ and tissue donation and has worked for ACT Health as the ACT Organ and Tissue Donor Coordinator.

Laura is a passionate advocate for wiki collaboration. She notes on her Wikipedia user page that “I am not a WikiMedia Foundation (WMF) employee or intern, nor am I based in WMF offices or affiliated with them in any official capacity. I just love the idea of sharing knowledge and trying to help people”. She has a particular interest in women and sport. I have found Laura’s work on gender issues in wiki production to be particularly thought provoking.

I am looking forward to supporting the development of the wiki resource and note that news of it will be shared with the tag #CCare.

Photo Credit

Critical Care – An attentive nurse and a lot of machines that go “ping”

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The Faculty of Health at the University Canberra is holding a series of 3x3x3 talks this year.

The format is:

  • 3 presenters
  • 3 slides per presentation
  • 3 minutes per presentation

The presentation share research interests. One of the three presenters at the first of these sessions used Prezi as the medium to present his ideas.

I am presenting at the next meeting on 1 June and the Prezi presentation prompted me to look at a variety of presentation formats to prepare for the meeting.

I had a look at Wridea:

I thought I might use Creative Commons’ Flickr images to illustrate these ideas. (Pdf copy of slides.)


(Rounding the Turn, Ross Thomson)

Interdisciplinary Insights

(Crowded Bus Stop, Metro Library and Archive)

Story Telling

(Dharavi on Medium Format, Akshay Mahajan)

I had a look at Comic Master‘s functionality.

I have created a Zine 3x3x3 – Keith (after thinking about Instabooks via this post).

This is a Keynote presentation shared as a QuickTime video.

Fascinating what a 3 minute opportunity can prompt!

QR Code for this post:

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First Person … Singular and Plural

I have been listening in awe to Brenda Walker on Radio National’s First Person program.

First Person is a:

… serialised reading of a published autobiography, broadcast every weekday. We aim to broadcast the best of current and classic personal narratives – including memoirs, travel writing, diaries and letters. We choose books for fine writing that communicates the author’s individual life experience, and for their personal voice – the “I” or first person pronoun.

Brenda has been reading her Reading by Moonlight: How Books Saved a Life (2010). Penguin Books note that:

The first time Brenda Walker packed her bag to go into hospital, she wondered which book to take with her. As a novelist and professor of literature, her life had been built around reading and writing. Now she was also a patient, being treated for breast cancer, fighting for her life and afraid for herself and her family. But turning to medicine didn’t mean she turned away from fiction. Books had always been her solace and sustenance, and now choosing the right one was the most important thing she could do for herself.

In Reading by Moonlight, Brenda describes the five stages of her treatment and how different books and authors helped her through the tumultuous process of recovery. As well as offering wonderful introductions and insights into the work of writers like Dante, Tolstoy, Nabokov, Beckett and Dickens, Brenda shows how the very process of reading – surrendering and then regathering yourself – echoes the process of healing.

Reading by Moonlight guides, reassures,throws light on dark places, and finds beauty in the stories that come to us in times of jeopardy. It affirms that reading can be essential to life itself.

There have been seven episodes of the book thus far. I have found them all compelling listening.

I listened particularly closely to the episode on 5 May when Brenda was discussing “the ways that narrative helps us make sense of the unfamiliar: how storytelling gives structure and meaning to the challenges we face in life”.  In that episode she talks about crafting “a  living story of light and warmth to set it down so that it might hold together”.  I think her book does that wonderfully.

On that day I thought the first person of her story moved from a singular to a plural. The warmth of the story invited me in and ‘I’ became ‘we’.

I wonder if my presence in a Faculty of Health at the University of Canberra has enabled me to accept this warmth in a different kind of way. One of my colleagues, Jo Gibson, has been helping me explore narrative in the nursing literature. She has found all sorts of new readings for me and the day before Brenda’s discussion of narrative I had been reading Rosemary Anne McEldowney‘s PhD, Shape-shifting: Stories of teaching for social change in nursing (2002) on Jo’s recommendation.

Rosemary’s PhD discusses:

Six women Pakeha/Tauiwi nurse educators from throughout New Zealand volunteered to participate in this research and share their lived experiences of teaching for social change. In-depth conversations over two years unfolded new and rich material about how and why these six women continue to teach the evaded subjects, like mental health, women’s health, community development and cultural safety. All teach in counter-hegemonic ways, opening students’ eyes to the unseen and unspoken.

Just after Brenda’s 5 May episode I was exchanging emails with another colleague, Kasia Bail, about continuing professional development for nurse practitioners in the ACT. Kasia’s emails have the delightful end note “No one runs hospitals. Nurses hold the system together but don’t have any authority”, John Menadue (2007). Kasia was drawing my attention to two talks on 17 May. I am not able to attend these and wondered if the talks were recorded somewhere so that I could learn more about the occupational culture of nurse practitioners.

As part of our exchange (and my own professional development), Kasia shared with me a 2009 paper Writing ourselves into a web of obedience: A nursing policy analysis she had written with Robert Cook, Anne Gardner, and Laurie Grealish. The paper concludes:

The discourse of hospital procedural policy situates the nurse as obedient to organisational requirements by limiting practice to a performance of actions without explicit recognition of professional autonomy. This sets up a puzzling contradiction between performance expectations from the employing organisation and the nursing profession. Writing hospital policy in the discourse of procedural directives reduces nurses’ ability to act as autonomous, critically thinking professionals, with implications for patient safety, nurse autonomy and the professional status of nursing.

In two days I had received some very special insights from three remarkable people.

Each of them challenged me to think about personal pronouns in narrative and took me back to an autobiographical part of my PhD (1989) story. In a section on Account-as-Text, I wrote:

I do want to conclude this Preface with a mention of the thesis as text. I have addressed you directly as a reader and have persevered with personal pronouns. I have ordered the text and constructed it. In doing so I am reminded of Miller Mair’s (1987) suggestion that:

Words are substantial, like paint or clay. They are not transparent and secondary. They tell their own tales. They muscle in wherever they are used to influence everything around them with the stories they wish to tell. They bring with them baggage from other places and other times. They lead off in directions that speak of their relationships with other words and other things. Words, and the choice of words in relationship, create realities of their own and do not point to things we suppose are separate and of superior importance. Kelly, Bannister and a Story-Telling Psychology, p.16.

Photo Credits


Kent Oncology Centre

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Graduation 2011

The University of Canberra is holding its 2011 Graduation Ceremonies in the Great Hall of Parliament.

Yesterday evening I attended the Faculty of Health’s Ceremony.

The Hall was packed with graduands from the Faculty of Health and the Faculty of Applied Science.

Whenever I process at a graduation ceremony and have the privilege to sit on the platform I am reminded about the feelings I had at my graduation in York in 1973.

The Great Hall was packed with parents, family and friends last night. It is wonderful to be at an event that overflows pride and happiness.

Amongst those graduating were:

  • Fifteen graduands from the Bachelor of Coaching Science degree.
  • Three Honours’ students in Sport Studies.
  • Seventeen graduands in the Bachelor of Sports Management.
  • Sixteen graduands in the Bachelor of Sports Media.
  • Twelve graduands in joint sport degrees.

The student speaker at the ceremony was Lisa Kelly. Lisa was the recipient of the Herbert Burton Medal awarded to a graduating student “deemed to have achieved outstanding academic results coupled with a significant contribution in any of a variety of ways to the wider community”.

The guest speaker was Tom Calma. Tom is a member of the University’s Council. He spoke about collaboration and respect and shared with the 2011 graduates the power of working together to be leaders in our communities.

The formalities of the evening ended with Tom’s speech and thereafter it was off to informal celebrations for the graduates, families and friends.

I drove home to Mongarlowe thinking about the brightness of all the graduates eyes on receiving their degrees and thinking back to my family day in 1973 in a different Great Hall in York when I became the first graduate in my family.

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Discussing a Teaching Nursing Home Bid

We are discussing a bid for a Teaching Nursing Home at the University of Canberra today.

The discussions are being hosted and facilitated by Laurie Grealish.

Laurie has been working with Leigh Blackall to develop a Wikiversity page for the bid.

What has delighted me about the day has been the use of a Wikiversity open access page and Leigh’s use of UStream to webcast proceedings and MeetingWords to note discussion points..

There are a number of community groups involved in the workshop and it seems to me that the openness of the bid is a great model for community sharing and consumer directed care. This blog post is a contribution to that sharing.

The program for the day is:

13.00 Welcome, introductions 

Overview of the forum


Associate Professor Laurie Grealish, Chair
1315 UC and Engagement with the Capital Region Mr Lewis Jones, Executive Director, Office of Development, University of Canberra 


1330 Ageing and aged care in Australia Professor Diane Gibson, Dean Faculty of Health, University of Canberra 


1350 Preliminary work: Issues in residential aged care & Teaching Nursing Home Models Associate Professor Laurie Grealish 


1410 What could be done in the ACT Capital Region within a formal collaborative framework, known as the Teaching Nursing Home? 


Small group work
1440 Reporting back and discussion 


15.00 Afternoon tea 


15.15 What possible hurdles may exist? How might we address them at this early planning stage? 


Small group work
15.45 Reporting back and discussion 


16.10 Summary of the day: Where to next Associate Professor Laurie Grealish, Chair

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Writing Week Outputs

This year’s Faculty of Health‘s 2010 Writing Week at the University of Canberra has produced a number of outputs.

I have posted about two workshops held to support the week:

Three colleagues have edited and submitted (eight) papers to journals this week, one colleague has completed two chapters for an international handbook, one colleague has delivered three reports, five colleagues have taken the opportunity to work on drafts of PhD chapters, one colleague has written a new course and a team of colleagues has submitted a large grant application.

I have written up a paper from 1993 and posted it on this blog. My aim was to share some ideas from the early years of notational analysis in sport. I hope I raise some important epistemological and ontological issues in the paper and see it as a contribution to the sociology of knowledge about notational and performance analysis. I have developed a wiki for a UNHCR project.

At the end of the week a colleague shared with me a link to the video of J K Rowling’s Commencement Address at Harvard:

Her 2008 talk was titled The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination. In it she shares some insights about her exoerience. I thought this was a great way to end our week:

Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.

Now, I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one, and I had no idea that there was going to be what the press has since represented as a kind of fairy tale resolution. I had no idea then how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

Here’s to big ideas!


Photo Credits

Writing a Composition


Write till you drop


Writing Day at Reidsdale on the First Day of Summer

Today staff from Sport Studies at the University of Canberra met the poet Harry Laing at the Old Cheese Factory at Reidsdale to develop our writing skills as part of the Faculty of Health‘s 2010 Writing Week. We visited Reidsdale on one of the wettest days of the year in the wettest week of the year so that the glories of the Monga National Park were obscured by cloud and mist.

Harry was a delightful facilitator and manged to guide us through a great day of writing and voice exercises.

Our day included:

  • Two free flow writing exercises (writing without taking the pen off the paper as a stream of expression).
  • Writing about an object (two truths, four lies).
  • Completing a fifty-word piece that followed from the starting line I stroked the tiger one last time then …
  • Writing about a person we know well.
  • Completing a fifty-word piece that followed from the starting line The stadium went quiet then …
  • Writing about My Left Hand.
  • Writing about an object (description then an imagination piece about the object).
  • Two voice exercises: one to Charles Causley‘s I Am The Song and one as a Chant.
  • Writing a Tanka on the theme of a Hero or Fallen Idol.
  • Exquisite corpse exercise (partners take it in turn to write words: adjective, noun, verb, adjective, noun without seeing what each other has written) to develop unimagined sentences.

Harry interspersed these activities with readings from his own collections, Philip Larkin and Simon Armitage.

There was lots of opportunity to discuss writing and narrative whilst having the most wonderful food and drinks from the Old Cheese Factory kitchen (provided by Gary, Gina, Margaret and Robert).