An alternative advent - 24 words for 24 days! That was the challenge set by one of my writing buddies. Back in October I posted a blog about my creative writing for business experience with Dark Angels. I loved it and wanted to keep on cultivating my ' true voice' in a writing context. I particularly wanted to bring more of a human touch to the written word. So when Pip Trentham set the challenge I was up for it.
Writing a little advent message in 24 words certainly challenged my ability to 'write short'. However, given that we live in a world of truncated electronic communications, it turned out to be a discipline well worth developing. I'm not saying we have to get our message across in 24 words all the time, but sometimes we do have to get to the point quickly or risk losing our audience.
Going for Stretch
There were no other rules as such; just write 24 words each day and share it with the others from the course. Ah, now that's where the other challenge came in. I don't know about you fellow bloggers but it takes a bit of time to get used to exposing your inner wordage online. The words never seem quite good enough.
My writing course buddies were all pretty accomplished writers already. In fact most of them were writers in their day jobs so I knew I was in for a 'stretch situation' when I signed up for the course. But why undertake a course if it isn't going to stretch you? That's my philosophy anyway. So, of the 24 word challenge, well lets just say that, like the lion from the Wizard of Oz, I found my courage and the s-t-r-e-t-c-h I was looking for!
Kate Swaffer's moving blog reinforces just how important current efforts are in improving the outlook for people with dementia. The numbers are expected to double over the next 20 years, so unless a cure is imminent then it has to be about preparing future generations to live with the impact.
Nearly 25 years ago my first Charge Nurse post was in a unit for people with cognitive impairment (mainly dementia). As the clinical leader I was in a position to challenge the traditional model of care. Culture change, as we know, is never easy but by introducing new practices and modelling different behaviours, persistence paid off. We eventually reached a tipping point where everyone began to pull together to create a new norm.
This new cultural norm meant working in partnership with patients and their relatives to create a 'circle of care' that was as inclusive and enabling as possible within the constraints of a hospital environment. I look back on my time there as a sculptress might view a creation that she considers to be among her best work. Against this backdrop I was delighted to be asked to support the Scottish Government with the National Dementia Care Improvement Programme (NDCIP).