Posted in achievement, Change, Commitment, Debate, Development, goals, Government, Health, Human Rights, Learning, Modern society, Politics, Psychology, Skills, Thoughts

The End Of My Nursing Days.

In my twilight days of nursing there saw an introduction of a laptop computer. We all had one provided and training on how to use it. Those days had seen our area of work extend and staffing cut. The laptop had one very important function: to record data. This is what we all had to do. My area of work was then in the community, so I travelled a lot, covering many miles sometimes between two surgeries caseloads and in all weathers.

Every detail and work entry had to be recorded on a system called System One. So that meant that every phone call, procedure, paper work, (EG, if it involved an referral or assessment), was logged. This had to be done for every patient visited. The time we took to do each thing and how long it took to get from one patient to the next. This was logged in our work dairies and then onto System One. You still had all the patients personal records of care to do in the home as well, I might add. This was asked for to help see where the workload was, for accurate records of patients, and to prioritise resources.

You can imagine that this was a lot of work and when we could not get it done in the days schedule, it had to be taken home to do it. We were all given the appropriate connections to the data base to get this done. At the same time, my e-mail box was forever getting fuller. New policies, training, forms, referrals and memos. I personally was finding it harder to keep up. Sometimes, my brain was a fog and the effort to juggle the balls was becoming harder. My own personal stress levels went up and I felt vulnerable. Vulnerable that I would miss something, forget something. I had a note book and wrote everything I needed to do down so everyone got seen, every task and communication done. My tick list was ticked off at the end of the day and shredded. I worked incredibly hard but the passion and the enjoyment went to a very low point.

It was like being a hamster on a wheel. The harder you ran, the harder the wheel turned and it just went round and round, always to the same place, never to finish. Because the hamster was always running and the wheel just ended up at the same point for you to run all over again. It felt like you were getting no-where.

Sometimes, a ray of energy would emerge. A really excellent job was done, you had made a difference to someone’s life and job satisfaction prevailed. You were happy and pleased and felt it was all worthwhile. But, like the hamster, the next day you were back to just running, eventually you burn out and that is what happened to me.

In the end, I had had enough. I had done all that I could do. I knew that there was no end in site to any of it, if anything it was going to get worse, and I have been told that since then it has got worse and I am well out of it.

But I took 28 years of care with me and it was brave decision but I just said no-more. I thought, as it had been my identity all my working life, it would be hard to let go. But it hasn’t been. Now, my new life working in a school as a teaching assistant has made me so happy, opened up so many new doors. I have never looked back. I go to work each day never having the dread or the worry. There is no stress and if there is it is very minimal.

I had some wonderful times, happy memories, really dark days, sadness and some regrets. But I did something worthwhile and I did it well and for that I am proud. I have written these blogs to defend my former profession. I could not just sit back and let the recent press hound us in such a way, without trying to defend those still brave enough to work in nursing.

I would say to the general public one thing. Come and do a shift. Put a uniform on for a day and live it with us. See what it is like. I am not defending shabby care, hostility and I am not minimising the pain that bad care has caused to families. I feel ashamed that such cases have existed. But the general public just has to know how hard and almost inhuman it is to be asked to just keep going, like we are now asked to do in such work conditions. This is the vital message I want to convey to any reader out there.

Later this week: a summary of what has gone wrong, given what I have discussed here and what can be done now if at all?

Posted in Change, Debate, goals, Government, Health, History, Human Rights, Ideas, Modern society, Politics, Skills, Thoughts

Government Policy And The NHS.

When something is going wrong in a system of work,fingers naturally will often point to the management structure. Senior staff can be questioned, managers decisions criticized.in this case with the NHS, the biggest manager and where the buck totally stops, is with the Government of the day. They have the overall say in how our NHS is run.

I am no expert here on figures and am not a statistician . What I can say can only be based on what I have seen for myself and read in the media. So let’s take the Mid Staffordshire case. The horrific situation of systematic failings in care was largely created by a catalyst of cost cutting and the relentless drive towards becoming a Foundation Hospital. In order to become that,(foundation status means more self-governing) the hospital had to slash debt, have improved performance targets and be seen to be keeping on track, not only in budget but what it could show on paper to be improvements, efficiency and throughput.

In-fact, this objective is part of every hospital up and down this country. Along with this, the Private Finance Initative called PFI’s was introduced by the last labour government and its impact have made the present situation even worse. PFI’s are loans to hospitals to rebuild, improve and to makeover old hospitals into shiny, spanking new ones. However, many of us will know the outcomes of hospitals struggling to pay off these loans. They have been left with huge debts and deficits.

Then, on top of that, we have fines if certain targets are not met. If a patient goes over a four hour waiting time to be discharged from the Accident Emergency Department to a ward, transferred to another unit or sent home, the hospital is fined. If an ambulance does not deliver and dispatch a patient in a certain time span, it is fined. This is all supposed to be about improvements in performance, get the stick of financial punishment out, and somehow magically results will be produced forthwith. But what has happened? As wards shrink in size, as hospitals slash inpatients beds and staff to save money, there results in a chaotic rush of bed juggling, and the frantic efforts to free up beds against fewer manpower resources. If a patient is discharged and then that patient is what we would term a “bouncer”, that is to say they are re-admitted within a certain time frame,the hospital gets… you guessed it, a fine!

How are hospitals suppose to stay on track budget wise if all they are threatened with is fines? This is government policy now and it is doing nothing to help patients with their care.Infact, this only creates more pressure to treat a patient as a price tag, a unit, a juggling ball on a bed; and leads to what we have heard about bed moving in the middle of the night, against the tide of complaints of sleep deprived patients on wards. It’s like musical beds. Patients become little more than another stat to be got through the system as quick as possible. Now we have jobs purely for bed managers and early discharge assessors and the term, the “bed- blocker” comes to my mind. This is when someone is stuck in the system with no outlying community bed to go to ( because they have been either cut or closed) but they can’t go home either.

Never has the pressure for beds and timed targets been so great as it is now; with increased population, sicker older people, increased expectations of the population to be seen and treated and the changes in GP’s out of hours care. Literally hospitals are fit to bust…..

I leave you with a question. How can these government-led poliices be conducive to quality total patient care? And the nurses, as well as other NHS staff, are caught right in the middle of it. I tell you something: it makes for a hell of a lot of stress. It does nothing to help health-care professionals, with their own mental health, who are suppose to be angels or compassion, care and tranquillity, when really they are tearing their hair out, to give this essence of care that is talked about….

Tomorrow: An example of the crazy burden of data collection and why ultimately I left NHS Nursing.

Posted in Change, Debate, Government, Health, Human Rights, Modern society, Skills

The Student Nurse.

Let’s begin with my training back in the early 1980’s. When I was training to be a nurse, most of my experience was gained in the clinical area. We were part of the numbers, were employed by a hospital and was paid a modest wage. The ward sister was responsible for our end of placement reports and oversaw our educational,supervision whilst on their ward or department.There were clinical tutors who visited us regularly. They were on-site at the hospital, as there was a School of Nursing attached to that hospital. They came on to the wards and helped us learn to do a bed-bath properly. We were reminded to change the water, the first bowl for the hands and face, the second for the body. Mouth care, eye care, hand care and even hair washing was taught both in the classroom and on the wards. Even now, I remember that to wash the hair the bedhead would need to be taken off first. Who has had their hair washed by a nurse whilst on bed rest recently?

There were four assessments that had to be passed. One of them was called total-patient care. This is where you were assessed solely on the care of one patient or a small group of patients. This meant that all elements of care had to be considered. Clinical observations including blood pressure,fluids, charts, dressings, medicines-everything. A tutor from the School of Nursing or senior nursing team on the ward would be responsible for that assessment. We were all nervous of course and I remember mine to this day. For me, I was in ITU at the time and looked after the cardiac patients.

Then education for nurses changed. Project 2000 came into force and this was the start of the nurse being seen, not as a pair of hands but a student and supposedly supernumerary- not counted as one of the shift numbers. Nursing was becoming a profession that first saw the Diploma of Higher Education qualification and then onto the graduate status. Why? Well, this was to reflect the growing complexity of the role and to give the profession more status as a profession.Schools of Nursing were moved to Universities and the clinical tutors became redundant. There was to be more theory taught. The terms evidence-based practice was part of the new terminology for care and this was led by current research.

Let me stop there and say this, which may surprise some of you. I am all for a graduate profession. The reasons why will be discussed in another post. While, I accept you do not need a degree to wash patients,I am totally behind seeing a workforce who questions the care they give and why they do it based on the best quality research available. Learning a skill is not enough in 21 st Century nursing. It needs to go a lot further than that if we are to deliver safe and effective care. The increasing advanced skills we are asked to do and the complex conditions we now treat, where sometimes several pathologies have to be considered is another reason……

Tomorrow: So what needs to be addressed with student nurse training? And why sometimes student nurses do not feel supported as they move towards registration as a qualified nurse.

Posted in Change, Debate, Health, Human Rights, Modern society, Skills, Thoughts, Uncategorized

A crisis of Care in Nursing within the NHS. New blog series.

Today, I start a new blog series of concurrent short posts to attract maximum reading and interest. I know there will be interest out there, given recent media headlines. These blog posts need a proper introduction and the reasons given as to why this is now being undertaken by me.

In recent months, the nursing profession has come under immense scrutiny as a catalogue of failures in the NHS has been published,most notably: The Mid- Staffordshire Report. Patients left to drink out of flower vases and astonishing neglect have left the public shocked and disgusted by the systematic failings of basic humanity and care. The spot- light has been placed on nursing like never before and so it should be in the light of what has been reported.

However, I can no longer sit back and let my once respected profession be so hounded and demonized without at least trying to address why some of these incidents may have arisen. This is not an easy task I am about to undertake. Some may be disappointed with the contents of my blog posts. There will be no personal rants, ear bashing and no leaning towards one political party. This is an attempt to unravel what has gone wrong, to give the public a truer picture of the real lives of nurses working now in a 21 Century NHS and how times have changed from 1948.

It will look at nurse training, how the trained nurse’s role has changed against a tide of wider NHS reforms. It will look at nurse leadership and management.  How it has become increasingly harder to deliver basic standards of care, humanity and compassion with an ever increasing workload; and crucially a shift of emphais as to what that work now comprises.The pressure and demands in people’s needs and expectations against a backdrop of increased health-care needs and complexity. Finally, It will attempt to discuss what now needs to be put in place for nursing to win back public confidence, as a profession nurses can be proud off.

This blog is NOT about making excuses for poor standards of care but to explain why a combination of many factors have created what we are now reading about in the NHS today. It will largely not be discussing the theme of privatization, another too larger and separate area to merge with this series.

I hope people will find this helpful and any comments welcome. Having worked in the NHS for 28 years, (up to a year ago), it is hoped that an insight from an experienced nurse can be given in a manner that is professional and constructive.

Tomorrow, we are going right back to the beginning and start with the role of the student nurse……. 

Posted in achievement, Change, Children, Commitment, Development, families, goals, Health, Human Rights, Learning, Role of women, Skills, Uncategorized, Women

One Story.One school.One Education at Tareto Maa.

It was very dark when I returned, as dark as my deepest pain and fear. Was I too late? How would I live with myself if my mother was already dead? Then I saw her lying there. Too weak, to move, her eyes too swollen to see me but her whispers were enough to at least reassure me she was alive. My father has beaten her black and blue with his traditional Maasai stick to make me return home; to force me to undergo something so cruel and terrible. This was his blackmail and this was my choice. To come back and face female circumcision or to hear that my mother was dead because of my disobedience, in the name of honour and tradition, that my mother’s life was gone.

It was a choice no child, then aged 12, should have to take but this was the reality for me and many like me who choose to run away. At that present moment, all I cared about was my mother that she was alive and that she thanked me for coming back. I did not want to think of what was going to lie ahead. The pain, the bleeding that was going to befall me and other girls in that little hut a few days later.  When, up to that point, all the pain I had experienced in childhood became less insignificant to the pain of Female Genital Mutilation. If only that in itself was the end but it was not, it was just the beginning.

This is no fiction story. This is a real story and a true sequence of events. This is one small part of Gladys’ story of the time when it was her turn to be ” circumcised” and then to be married off to a man, aged around 60 years about a month later. The ceremony of circumcision went ahead. There was no alternative. She felt that in spite of her desperate efforts to find safety with an older relative, she had to go back and face the barbaric practice of Female Genital Mutilation to save her own mother from being beaten to death. But when it came to marriage, that was where a final stance of deviance and strength to say NO. This was not what is going to happen to me. My life will not end in this way. Her mother did not stay around any longer this time to be beaten again and fled herself back to her own family.

No one was there, back then, to help Gladys . This is where Gladys’ vision of offering the children the support that she could not find inspired her to be the founder of Tareto Maa: to create a shelter for girls who don’t have a safe place to go and where this organization talks with the parents (making sure as well that the mother is not in danger) . For the children in the refuge, not only food and safety are paramount but also school attendance so that they can build a stronger future for themselves.  This is where you can help with a child sponsorship.

To date, Tareto Maa has 61 sponsors out of our 96 girls, who live in the refuge, and whose donations are directly responsible for sending these girls to school. However, we would like to find additional sponsors for the remaining children. As the next circumcision season approaches we have to prepare for our numbers to increase, to help meet our financial needs for 2013. We have turned no-one away since our refuge opened.

Many of our girls who have fled to us have already told us such personal testimonies that has moved the listener to tears and tear the heart of any one reading such tales. That is why I am here on my blog site writing. Who can just walk away after hearing those plights of real courage, who have left everything and have walked for days with nothing to get to us?

So now I turn to you, the reader, to help us with our christmas campaign. This is how you can help a girl like Gladys.

If you feel you could sponsor a girl, or would like to know more information to consider this, then please, we do so want to hear from you. Contact us at contact@tareto-maa.org. Please, don’t just read and walk away. Come and learn more about Tareto Maa at www.tareto-maa.org  and see if there is anyway you can assist us with this life changing work. Any little help is so valauable and so much appreciated. On behalf of the girls, Thank you so much!

Maasai Girl_Drawing. no 3

Posted in Change, Debate, feminist, Health, Human Rights, Ideas, Men, Modern society, Psychology, Relationships, Role of women, sex, Thoughts, Women

Fifty Shades of Grey. A viewpoint

I have read Fifty Shades of Grey ( book one) because I was curious and wanted to know what all the fuss was about. My daughter was reading it and I wanted to engage with her over the book’s content given the known material within it. I skimmed through the book at first and became very concerned very quickly. Here was a book portraying a young women clearly with low self-esteem with emotional issues embarking upon her first sexual relationship. It wasn’t the graphic content that shocked me, it was two things. The lesser being 1) That it depicted experiencing multiple orgasms all in one session could be so easy, that everyone clearly will know how to do it and if you can’t then you might think you have a problem. ( About 9/10 women do not experience orgasms through penetrative sex alone, so I have read).( A side remark: no mention of the fact either that having sex that many times so frequently in one day would probably lead you to, at the very least, thrush and an urinary infection). But like one friend said to me when I mentioned that, she laughed:

” Well, they are still lucky buggers aren’t they .”

We both laughed, so we can see a funny side of it too. However, the other more serious connotation of this novel is, 2) it’s clearly about an abuse relationship, hyped up with a BDSM topic. People either love or hate Mr Grey. I loath him, seriously would you really want to see your own daughter go out with such a control-freak? The appalling writing style,- mention of the “Inner goddess” bit incessantly and all the other slang words, did- my- head- in, could be forgiven if the message of the book was clear: stay away from this type of relationship. It didn’t, it glamorize it and that I can’t forgive her for. Anyway, I won’t write further about my viewpoint as this blog is not really about that. It is written to show a letter concerning an answer I received from a women’s group committed to protecting women against domestic violence. They work with the victims and see plenty of real My Greys’, his personality type, how abuse starts and where it ends. The happy after story line of they get married, have a baby in the later part of the Trilogy ( Sorry, If I have spoilt it but this is important) and he is a changed man doesn’t happen in real life for the most part. You see the problem with Fifty Shades of Grey, as a story, is that some people will see this as for real. Remember the Mo story in Eastenders. The domestic violence run where the woman murdered her violent and abusive partner. The actor who was the perpetrator had women coming up to him in the street shouting:

“Leave Mo alone your bastard.”

Stories can become real for some. More people watched Des, Angie and the divorce papers on Christmas day being handed out in Eastenders, in some other story line, than the funeral of Princess Diana.

The Wearside Women in Need  wrote an excellent article in The Daily Telegraph condemning 50 Shades. I wrote to defend them and this was their reply. Paragraph three is particularly interesting. I had not thought of that angle at all.

” Hello …..

Thank you for your message of support.

We have, as you can imagine, been snowed under with both positive and negative responses to the campaign but what has really struck us is (a) how many women have wanted to speak out against this trilogy and (b) how hard this has been for them to do on an individual basis.

Here at the campaign we believe that every recent generation of women has had to contend with the publication of at least one book, film or other ‘literary endeavour’ that seeks to both legitimate patriarchy and to undermine the social, political and economic gains of women.

The fact that this book has been written by a woman, and is largely being read by women, does not undermine this analysis – indeed, if anything it serves to highlight how contemporary women, faced with attacks on their employment, on the services that they have developed, used and run and on the goal of gender equality in all policy areas, are starting to seek refuge (both literally and in their reading material) in the fantasy of male control and male protection.

That this will lead to violence and abuse for some, and to the loss of autonomy for many more, is incredibly sad and something we must all fight against.  Hence our campaign.

So thank you, again, for writing to us. Your support is appreciated.

The 50 Shades of Abuse Campaign.”

Wearside Women in Need are calling for a burning of the books on bonfire night. A bit extreme you might say but the feelings are clearly running high for some. I wonder what E.L. James thinks to that idea. The money she has made with record-breaking sales, she no doubt doesn’t care much about anyone’s opinion. However, I am glad it is not me in that situation, even if a lot of money would come in very handy for my charity work.

I am no way criticising anyone for reading the book, nor for personally loving it and wanting to read the whole series. All I am saying is, that is going to be interesting to see in the future if 50 Shades could be measured as to whether an  increase in abusive relationships has occurred say over a three-five year time frame. It would be worth while to conduct a piece of mixed research( both quantitative and qualitative) so we could truly understand what effect this type of book does have on real people’s lives.Meanwhile, in the short-term we know that Anna Summers has a Fifty Shades of Grey section, that sex toys sales have gone up by 130%, that the nations bedrooms are being revolutionised- so we are told, and a lot of women just seems to love Fifty Shades of Grey. Let’s hope for most people they are just enjoying great sex. The baby boom will no doubt hit us in about six to nine Months time:):) Midwives will be at least be more busy and stretched than ever.

( PS: My daughter loved 50 Shades, could see my point and agreed, then went on to read the other two books, stating book two was slow but book three was the best with more of a plot to it).

Posted in achievement, Change, Debate, Development, goals, Human Rights, Ideas, Liberation, lonelyness, Modern society, Personal Growth, Skills, Sport, Thoughts

Gold or Tin: some thoughts on disability as the Paralympic Games commence.

Watched the opening of the Paralympic games last night. The theme was enlightenment and it was quite spectacular. I know this post isn’t exactly going to be original because what I am about to say, though with different words, is being said by others at present. Steve Birrell’s article in the London Evening Standard, two evenings ago, is one excellent example. We might be giving Gold to our Paralympic champions from today, but in reality many disabled people are receiving Tin. This not just in financial terms, as benefits are squeezed and assessments for Disability Living Allowances become a mile field of impossibility, but in the attitudes of people and what opportunities those with disability really do have in society.

Steve Birrell told many facts I didn’t know. However, one of them, having recently worked with a child with Special Educational Needs, stood out for me. That only one in 12 adults will learning difficulties are actually in employment. Most people know very little about the real issues of those facing disability and may have never worked with, nor had an honest conversation with them. Last night, we saw amazing and brave people flying on trip wires with limbs missing and gliding through the sky with effortless simplicity. In reality, if you are in a wheelchair you have to face the problem of sometimes to few disabled parking slots and negotiating a mind field of obstacles; of pushing crowds too busy to stop or help another disabled person. It’s amazing what you find out when you have to actually do it for yourself. You are on two legs pushing the wheelchair or trying to find the parking pace in a popular tourist attraction. You quickly come into difficulty with frustration.

The question I want to ask is, do we really care about disabled people? Ask yourself that question honestly. An elderly friend recently returned from the Philippines was negotiating heavy luggage on the Tube on his way home. In the country where we had come from, a different kind of respect and tolerance is shown to the infirm and to those who need assistance. My friend had been back in the UK for only a few minutes when he was nearly trampled down by people pushing past his suitcase as he was hurled some insults about “getting out-of-the-way granddad” and he isn’t even classed as disabled. Do our society really champion those who don’t quite fit the “norm” in society or who appear weaker and infirm?

While I worked in the NHS there was a huge emphasis, within my mandatory training, on respecting diversity, equality and disability. In fact, on applications forms you are encouraged to declare your disability, even when it comes to mental health. Depression can now be on such a tick list, if you feel it has or does severely impact upon your life. Indeed, much has been done to potentially give equal opportunities to all disabled people with employment legislation. The promotion of an attitude, “you can come out of the closet and say how this disability has affected you and we will care and understand.” (However,whether you actually get the job or promotion is another matter)! There are aids for the disabled person that are imaginative and extremely useful like never before. My own father who is now registered partially sighted has discovered this and the support and practical help he has received has been excellent.

However, for myself, even with nearly 30 years of caring for others in the Health Service, it wasn’t until the last six months that I realised, even more the harsh realities, the struggle and for carers the loneliness of what living with disability can actually mean. I have said to most friends that the child I worked with in education taught me far more than I could ever teach him. The complexity of character, the uniqueness of the human being. The challenge of  my own mind set of  thinking of what I thought was “normal.” What is normal anyway? And how the blueprint of living is not the same, and to be happy can take on many facets. I learnt further patience, humility, compassion, new-found fun and laughter more than I had ever done before. It was an honour and a great experience to be part of that young person’s life and one, even though that period has now ended, of whom I shall still keep in touch with I hope for a very long time.

What has this got to do with the Paralympics? My message is simple. Examine your real attitudes towards those with disability as you watch those games. Really look closer at what the government is really doing to the lives of genuine disabled people and speak out against it. Go out and meet, connect with a disabled person if you have little or no experience of them. Look at the wider picture of how we treat people who may need help, or who appear frailer or weaker than ourselves. Acknowledge  the incredible strength, character and fortitude of a disabled person but also the power of our minds to help us adapt when disability strikes. How we can overcome the most appalling circumstances and injuries to still survive and to live with purpose. How disability could open doors and new ways of living and thinking, not close them?

Most disabled people do not expect to get a Gold medal or are a Paralympic champion. They have no need to prove they are worth Gold as they are that already. But let’s not give them the medal of Tin, of being let down, ignored, marginalised and really on the edges of society. As we clap and applaud them over the next 11 days, let’s make sure that once all the hype has died down and all games packed away, that we continue to really give the disabled person the respect and the attention they deserve. For them not to go back into the shadows and be forgotten as we, the  so-called “able-bodied”, get on with our lives.

I hope this blog will inspire you to think more about the lives of disabled people and how we can help them to achieve their full potential. Thank you for reading.

( The above image I know does not represent the Paralympic flag or movement but was the closest image I had, with an Olympic theme, to be appropriate for this blog’s content)

Posted in achievement, Change, Children, Debate, Development, goals, God, Human Rights, Ideas, Liberation, Modern society, Personal Growth, Psychology, Skills, Thoughts, Women

Revelation

Went to bed last night and gave my posting of yesterday evening some thought.

Revelation: I actually feel guilty if I am successful, richer or more powerful. Keeping humble and meek is after all a more virtuous option?

Today, I read all about Michael Gove and the King James Bible he has given to every school. I have recently been in an assembly where I was shown this large and beautiful book and how it arrived there as a present from HM Government. You see, I do have Christian roots. In my twenty’s I was part of a small evangelical church. While my faith has very much changed, ( I admitted to myself recently that I don’t attend church regularly because I find it too dull, ritualistic and boring) the essence of Christian thinking is still with me. Essentially, there is a faith there inside me. I don’t go to church preferring to do God’s work in the real world of charity, contribution and looking after God’s animals. Currently, a sick hen. This is where I fit in the Christian world. This is my work to God, not singing hymns.

Deeply ingrained in my mind-set is simply this. God teaches us that being humble, poor and mild, we will inherit the Earth. God likes” little people” like me, never boastful, never proud,( I think that came from St Paul). The idea that I should aspire to a four bedroomed house, double my salary, go for promotion or exactly say I am good at something that does not quite fit the script. After all Jesus hung out with the poor fisherman not the tax-collectors. He never sought fame of fortune. If we are to look at these texts we are told that money is the root of all evil and being ruthless for that job promotion is not at all cool In the eyes of God. We should not have avarice or greed and instead give our money away to those less fortunate- which I have.

Coming away from the Christian perspective, my own interest in equality, human rights, poverty and empowerment gives this view a double stamp of approval. How can I be seen to want to earn or have more when so many are starving? Each night, I thank God for my hot meal and my glass of fresh drink knowing I am the lucky one; even if I have to use the calculator to scrape some shopping together on dwindling reserves, seriously, I do this. I still say I am lucky to have. It’s a bit of a mind-set I have got into.

So to sum it all up in one sentence. My block to progress is my supposed guilt at wanting more. That I should not seek it, that I should never try to make money out of pictures or works. To legitimately sell goods on Amazon and e-bay is one thing, that is recycling and I can live with that. Someone else benefits and most are going at bargain prices. I will have to think how I can shape this attitude a little differently if I am to get further on in life.

And by-the-way Gove recommends Children should read St James as a good moral compass. I wonder what their little minds would think of it all if they did? Would they end up like me or reject it?

Hoping this picture would be at the start:) Try again next time. A posh house. The Petit Trianon of Marie Antoinette’s. You know what happened to her and why!

Posted in achievement, Change, Debate, families, goals, Health, Human Rights, Ideas, Learning, Personal Growth, Psychology, Skills, Thoughts, Time, Uncategorized, Women

Appraisal Time

Needed to write in a spontaneous way. So here I am and here this is. Have been figuring a few things out. I try not to write about myself, it seems for me personally a bit self-indulgent, but feel the need to do so to work some things out. By having it written down it feels orderly and I might get some new answers and forge ahead with some new meanings.

So firstly, I am concluding to date who I am first.

I have lived on this planet for 48 yrs. Married, one teenage daughter whose well-being has always come first.

Have been a Registered Nurse for 26 yrs of them.  A good and caring nurse and have done my job well and thoroughly. I have never lit with the skies with promotion, either by lack of personal opportunity, not being in the right place at the right time, putting family first or just simply watching other people with more confidence pass me by. Do feel disappointed in a way that I never really made it BIG in the role. All my friends who trained with me are now in high-paid jobs and specialist roles while I have just sat on a scale 5. One boss noticed I was special once and I started to fly like the wind but she went away and I was left back in the shade and out of the sky.

The care of women, empowerment, education and justice are all very important to me. Health too of course is quite central to who I am.

I work daily on a voluntary basis, with my husband, for a Kenyan NGO called Tareto Maa. A grass-roots project fighting female genital mutilation, my BIG life CONCERN and PASSION. This charity houses young girls fleeing this torture and we send them to school, all 95 of them.  I am the UK media and advocacy worker. A role carved out for myself. My job is to write the thank you’s for the Global Giving donations, write to partners and NGO to find sponsors and helpers, liaise with potential individual sponsors and help set them up. I read through the texts, drafts  of new material for translation purposes, for our forthcoming website and reports, Skype and e-mail with our central German Co-ordinator. I help fund raise though this is now on a much lesser basis.  One day, I hope to visit the project knowing it will change the way I view a lot of things. Enough about that.

I like taking photographs. Success to date have been one picture published online by an Oxford travel guide, a few used for private work and one used by a school for their composting campaign. My FGM picture taken for Int FGM day,( not sure which year off the top of my head,) was published by an online magazine and shown at a women’s conference. One picture has been used for a Canadian TV show, a while ago now, on a child education programme. To date, I have not made any money, nor sought it. No-one has asked to buy anything off me.

Climate change and the environment are important to me. I married an eco warrior and have become one.

Running is also something I enjoy. A slow runner, I can run 10km in 1hr 8mins, no more that that  but I enjoy it. Accept that I am probably never going to be that fast but enjoyed the GEAR run in 2010. Running is a central part of my life. Introducing other forms of exercise too. Learnt to swim on my back about 3-4 yrs ago but have a phobia about swimming on my front.

I worked in floral craft for 10 yrs, teaching, judging and small private work. I have an NVQ2 in floristry.

Blogging is an on and off thing, mainly due to how I am feeling and time, what else is going on. I enjoy writing and would like to develop it further. My English is not brilliant and I have always had a weakness with this. Important work is checked and I get frustrated with it sometimes because I can never understand why it should be written a different way. I have had an offer of English help but nothing has really come of that, so I help myself when I can. I read books and what I have learnt has been mainly self-taught. I have also written some poems over the years. Not many but I have most of them. One or two are pretty good. Can remember having something written, when I was in primary school, that was up on the wall. It was about the moon. See, I liked the stars and sky even then, to those that know me.

Risky confession due to what I was reading today, but I have suffered from depression twice and the last time was in early 2010. I am well now but have been told recently that is highly likely it will return. I am lucky, as I am to date a good responder to medication. So I see myself in remission and hope that it can last a long time. It frightens me to hell that I could go backwards. I never want to feel that way again and know the warning signs and know what to do now. I run to help me with this: “Green Therapy” is what they call it ( May not need the capitals there:)).

I don’t have a degree, love learning but recognise that I can’t keep studying forever, nor do I need to do so to feel good. It has taken me years to get as far as I have with my education.  It really doesn’t matter that much now as I have gone on one step further. A funny old mix of Higher Education Diploma and  now an award in July of Post-Grad Cert in Women’s Health. My 60 Masters points are a treasure. I did it and I was more than good enough and that was all that mattered. I trained to be a midwife for 14 months out of an 18 month pathway. I loved it and was good at the theory but to be fair, due to lack of confidence and peer/ culture environment, I just wasn’t that good at delivering babies or make a safe midwife on British terms.  I left before I was pushed with an intact reputation.

I now work as a one to one support teaching assistant, having a break from nursing. One of my major strengths has been teaching. Realising now, I would have been a great primary school teacher but was just up the wrong wall at the time. This ends in July. Then I will be unemployed  if no work comes along. Have no real strength to re-train again, even if financially I could which I can’t.  My major training days for a complete career overhaul are finished by my choice. I am very happy to go on with this line of work but 1) I can’t afford to for the long-term 2) I still have the care of women which is my love and life’s challenge at the centre of me.

A spot of gardening, a love of cooking, though I can’t make cakes and walking my much-loved dog. This is pretty much me to date. Now, I just have to start sorting out what I am going to do next.  Who I am? My overall aim is to do something good. I want to say I have made it somewhere. A few close friends know that my life has felt like second best, never first best. Nearly there but not quite, I want to be first at something. Is that wrong to want that? I don’t think so.

Will continue this blog theme. Set up some aims, will mull over this but have said enough for now.

Leave you with a picture. Actually, it was meant to be at the start:). I can’t remember how to change it on here.

Posted in Change, Debate, families, Home, Human Rights, Law, Modern society, Politics, Thoughts

What’s the alternative to our main three political parties?

George Galloway’s 10,000 runaway majority in Bradford West for his new Respect party should come as hardly any surprise.  News coverage informed us that Labour were dismayed by this victory given the Coalition present unpopularity and current policy making. George choose to seize the discontent felt by many members of British Society, by creating what he felt to be an alternative to the political autocracy currently being displayed by the Tory Government. His party’s name Respect speaks volumes about how people want to be treated by those they elected.

I had great hopes for this Government when first elected. I was pleased to see at last the Lib-Dems have some chance to finally be involved in central decision-making politics; hoping its softer central stance would tame any extreme more right-wing views of previous Tory administrations. I had sympathy in what they had to do. Labour had left us billions in debt. My brother, a small business man, said to me recently as he understood it, that Gordon Brown was borrowing £420 million a day to keep us all going?. In-appropriate taking on of American debt, non-regulation of banks and greedy speculators had left much of the developed world in a huge debt crisis. Greece which has spent millions on their Olympic Games had virtually bankrupted themselves and Ireland, Spain and Italy were all struggling keeping up with the Euro. Thank goodness we never joined into that system which is still far from stable.

So I knew there would be have to be cuts and it would be hard and it would be unpleasant and probably very necessary. However, what I don’t like is the whole way in which this Government is completely ignoring its own people by not listening to anyone or anybody. Laws and bills being pushed through against a tide of legitimate concern. The Health and Social Care bill, the biggest NHS shake up in years is one such example. Why, when to make this legislation have any chance of being accepted at all and for it to work, do you have every major representative of the NHS shut out from its consultation. This is absolute nonsense and totally bonkers. On a local level, we are seeing Government policy giving us an incinerator nobody wants, closing local schools and Post-offices, the later being made ready for a nother privatisation. This country will have nothing left of what it owns at this rate. Our voices protest loudly and yet no-one listens. Democracy. What democracy. it doesn’t feel that way.

However, It is also the total arrogance and the most worrying of all, a right-wing autocratic element which is now making headlines such as “This is what happened in China/Iran”! Proposed laws in the name of security and antiterrorism is now being unveiled on our right to personal privacy by proposed snooping on internet conversations, texts, phone calls and e-mails. And to cap it all the astonishing hypocrisy of such a decision, given that both the Conservatives and the Lib-Dems opposed a move in 2006, when the then Labour government tried to introduce the same legislation and failed because the internet companies would not bear the cost of the set-up.

And why are we so concerned about terrorism? Well, we have not helped our selves very much have we? Being the USA’s little friend and going into countries of which there was no UN mandate for- Iraq. You wait for Iran to kick off. We have seen nothing yet. America will want to tie us in to that nuclear quarrel. We really will be in trouble then. And then I hear today that we are having to spend billions on security to get us safely through the Olympics. We can’t afford the Olympics. Look at what has happened to Greece. They could not afford it either and look what has happened to them. Thinking of all the billions that could have been spent helping getting us out of this financial trillions of debt we are in, instead of waging war and hosting the Olympics. Bonkers to me. Do the Swiss bid for the Olympics or get involved in costly wars, or belong to the EU? No, they have more sense and they are rich enough to stand on their own two feet. OK, ok I know full well the Swiss are rich due to banking but I have a point.

Then we have a corrupt Government being exposed. Cash for Access and  ????influence in some decision-making , if the sum is large enough has been exposed this last week. The same old rhetoric when something exposed:

“let’s have a full internal enquiry on the subject”.

We know what crap that is in reality. Things go underground and the same old cogs go on. No wonder people are saying why bother voting, This governement is full of its own sh..t.

People are hurting over welfare, tax credit cuts and changes to the law regarding claiming benefits. OK, I am not for people at all NOT trying to make an honest living, and the Welfare Bill does have to be manged more efficiently and to be looked at- as it takes a third of all British Tax Payers money. However, it feels like a sledge-hammer for all. Housing benefit being cut completely when someone is trying to work, but not being employed enough hours to stand on their own two feet. The need to do Workfare and to get your stamp paid, even when you have manged to get a part-time job. This means that you have to be available for full-time work, or your right to sign on and receive what little help there is is denied you. People having a dire choice. Stop the work you have manged to secure to go on some scheme which guarantees you nothing of any certain long-term employment, if you want benefit. What nonsense is that!! Well, I suppose it drives the unemployment figures down????????????

So what is my point? My point is, that people like myself are saying none of the three main parties have delivered within the last 10-15 years. Do we bother to even vote and for whom? I chuckled when I read a tweet comment about the Lib-Dems. “Go back to your consistencies and prepare for vapourisation” it said. How true. The Lib-Dems are finished and Nick Clegg will go after the next election. Ed Milliand, he seems a nice guy but I would have prefered to see David in the top slot. Ed is too governed by the Unions that brought him to power. The Greens, a nice bunch too but no one sees them as a credible alternative yet, and there are still not enough people out there ” green enough” to give a stuff about the environment and a more sustainable Britain.

So we see George Galloway tapping into part of real Britain, the ethic minorities who reside in many cities in vast numbers. I don’t know anything about him or his polices. I know he has shaken hands with Saddam Hussein, OK, that’s very dubious to say the least, but he has done something to capture the imagination of many people with this recent by-election victory. That for me is the worrying thing. Are we about to entre a phase where new and possibly extreme parties start to gain ground? The BNP and so forth.

There is enough political and social material out there to make people boil over with resentment and anger for all sorts of reasons. The riots may have been opportunistic theft, lawlessness and no respect for the law or fearful of its consequences. Interesting that word respect. Perhaps, that is why George Galloway choose that name for this party. There is no respect for Government any more. I certainly feel that way and suggest many others feel the same.

And sadly we know it’s going to get a lot worse. Be very afraid. I am quite frankly!

( PS, Dear Goverment- do take a read, you are never going to be re-elected next time. Have you got that? And if you want to be,time to start listening now)