Author Archives: Paul McNamara

About Paul McNamara

Nurse, educator & social media enthusiast. Loves AFL (Go Adelaide!), hates cotton wool. More info at meta4RN.com

Axe the Fax

The fax machine was invented in 1843: the same year that Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” was published. 

I know that sounds unlikely, but it’s true. 

I don’t expect you to believe me, I expect you to Google it. That’s what I did, and found these Wikipedia articles:
Fax: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fax
A Christmas Carol: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Christmas_Carol 

Enough of ye olde 1843 Scottish inventions and English literature, here is a contemporary update from modern Australia: 

“Don’t email it, fax it.” GP Practice, Cairns, Friday 9 April 2021. 🙄 #stupidshitinhealthcare #axethefax 

All is not lost. There is a workaround to this bizarro step back in time: pretend you’re a Millennial, and say, “What’s a fax?” 🙂

Or, maybe we could do what the Brits decided to do in 2018, and start a campaign to finally axe the fax:

End

That’s it. A short rant is a good rant. 🙂

Has your workplace managed to axe the fax? You’re welcome to share your experience and thoughts via the comments section below.

Paul McNamara, 11 April 2021

Short URL meta4RN.com/fax

Vaccination Celebration

2020 was ‘Year of the Nurse’, but it wasn’t until 2021 – when we had access to COVID-19 vaccinations – that we celebrated.

If you had told me in March 2020 that I would be vaccinated against COVID-19 before the end of March 2021, I would have told you you were crazy. And yet, here we are. I had my second injection this morning. Yay!


Dose 2 of 2 ✅ #COVID19 #COVIDvaccine

In keeping with the TGA guidelines (read them if you’re a health professional: www.tga.gov.au/advertising-covid-19-vaccines-australian-public), I shall not use “the tradename and/or active ingredient of the specific vaccine” I was given. That little formality out of the way, I’d like to thank the following:

Science and Scientists who, in less than a year, have developed eleven vaccines. Not all of them have completed clinical trial or the WHO approval process yet (more info here), but still… Amazing.

Australia’s federal government for shutting the borders on 20 March 2020, and securing the purchase and manufacture of safe, effective, free COVID-19 vaccinations.

Queensland’s state government for being humble, smart and brave enough to seek and follow the health advice. As I’ve blogged previously (here, here and here). those of us living and working in the health sector in Queensland have a lot to be grateful for. Queensland has a lower incidence of COVID-19 than any other state or territory (source), and despite having a larger population than New Zealand has had fewer COVID19 cases and deaths (source and source). This all holds true today (30 March 2021) despite a current Brisbane lockdown and state-wide mandate to wear masks indoors because of recent community transmission.

My employer for including my small but dynamic team in the 1A rollout. My clinical role takes me to pretty-much every ward in the hospital, so I’ve be carrying the anxiety of being a potential super-spreader for the 12 months. A weight has been lifted. Thank you @CairnsHHS.

Finally, thanks to Frankie and Laura for giving both of my injections so painlessly and professionally. Thanks for the lollypops too :-).

I am very, very grateful to be be amongst the thousands of Australian nurses having a vaccination celebration.

Wait. There’s More.

Check-out more stories about Australian Nurses also having a vaccination celebration via this online curation: wakelet.com/@metaRN (recommended – it’s uplifting to scroll through all the news stories featuring heaps of nurses getting and giving COVID-19 jabs).

End

Thanks for visiting. As always, your feedback is welcome via the comments section below.

Curious about the vaccine or when you’re likely to be invited to have it? Check out this website: health.gov.au/covid19-vaccines

Paul McNamara, 30 March 2021

Short URL: meta4RN.com/vax 

Clinical Supervision Starter Kit

There is a lot of information about clinical supervision as it applies to nurses and midwives,. Wouldn’t it be handy if someone curated the key stuff you need as clinical supervision “starter kit” in one place? That’s the thought I woke up with this morning, so here goes:

Introducing Clinical Supervision

I’ll probably do a few presentations re clinical supervision. To keep everything in the same place, here is a link to the Prezi: https://prezi.com/view/Dqdh9x5Blc8XGB7tk0IO/

YouTube version of the presentation is embedded below:

Six Cool Things To Check-Out

1. Australian College of Nursing, Australian College of Mental Health Nurses and Australian College of Midwives (April 2019) Joint Position Statement: Clinical Supervision for Nurses and Midwives [PDF] JointPostionStatement

2. Queensland Health (October 2009) Clinical Supervision Guidelines for Mental Health Services [PDF] QHGuide2009

3. Queensland Centre for Mental Health Learning [QCMHL] (February 2021) Clinical Supervision Training [Website] if that link does not work, below are PDFs re each of the three courses:
a. Best Practice Models of Supervision (1 day introduction to clinical supervision) [PDF] Beginner
b. Supervisor (2 day workshop re core supervisor competencies) [PDF] Intermediate
c. Supervising Supervisors (2 day workshop to develop advanced skills) [PDF] Advanced

4. McNamara, P. (September 2014) Sample Clinical Supervision Agreement [Website] [MSWord]

5. Queensland Centre for Mental Health Learning [QCMHL] (September 2020) Clinical Supervision Resources [Website] if that link does not work, use this: [ArchivedWebsite]

6. Australian Clinical Supervision Association (January 2020) Clinical Supervision Resources [Website] if that link does not work, use this: [ArchivedWebsite]

End of the Start

To my way of thinking, the info above is a comprehensive “starter kit” for nurses and midwives who are new(ish) to clinical supervision.

Below I’ll add links to other info that may be of interest. This list certainly will not be exhaustive, but hopefully will be interest to people like me (a nurse in Queensland).

Selected Further Reading

Cutcliffe, J.R., Sloan, G. and Bashaw, M. (2018), A systematic review of clinical supervision evaluation studies in nursing. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 27(5): 1344-1363. https://doi.org/10.1111/inm.12443 

Dawber, C. (2013), Reflective Practice Groups for Nurses: A consultation liaison psychiatry nursing initiative: Part 1 – the model. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 22(2): 135-144. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1447-0349.2012.00839.x

Dawber, C. (2013), Reflective Practice Groups for Nurses: A consultation liaison psychiatry nursing initiative: Part 2 – the evaluation. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 22(3): 241-248. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1447-0349.2012.00841.x

McNamara, P. (since 2012) various blog pages Clinical Supervision
https://meta4RN.com/?s=clinical+supervision

White, E., & Winstanley, J. (2010). A randomised controlled trial of clinical supervision: selected findings from a novel Australian attempt to establish the evidence base for causal relationships with quality of care and patient outcomes, as an informed contribution to mental health nursing practice development. Journal of Research in Nursing, 15(2), 151–167. https://doi.org/10.1177/1744987109357816

End Notes

It’s likely I’ll add to the “Selected Further Reading” section over time. If you think there’s an important journal article/other resource that belongs here please let me know via the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Thanks for visiting.

Paul McNamara, 21 February 2021

Short URL meta4RN.com/sup

(Yes – it’s intentional that the short URL uses “sup” as the shortened version of the far-too-long to say or text “what’s up?”. Spot the middle-aged man pathetically trying to be cool.)

Ye Olde Antiemetic Sniffing of Alcohol Swabs

When I was a student nurse back in the 1980s at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, one of the Registered Nurses shared a trick with managing nausea. It was pretty simple:

  1. Rip open an alcohol swab (“proper” nurses always had some in their pocket, along with scissors, a multi-coloured pen, and about eleventy-seven other things).
  2. Advise the patient to hold the alcohol swab close to their face, and breath in the fumes through their nose.
  3. Assuming (hoping) that there’s a PRN order for it, scoot off to gather a Metoclopramide* (Maxalon) vial and injecting equipment, but don’t crack the vial.
  4. On your return to the bedside, ask whether they are still feeling nauseous and, if so, would they like an IM injection to take the nausea away.

Result = about half the time, maybe a bit more, the nausea had resolved just by sniffing the alcohol swab.

Ye Olde Tradition vs Evidence-Based Practice

I did a quick whip-around a couple of the wards at the hospital where I work today. A couple of nurses had heard of this trick, but most hadn’t. So, is it just nursing folklore/a tradition, or is it evidence-based?

Nurses have noted “that it just works” for a while (Spencer 2004).

A 2002 study found that inhaling alcohol was just as effective as standard treatment in post-op patients (Merritt, Okyere &  Jasinski).

In a study of women undergoing outpatient gynecologic laparoscopic procedures (n = 100), postoperative nausea resolved quicker using 70% inhaled isopropyl alcohol (ie: the content of a typical swab) compared with intravenous ondansetron (Winston, Rinehart, Riley, Vacchiano & Pellegrini, 2003).

Anderson and Gross (2004) conducted a small (n = 33) trial, and found that alcohol, peppermint and saline (as a placebo) were equally efficacious. They speculated that the controlled breathing may be more important than the scent.

A 2018 review of two random controlled trials (n = 226) concluded that inhaling alcohol was effective for mild to moderate nausea in non-pregnant emergency department patients (Lindblad, Ting & Harris).

Finally, a recent randomized, placebo-controlled trial study (n =115) found that inhaling alcohol was significantly more effective than placebo, and those inhaling alcohol were much less likely to require other antiemetic medication (Candemir, Akoglu, Sanri, Onur & Denizbasi, 2021).

*Metoclopramide

The way I remember it, metoclopramide was the only antiemetic medication available back in the 1980s. I’m pretty sure that ondensetron wasn’t invented then (I don’t recall hearing about it), or maybe it just wasn’t  an affordable option at the time.

So What?

I’d imagine that I’ve missed a number of published studies. It’s just my blog dude – not bloody Cochrane Review.

All I wanted to do was see if there had been much research about Ye Olde Antiemetic Sniffing of Alcohol Swabs.

As shown above, there’s been a bit, but certainly nothing like the numbers of patients you’d have if you were trying to get a medication to market. Yet, as none of the studies listed above found unwanted ill-effects, and nearly all of them found that inhaling an alcohol swab was a useful antiemetic, maybe I should do as my senior colleague did back in the 1980s, and spread the word.

Spread The Word

To manage nausea:

  1. Rip open an alcohol swab.
  2. Advise the patient to hold the alcohol swab close to their face, and breath in the fumes through their nose.
  3. Give them a few minutes, then return to see if it’s been effective.
  4. If it hasn’t, progress to treatment as usual.
  5. Keep score. There’s probably a research paper in this for you/your ward.

End

That’s it for this blog post.

Do you have any other “secret” nursing tips and tricks that should be shared? If so leave a message via the comments section below… maybe you’d like to write a guest post on the blog (it has a couple of thousand visitors most months).

Paul McNamara, 8 February 2021

Short URL: meta4RN.com/swab

References

Anderson, L. & Gross, J. (2004) Aromatherapy with peppermint, isopropyl alcohol, or placebo is equally effective in relieving postoperative nausea. Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing, 19(1), pp 29-35. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1089947203003071

Candemir, H., Akoglu, H., Sanri, E. Onur, O. & Denizbasi, A. (2021). Isopropyl alcohol nasal inhalation for nausea in the triage of an adult emergency department. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 41(1), pp. 9 – 13. https://www.ajemjournal.com/article/S0735-6757(20)31172-4/fulltext

Lindblad, A., Ting, R. & Harris, K. (2018). Inhaled isopropyl alcohol for nausea and vomiting in the emergency department. Canadian family physician Medecin de famille Canadien64(8), 580. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6189884

Merritt, B., 0 Okyere, C. & Jasinski, D. (2002) Isopropyl Alcohol Inhalation: Alternative Treatment of Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting, Nursing Research, 51(2), pp 125-128. https://journals.lww.com/nursingresearchonline/Abstract/2002/03000/Isopropyl_Alcohol_Inhalation__Alternative.9.aspx

Spencer, K. (2004). Isopropyl Alcohol Inhalation as Treatment for Nausea and Vomiting, Plastic Surgical Nursing: 24(4), pp 149-154. https://journals.lww.com/psnjournalonline/Abstract/2004/10000/Isopropyl_Alcohol_Inhalation_as_Treatment_for.5.aspx

Winston, A., Rinehart, R., Riley, G., Vacchiano, C. & Pellegrini, J.(2003) Comparison of inhaled isopropyl alcohol and intravenous ondansetron for treatment of postoperative nausea. AANA (American Association of Nurse Anesthetists) Journal, 71(2), pp. 127-32. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12776641

 

Nurses on the 2021 Australia Day Honours List

Extracting information from www.gg.gov.au/australia-day-2021-honours-list, below are the Nurses named on the 2021 Australia Day Honours List.

Patricia Elizabeth Canning OAM
Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division
Mullaloo, Western Australia
For service to the community, to nursing, and to aged care.

Rotary Australia, District 9455
• Director of Service Projects, since 2017.
• District Governor, 2016-2017.
• Assistant Governor, 2014-2016.
• President, Rotary Club of Ballajura Malaga, 2010-2011.
• President, Rotary Club of Cunderdin, 1999-2000.
• Member, since 1991.

Rotary Australia, World Community Service
• Member, District (9455) Committee, current.
• Past Coordinator, Maternal and Child Health, Pacific Region.
• Leader, Group Study Exchange Team to Arizona, 2002.

Community
• Telephone Counsellor, Crisis Support Services, Lifeline WA, 2014-2016.
• Past Volunteer First Aid Trainer/Officer, St John Ambulance Western Australia.
Opal Specialist Aged Care
• Quality Advisor, since 2015.
• Regional Quality Advisor, Western Australia, since 2015.

Australian College of Nursing, Western Australia
• Member, WA Chapter, 2010-2013.
• Member, Advisory Council, 2008-2010.
• Fellow, since 2004.

Australasian College of Health Service Management
• Past President, Western Australia Branch.
• Fellow, since 1984.

Other
• Consultant, Canning Consultancy, since 2005.
• Facility Manager, Bethanie Aged Care, 2005-2006.
• Director of Nursing Health/Service Manager, Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital, 2002-
2005.
• Nursing Manager, Bulgin Farm, 1992-2002.
• Director of Nursing, Cunderdin District Health Service, 1991-2000.
• Registered Nurse, since 1972, and Registered Midwife, since 1983.
Awards and recognition include:
• Australian Centenary Medal, 2001.

********************************************

Peter Denzil Craighead OAM
Honorary Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division
Yarram, Victoria
For service to rural health administration.

Medical Administration
• Chief Executive, Latrobe Regional Hospital, since 2008.
• Principal, Alberton Consulting, since 2000; undertaking a number of reviews including
Quality Review of West Wimmera Health Service; Rural Health Service reviews for Tasmanian and Commonwealth Governments and Review of Health Needs of Indian Ocean Territories.

Central Gippsland Health Service
• Chief Executive Officer, 2006-2008.
• Administrator, 2004-2006.

Other Health
• Executive Director, Yarram and District Health Service, 1989-2006. (Director of Nursing and Chief Executive Officer)
• Interim Manager, Latrobe Community Health Service, 1995-1997.
• Director of Nursing, King Island District Hospital, 1985-1989.
• Board Member, LaTrobe Health Assembly, since 2016.
• Chair, Gippsland Integrated Cancer Services, current.
• Board Member, Victorian Healthcare Association, 2011-2017.

********************************************

Kate Gwendolyne Hackett PSM
Public Service Medal (PSM)
Ryde, New South Wales
For outstanding public service to health care delivery in Western Sydney.

Ms Kate Hackett has worked in health services in New South Wales since 2001, when she commenced her nursing career at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney.

In 2006 she relocated to Westmead Hospital where she has been a vital contributor to professional, highly skilled, motivated and adaptable nursing and midwifery standards at the hospital for the past 14 years. As the Director, Nursing and Midwifery she advocates for her patients and a high quality of care, while leading her team in a collaborative manner.

In 2015 she was part of the team that initiated the State of Bio-preparedness and High Consequence Infectious Diseases projects to support succession planning in the event of new and emerging infectious diseases. She then adapted these plans in January 2020 to prepare the hospital to respond to COVID-19. During the pandemic she has been exceptional in developing and rapidly implementing strategies for her nursing staff to ensure a well-managed response to COVID-19, while maintaining a high level of care and compassion for hospital patients.

In addition to developing the Westmead COVID Hospital Strategy, she has also been a valued member of the Western Sydney Local Health District COVID-19 Clinical Expert Advisory Group. She has also played a vital role in the redevelopment of the Westmead Hospital Precinct, advocating for nursing and the development of the precinct.

Ms Hackett is highly respected by her peers and patients for her exemplary standard of professionalism and health care delivery to the community of New South Wales.

********************************************

Patricia Ruth Letts OAM
Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division
Alfred Cove, Western Australia
For service to nursing.

WA Health
• Chief Nursing Officer, 2008 (Temporary Relieving for 6 months).
• Area Executive Director of Nursing, South Metropolitan Health Service, 2001-2010.
• Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery, and Patient Support Services, Fremantle
Hospital and Health Service, 2001-2016.

Curtin University
• Adjunct Associate Professor of Nursing, current.
• Former Member, Nursing Advisory Board.
Other University Appointments
• Former Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Advisory Board, Notre Dame University, 15 years.

Australian College of Nursing (formerly the Royal College of Nursing Australia)
• Committee Member, Western Australian Chapter, 2005.
• Member, 1997-2020.

Professional Associations
• Associate Fellow, Australian College of Health Services Executives.
• Member, Australian College of Nursing.
• Nurse Leader Member, Western Australian at Large Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma
Theta Tau International.
Fremantle Hospital Museum
• Volunteer Curator, current. • Founder.

Awards and recognition includes:
• Lifetime Achievement Award, Western Australian Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards, 2013.
• Finalist, Community and Government Award Category, Telstra Business Woman of the Year, Western Australia, 2003.

********************************************

Katherine Cameron MacArthur OAM
Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division
Tasmania
For service to community health, and to nursing.

CARE Australia
• Deputy Project Manager/Logistic Manager, Banda Aceh, Indonesia, 2005 (3 months).
• Health Manager, Amman Jordan (for work in Iraq), 2004 (2 months).
• International Health Advisor/Manager, Iraq, 2003 (6 months).
• Program Officer – Health, Macedonia, 1999 (6 months).
• Health Coordinator, Katale Zaire and Butare, Rwanda, 1994 (6 months).
• Healthcare Specialist, Ngara, Tanzania, 1994 (6 months).

CARE Australia/USA
• Health Nurse Coordinator, Bardhere, Somalia, Care Australia/USA, 1992-1993.
• Health Care Specialist, Lafon, Southern Sudan, Care Australia/USA, 1993 (6
months). Remote Area Nursing
• Registered Nurse, McConnell Dowell 5B Project, Dampier to Bunbury, 2009-2010.
• Occupational Health Nurse, Nacap – Wolloons Project: Gas Pipeline, Chinchilla to
Roma, 2008-2009.
• Occupational Health Nurse, Ballera Pipeline, SA/QLD, 2008 (6 months).
• Occupational Health Nurse/Paramedic, SAIPEN Project Looping 5A, Dampier to
Bunbury WA, 2007-2008.
• Occupational Health Nurse/Paramedic, Nacap/KT Pipeline WA, 2006 (7 months).
• Relieving Director of Nursing, Weipa Hospital QLD, 1997-1998.
• Remote Area Occupational Health Nurse, McConnell Constructions Gas Pipeline, Mt
Isa to Ballera, 1997 (6 months).
• Occupational Health Nurse, Fletcher-Spie Venture Gas Pipeline to Wallumbilla, SW
QLD, 1995-1996.
• Community Health Nurse, Ngaanyatarra Health Centre, Jamison, Western Australia,
1991 (2 months). Nursing – Other
• Casual Relief Registered Nurse in Charge, Baptcare Karingal Aged Care, Devonport, Tasmania, 2006-2007, 2004-2005, 2003-2004, 1999-2003.
• Ambulance Officer/Registered Nurse, Private Ambulance, Tasmania, 2015-2019.
• Acting Director of Nursing, NWRH Mersey Division, Mersey Hospital, Latrobe
Tasmania, July 1995.
• Nurse in various roles, Mersey Community Hospital, Latrobe Tasmania, 1985-1995.
• Director of Nursing, Queenstown Hospital, Tasmania, 1995 (3 months).
• Nursing, various hospitals in Victoria and New Zealand, 1967-1985.

Professional Affiliations
• Australian Nursing Federation.
• T asmanian Institute of Nursing Administrators.
• Australian Federation of Tasmanian University Women.

Awards and recognition include:
• Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal, Iraq Clasp (2006), Indian Ocean Clasp (2005), South Sudan Clasp (2001), Great Lakes Clasp (2000), Balkans Clasp (2000), Somalia Clasp (2000).

********************************************

Tracey Lynn Moroney OAM
Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division
Monterey, New South Wales
For service to medical education, particularly to nursing.

University of Wollongong
• Deputy Dean, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, since 2018.
• Dean, School of Nursing, since 2017.

University of Notre Dame, Australia
• Dean, School of Nursing, 2010-2016.
• Chair, Unit and Course Accreditation Committee, 2013-2016.

Australian College of Nursing
• Emerging Nurse Leader Mentor, since 2018.
• Member, since 2017.
• Member, (then) Royal College of Nursing Australia, 2001-2016.

Australian and New Zealand Council of Deans of Nursing and Midwifery
• Chair, current.
• Executive Member, since 2014

Awards and recognition includes:
• Sigma Theta Tau International Honour Society of Nursing Award recognition for Regional Committee Work, 2015.

********************************************

Elsie May Penny OAM
Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division
Western Australia
For service to Indigenous community health.

Community Health
• Nurse Manager, (Suicide prevention), South West Aboriginal Medical Services, Bunbury, since 1998.
• Co-ordinator, Benang Suicide Prevention Program, Goomburrup Aboriginal Corporation, 2013-2016.
• Indigenous Community Health Worker, since 1993.

Other
• Board Member, Cultural Healing Centre, Marribank Mission, (former Indigenous Children’s Home near Katanning WA), Southern Aboriginal Corporation, current.
• Director, Marribank Aboriginal Corporation, current.
• Former child resident, Marribank Mission.

********************************************

Edwina Sharrock OAM
Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division
Tamworth, New South Wales
For service to community health in the Hunter area.

Birth Beat – Birth Beat provides child-birth education courses via face to face or online platforms.
• Chief Executive Officer, current.
• Founder, 2012.

Hunter New England Local Health District
• Member, Disaster Management Committee, since 2014.
• Acting Nurse Unit Manager, Maternity, 2019.
• Former Nurse and Midwife.
• Former Aged Care Clinical Nurse Consultant.

Hunter New England and Central Coast Public Health Network
• Board Member, current.
• Consultant, Rural Communities Project, 2019.
• Member, Clinical Advisory Council, since 2016.

UNE SMART Region Incubator, University of New England
• Member, Advisory Board, since 2019.
• Member, since 2017.

Other Appointments
• Founding Member, New England North West Leadership Program, current. Community
• Ambassador, Gidget Foundation Australia, since 2018. Awards and recognition includes:
• Telstra NSW Small Business Woman of the Year, 2019.

********************************************

Patricia Rose Shepherd OAM
Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division
Kirribilli, New South Wales
For service to nursing, to veterans, and to gerontology.

Regal Home Health (formerly Regal Aid Service a private home health and social care service)
• Founder, 1966.
• Established Regal Knitters Social Isolation Program supporting ‘Wrap with Love’,
since 2003.
• Co-established Regal Wisdom Exchange, 2003.

Australian Association of Gerontology
• Secretary/Treasurer, New South Wales Division, 1986-1999.
• Named a Distinguished Member, 2016.

Professional Associations
• Founding President, Primary Nursing Practitioners Society, 1988-1997.
• Fellow, Australian College of Nursing, since 2010; Member, since 1997.

********************************************

Amanda Stephan OAM
Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division
Nhill, Victoria
For service to nursing, particularly to child and maternal health.

West Wimmera Health Service
• Nurse, Maternal and Child Health, Pregnancy Care Clinic, and Well Women’s Clinic.

Wimmera and Southern Mallee Maternal and Child Health Nurses
• Former President and Secretary.
• Member, since 1990.

Department of Health Victoria
• Maternal and Child Health Nurse, current. z

Community
• Volunteer for a range of community clubs.
• A-Grade Coach, Nhill Tigers Netball Club, 2018-2019.

********************************************

End Notes

Methodology
1. Using the contraction “nurs”, search each of the 16 PDFs here: www.gg.gov.au/australia-day-2021-honours-list
2. Weed out those who work in plant nurseries 🙂
3. Check ambiguities here: www.ahpra.gov.au/Registration/Registers-of-Practitioners.aspx
4. Drop all titles and arrange alphabetically
5. Repeat annually

Change The Date
As I’ve argued since 1994 (here), it’s great that we celebrate the stuff and people that make Australia a good place to live, but it’s ridiculous to do so on 26 January each year.

Missing Anyone?
Please let me know via the comments section below if I missed any Nurses on the 2021 Australia Day Honours List. Naturally, I’m happy to correct any oversights.

Paul McNamara, 26 January 2020

Short URL: meta4RN.com/Honours2021

Twenty Twenty Hindsight

Back on 1 January 2020 I published a blog post called “20 Tweetable Fun Facts for 2020: Year of the Nurse” [link]. Anyway, not sure of you’ve heard about it, but there has been a worldwide pandemic since then. Hardly anyone talks about it and it’s rarely mentioned in the media [insert eye roll emoji here].

Rather than ramble on trying to make meaning out of a chaotic year, I’ve tried to summarise 2020 in a collage of photos I’ve taken of social-distancing floor decals and a QR code. It’s not especially profound, but it kind-of tells a story.

2020

That’s it really.  Regular readers will note that this post is just a reworked version of my post-holiday blog post [link]. The only thing to add is that an idea from 2012 re using QR codes in health care settings should be revisited now  – QR codes have never had better market penetration or acceptance.

End

It’s an intentionally short blog post. It’s been a weird year and I’m tired.

Thanks for reading. As always, you’re welcome to leave feedback in the comments section below.

All the best for 2021.

Paul McNamara, 31 December 2020

Short URL meta4RN.com/MMXX

Responding to Trauma

One of the things I use my blog for is as a “parking spot” for inservice presentations and the references used.

This is one of those blog posts.

Here’s the prezi:

Here are the references:

Australian Red Cross & Australian Psychological Society (2020). Psychological first aid: Supporting people affected by disaster in Australia.  3rd Edition.  www.redcross.org.au

Hildegard Peplau quote was completely made-up, but (to my mind, at least) it sums-up the vibe of Interpersonal relations in nursing: A conceptual frame of reference for psychodynamic nursing (1952) :
“The relationship is the therapy.”
NB: as far as I know, this not a Peplau quote, but [thanks Google] I see that it has been attributed to M. Kahn (1997). Between therapist and client: The new relationship 

Joseph Heller quote from Catch-22 (1961):
“People knew a lot more about dying inside the hospital, and made a much neater, more orderly job of it. They couldn’t dominate Death inside the hospital, but they certainly made her behave. They had taught her manners. They couldn’t keep death out, but while she was in she had to act like a lady.”

Hurley, J. & Linsley, Paul. (2012). Emotional intelligence in health and social care: A guide for improving human relationships. Routledge.

Mental Health Coordinating Council (2013). Trauma-Informed Care and Practice:
Towards a cultural shift in policy reform across mental health and human services in
Australia, A National Strategic Direction, Position Paper and Recommendations of the
National Trauma-Informed Care and Practice Advisory Working Group, Authors: Bateman, J
& Henderson, C (MHCC) Kezelman, C (Adults Surviving Child Abuse, ASCA)

Tim Winton quote from Cloudstreet (1991):
““Life was something you didn’t argue with, because when it came down to it, whether you barracked for God or nothing at all, life was all there was. And death.”

Woody Allen quote from Without Feathers (1975)
“I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

One more thing

In doing this session previously it has popped-up that it can be distressing being unable to contact relatives from a blocked/private phone number. Here’s a tip:

From: Paul McNamara
Sent: Wednesday, 9 December 2020 17:00 PM
To: 0412345678@smsmessages.health.qld.gov.au
Subject: To send an SMS via QHealth email type your message in the subject space and send using the mobilephonenumber@smsmessages.health.qld.gov.au format. Also, you can copy & paste the message into ieMR, as I’ve done here.

More info on this theme @ Thinking Health Communication? Think Mobile. meta4RN.com/mobile

End

That’s it. As always you’re welcome to leave feedback via the comments section below.

Paul McNamara, 9 December 2020

Short URL: meta4RN.com/trauma

2020 has been weird.

2020 has been weird.

2020 has been weird. Maybe one day we will look back with nostalgic affection at March 2020. That is when we were first introduced to the notion of standing on a floor-marking to maintain social distancing while in a queue. In a time when the economy has slipped in to recession as an unavoidable side-effect of pandemic suppression, at least the social distancing floor decal/sticker business is booming, I guess.

Sources

I first took a photo of a social distancing floor sticker in June 2020 www.instagram.com/June

In August 2020 I created my first collage of social distancing floor decals www.instagram.com/August

My second collage was at the end of September 2020 www.instagram.com/September

Then, while on a driving holiday up the Queensland coast in October, I thought it would be a good opportunity to record the trip in a very 2020 way:
Gold Coast www.instagram.com/GoldCoast
Noosa www.instagram.com/Noosa
Yeppoon www.instagram.com/Yeppoon
Airlie Beach www.instagram.com/AirlieBeach
Townsville www.instagram.com/Townsville
Mission Beach www.instagram.com/MissionBeach
and back home in Cairns www.instagram.com/Cairns

Nomenclature

We were introduced to the term “social distancing” before it was realised that it would be better to promote social cohesion, and change the name to “physical distancing”. It’s true – the latter is a much more accurate and kind descriptor, but the original term stuck in the public conversation much more than the rebrand.

End

That’s it for this blog post. It’s not terribly deep or meaningful, it’s just recording three dozen photos of COVID-19 floor markers for prosperity, and to acknowledge that 2020 has been weird. Speaking of weird, while in a queue it’s fun to yell “the floor is lava!” as you jump from one social distancing dot to the next. 🙂

As always, please feel free to provide feedback in the comments section below.

Paul McNamara, 1 November 2020

Short URL meta4RN.com/weird

Queensland’s #COVID19 Comparative Advantage

New Zealand has attracted praise for its management of COVID-19, and rightly so. As at the beginning of October where the pandemic is spreading at an alarming rate in many places (see the WHO dashboard), New Zealand has kept the rate of infections low.

It’s interesting as a Queenslander to compare our numbers with New Zealand. Although geographically New Zealand and Queensland are very different, the size of our populations is very similar.

How has Queensland fared with coronavirus compared to New Zealand?

Good. Really good. Here’s the data as at 1st October 2020:

Queensland New Zealand
Population (million) 5.2 5.1
Total Confirmed COVID-19 Cases 1157 1492
COVID-19 Deaths 6 25
Active COVID-19 Cases 4 53
New COVID-19 Cases Last 24 Hours 0 12

Maybe that data has a bigger impact as a chart. Actually let’s make that two charts:

ONE

Comparing Queensland and New Zealand Population size, COVID-19 Deaths, Active COVID-19 Cases and New COVID-19 Cases as at 01/10/20

 TWO

Comparing Queensland and New Zealand Total Confirmed COVID-19 Cases as at 01/10/20

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts in May 2020 and August 2020, I’m not sharing this info as a macabre version of the Bledisloe Cup. It’s not a competition. It’s certainly not a game. There have been over a million deaths, and there are more to come: countless families across the world are in mourning. I’m sharing this because – like nearly other health professional in Queensland – I do not take my good fortune for granted.

The Disclaimer

I’m not an epidemiologist, nor do I have any qualifications or experience in public health. It’s easy to imagine that people who do have that background rolling their eyes and slapping their foreheads at this amateurish, dumb comparison between two populations without taking all the demographic, geographic, climatic and social variables into account.

I’m not pretending to be an expert in this stuff, I am just sharing raw data and counting my blessings. I hope it gives other Queenslanders some reassurance and pride too.  That’s the aim.

Data Sources

Queensland population www.qgso.qld.gov.au/statistics
New Zealand population www.stats.govt.nz/topics/population
Queensland COVID-19 info www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/statistics (data extracted on 01/10/20)
New Zealand COVID-19 info www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-current-situation/covid-19-current-cases (data extracted on 01/10/20)

End

Thanks for visiting. As always, you are welcome to leave feedback in the comments section below.

Paul McNamara, 2 October 2020

Short URL: meta4RN.com/compare

My First Podcast

My first podcast has been released by Nurse & Midwife Support to coincide with RUOK Day. 

It’s about suicide and nurses and mental health and social media and stuff.

You can access it by clicking here, or on the picture below, or go straight to the platform of your choice: SoundCloud + Apple + Spotify + PodLink

Many thanks to Mark Aitken at Nurse & Midwife Support for interviewing me back on 10th October 2019 (World Mental Health Day) for this podcast.

For those who don’t listen to podcasts, below is a copy of the transcript that I have pirated from this webpage:

Mark Aitken: I’m at the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses 45th International Conference in Sydney. My guest today is Paul McNamara: Clinical Nurse Consultant, Consultation Liaison Psychiatry Service at Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service. Welcome, and hello Paul!

Paul McNamara: G’day Mark, thanks for having me.

MA: It’s great to have you here today Paul. Today, we will discuss suicide and support for nurses, midwives and students at risk of suicide and following the death by suicide of a colleague. Paul, as you report in your blog on your website (meta4RN.com which I’ll get you to talk about shortly) you cite a retrospective study into suicide in Australia from 2001 to 2012 that uncovered these alarming four findings:

  1. Female medical professionals are 128% more likely to suicide than females in other occupations.
  2. Female nurses and midwives are 192% more likely to suicide than females in other occupations.
  3. Male nurses and midwives are 52% more likely to suicide than males in other occupations.
  4. Male nurses and midwives are 196% more likely to suicide than their female colleagues.

They’re incredible statistics. Quite disturbing I think, Paul. Would you please tell our listeners a bit more about that? But also, your role and meta4rn.com and why you wrote the blog about suicide that you’ve titled Nurses, Midwives, Medical Practitioners: Suicide and Stigma.

PM: Sure. The hospital that I work in, I’ve been there off and on for nearly 20 years now. Back in the early 2000’s three of the nurses who worked there died by suicide. That was a bit of a shock to us all. It happened within a fairly short amount of time, about 18 months I think it was. It felt like knock, after knock, after knock. A lot of us, myself included, were standing around looking at each other. Looking at our colleagues on the nursing team and thinking, “Oh Christ, what could we have done better? What could we have done differently?” That’s really stuck with me. Then with my role, I work as a mental health nurse in the general hospital. Not everyday day of the week, but certainly every week of my working life I will see people who have attempted to take their own lives and have survived it and been admitted (medically or surgically) to be patched up. While that’s happening, I’m providing the mental health input.

I guess that suicide is just an everyday part of my working life. A bit more than I would like, sometimes, to be honest. When it effects my colleagues, that gives it an extra resonance. It was with those thoughts bouncing around my head when I saw that paper come out with that data. That was published in November 2016, it was written by a pretty impressive bunch of people. They were all doctors on the team. I think one of them was a PhD doctor, not a medical doctor, but the rest of them were medical doctors from various specialties. The bits of that story that were picked up by the mainstream media were about the escalated risk to doctors of suicide. The mainstream media didn’t really pick up on the escalated risks to nurses and midwives, which were actually a bit higher than the risks for female doctors. Interestingly, male doctors don’t kill themselves at a greater rate than blokes in other professions. So, it was very much about nurses and midwives. As we know, most nurses and midwives are females. The whole thing has just got a bit of a resonance for me. It worries me. I guess the title that I gave it, it was speculative. I wonder about the stigma around suicide as we (nurses and midwives) get exposed to suicide stuff so much. I wonder whether we stigmatise ourselves around that. That was what the blog post was all about.

MA: Thanks Paul, I think you make some really interesting points there. Would you tell our listeners a bit about meta4rn.com? People will obviously want to access this blog once they listen to this podcast. I think it’s a really important blog, so what is it and why did you start it?

PM: This could be the cleverest thing here today Mark..

-Laughs-

MA: Apart from us.

PM: That’s right. Meta4rn.com is a homophone, it’s a bit of a play on words. It can be read two ways: metaphor, as in using an analogy to get a point across. A lot of education happens that way, where we use metaphors. I think particularly amongst nurses and midwives, you’ll be at a nursing station saying, “You do it this way because it’s a bit like a…” We use that kind of language a lot. We use metaphors a lot, and I threw on RN at the end because that’s what I am, an RN. Another way to break down that name is meta, which is like if we were having a conversation about another conversation. That would be a meta conversation. A lot of the stuff I talk about on the blog is a conversation about nursing conversations. That was where the idea for the name came from. Every now and again, I feel a bit self-conscious about it because it is a little bit wanky.

I came about setting up that blog because at the time I was working in perinatal mental health. By definition, my patients were women aged somewhere between 15 and 45. That demographic had the best and quickest uptake of social media and smartphones. This is going back to 2009/2010 when I first started mucking around in that space. If you remember back to then, iPhones were still a relatively new idea. I think they had been on the market in Australia for a year and a half, two years. It was women within that age bracket who were buying them first using social media the most. I was saying to the organisation that I was working for at the time that we, as perinatal mental health, should be getting in that space where the women are. But it was a government organisation, bureaucracies are a little bit sluggish. They didn’t really want to act on that, so I left the organisation behind and just set it up representing myself as a nurse (not the organisation). But I put myself up on social media in that space. Initially, because I was still working in perinatal mental health, it had a focus around that. But the funding for that role disappeared, so my focus has become much broader since then.

MA: It certainly has grown, as has your following. You’ve got a lot of subscribers to your website and I get regular emails and information.

PM: Yes.

MA: If people want to subscribe they can just google meta4rn and they can become a subscriber to your site and get access to some of the great information on your blog?

PM: Yes, and look, only if you want to. It won’t be too spamy, I tend to write about one blog post a month now. So, you can do that. If you don’t want to subscribe, if you’re like me you’re probably sick to death of too many emails. Just have a look around and see if there’s anything of interest for you.

MA: Navigate it via the website?

PM: Yes.

MA: You’re an excellent speaker about the importance of nurses and midwives blogging, or being active on social media. Indeed, Paul and I are at the 45th International Mental Health Nurses Conference in Sydney. We have been here since the beginning of this week. We’re recording this podcast on the 10th of October which many of you will know is World Mental Health Day. So, happy World Mental Health Day to you all! May you commit to your own mental health self-care and support. Paul, I think that’s vital. You gave a great session yesterday about nurses and social media. Could you talk a bit more about that please?

PM: The session was 45 minutes long so I definitely won’t give you that much information. But look, the short story is that we (as nurses and midwives) now have access to telling our stories and more access to the public conversation than what we have ever had before. I used some data to back this up, so it’s not just a dopey opinion. But I think maybe if we went back 10 years in time it would be frustrating to hear mainstream media talking about nursing issues without actually talking to any nurses. That still happens now, of course. But, from my point of view, I think that rather than getting frustrated about the mainstream media why don’t we take control of what we do have? This is things like social media; Twitter, blogs in particular, YouTube, Facebook. Make it separate from your personal accounts. I find Instagram a little bit harder to use in a professional sense, but I’m playing with it. I’m probably the wrong demographic to really be good at Instagram. All of these social media platforms are free to access and give us the opportunity to get our voice out there and join in on those conversations. People get to hear from us now, whether they want to or not. I think that’s a really important power. I think that we’d be foolish to ignore it.

I’m not suggesting for a moment that each and every nurse, midwife or student listening to this podcast should go out and create a social media portfolio. That’s not going to be everybody’s cup of tea. But there were some people who were wondering about it, and I would encourage you to explore that space. Nurse Uncut, the NSW Australian Nurse and Midwifery Foundation companion website, they’ve got a blog role there that includes some great examples of nurses and midwives who have got blogs out there. Some of them are really really good, many of them are much better than mine in terms of the way that they look and the clarity of information that they present. But I think that if you’re thinking of having a go, have a go. My only suggestion or caution around that, as a mental health nurse so of course we’re big on boundaries, if you are going to go and do that be really intentional about setting up a professional social media portfolio quite separate to your personal stuff. So, my holiday snaps and what have you, to show off to family and friends are not under my own name. You wouldn’t be able to stumble across them easily, but if you were to Google Paul McNamara mental health nurse or Paul McNamara Cairns you will get bombarded with stuff that I want you to see. I’m mindful that some of my patients, colleagues and bosses will search for me on Google. Usually not with sinister intent, but more out of curiosity. I want to be in charge of what they see, and that’s what that’s all about.

MA: Thanks Paul, I think that’s really useful information. It’s a bit outside of our key or core topic today but it’s still some very useful information for nurses and midwives. Also, I would add that there’s some very useful information on using social media and blogging effectively. But also, in relation to your regulatory requirements on the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia website. So, if you’re kind of worried about how you’re presenting yourself, check those out first to make sure that you’re considering the regulatory requirements of your registration.

PM: And, look, I feel like those are fairly common sense guidelines. The short version is: don’t be a dick, and you’ll be fine.

MA: Good point Paul. Paul, you and I have been speaking about suicide and our concern for the profession, for nurses and midwives in relation to this since we first spoke at the beginning of Nurse & Midwife Support in 2017. In fact, you contacted me and raised your concern in relation to this issue. Indeed, the effect that the suicide of several colleagues at your health service had on you and other members of the team. Would you please share with our listeners why you think this issue is important for us to discuss? In relation to nurses and midwives? Indeed, getting it out into the open.

PM: I was really thrilled when Nurse & Midwife Support launched. I don’t know whether it’s a coincidence that that launch in March 2017 coincided with that paper I was talking about, which was published in November 2016. It was probably too short a lead time to have caused an effect, but the timing was great anyway. The advantage that Nurse & Midwife Support have over the Employee Assistance Programs or going off to see your GP is that it’s specifically targeted to nurses and midwives. It’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which reflects the shift working nature of our jobs. For many and probably most of us anyway. Having that great degree of flexibility is really important.

A downside is probably that it’s all phone based. For a lot of us, at a time of emotional distress we’d really appreciate that face to face contact. But this is a good first step and I’m really pleased that it’s there. I’m the mental health guy who wanders around the general hospital, and I hear mixed reports about peoples experience with the Employee Assistance Program. Some people have had a terrific service, but not all. Particularly, if people are carrying concerns that they think may jeopardize their employment or their registration, accessing support via your workplace is scary. Being able to go beyond the workplace, far far away down to the other end of the telephone has that advantage around that. So, if the way that you manage your stress is that you’re really hitting the booze or doing something that might get you judged poorly in your workplace, I think it’s a great advantage to have somebody far away from the workplace that you can have that conversation with. So, if you do need to go back to your workplace and discuss that part of the issue, you may be able to go back with an at least partially formed solution. I think that that’s the great advantage.

MA: Thanks Paul. Just to clarify for our listeners, Nurse & Midwife Support provides brief intervention counselling and referral pathways. If you phone our service and you need face to face counselling, as Paul suggests, then we’re able to give you some referral options so that you can access that service. But I think in the first instance, it’s often really useful to phone a service like Nurse &Midwife Support, talk through the issue and get some options in terms of where you may go next. Paul, you state in your blog that suicide is a complex matter, that does not lend itself to easy understanding or simple solutions. However, something we know about health professionals is that they know that there are mental health services and supports. Health professionals know that these services can be accessed by people who are feeling suicidal. The data that you cite, and the research suggests that health professionals have an actual or perceived barrier to accessing these existing supports. You posed the question, I wonder what that barrier is? Paul, what is the barrier?

PM: I need to really clarify that I don’t know, that’s probably something for another team of researchers to explore. I can’t pretend that I know for sure but I imagine, through conversations with colleagues, that one of the barriers is about embarrassment. Shame. Nurses and midwives tend to be empathetic creatures, but because we’re so immersed in other people’s traumas we sometimes put up barriers which sometimes include some really irreverent defences. Like, if someone comes in after a suicide attempt, I have heard people say, “Why don’t they do it the proper way?” Stuff like that. When we say stuff like that, in front of each other, it doesn’t really give us permission to disclose that we’re at that point or getting close to being at that point. So, I think that sometimes the defences that we use so that we can go back to our job from day to day may accidentally stigmatize accessing support for each other. That’s what I was really trying to argue in that blog post. That we should just be a little bit careful about the ways in which we talk about suicide, for our patients and/or vulnerable colleagues. Let’s reach out to our colleagues, give permission and actually encourage them to come out and say that it’s ok to put up your hand if you’re going through a really rough spot. It would be foolish to pretend that that alone would make a big difference, but it would help.

MA: Thanks Paul. Do you think that there is a specific stressor, or there are stressors that prompt nurses to commit suicide rather than seeking help?

PM: Again, I’ll throw in the disclaimer that I won’t pretend to have all of the answers. But think about us, as nurses and midwives, and think about our psychopathology. We’ve probably got more empathy than the general man in the street. We’ve been attracted to do a job which almost in essence means that we’ve got to put the needs of others before our own needs. Anyone whose held their bladder for an 8-hour shift would recognise that. While you’re running around putting in catheters for other people, it’s not unusual for us to put the needs of others before us. I wonder whether that’s a part of the reason that nurses and midwives are overrepresented in suicide data, we’re not good at putting ourselves and our own needs first. Throw in on top of that, many of us do shift work so being sleep deprived makes us more emotionally vulnerable. We get exposed to other peoples’ trauma face to face. We’re up close and personal with our patients physical and emotional traumas. We’re the people who go behind the curtain and get exposed to those really raw emotions. For us to pretend that that’s not going to have a knock-on effect, would be a little bit foolish.

MA: Thanks Paul. On this day, World Mental Health Day, the 10th of October, we obviously place the spotlight on mental health. Do you think that there’s a lot of untreated mental health amongst nurses and midwives? Or indeed, untreated mental illnesses amongst nurses and midwives?

PM: Yes, we’re overrepresented in those common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. We’re more likely than our patients to experience depression and anxiety, and I’m guessing for some of those reasons that I was just talking about before. There is, yes.

MA: Do you think that a more widely utilised facility for clinical supervision for nurses and midwives would improve their mental health and wellbeing?

PM: It’s about the only thing that stopped me from going mad. I probably am still a bit mad, but my clinical supervision has been such an important part of my practice. In Queensland, anyway, clinical supervision has been available to any mental health nurse working in the public sector since 2009. Interestingly, in the guidelines before that which were implemented in 2003 in Queensland, nurses were explicitly excluded from it. The rationale for that was a really good one, which is that it would cost a lot of money. But, it’s really important. We do emotional labour. We need to make sure that we look after ourselves.

Clinical supervision, just for those who don’t know a whole lot about it, it’s a bit of a dopey name. The analogy I use is say, a lot of our listeners will hold a Bachelor of Nursing or a Bachelor of Midwifery. Some of our listeners may hold a masters in this space, but not many of us will actually be bachelors or be masters. So, the name doesn’t necessarily accurately reflect what’s going on now. Clinical supervision was named about 100 years ago by psychotherapists. They were addressing their patients, one on one, who were talking through their problems. If they didn’t feel 100% confident that they weren’t making mistakes with the way that their sessions were progressing, they could tap a trusted colleague on the shoulder and be able to discuss the case with them. The colleague was then able to give supervision and support, to minimize the risk of harm to the patient.

That’s where the name comes from, it’s a bit icky for nurses and midwives. We’ve come from a fairly bullying culture so the idea of supervision sounds like scrutiny. It’s not. It’s very much about support and I was really thrilled to see in April this year that the College of Nurses, the College of Midwives and College of Mental Health Nurses in Australia put out that joint statement saying that Clinical Supervision should be available to all nurses and midwives, not just mental health nurses. All nurses and midwives in Australia should be given that opportunity to reflect on their practice so they can care for themselves. It’s not a self-indulgent thing, as this will enable them to provide better care for their patients.

MA: Thanks Paul. Just to pick up that point you made, because I do hear this when I’m around the traps talking to nurses and midwives around the bullying culture in nursing. I know some of our listeners will be very interested in this.

PM: I’ll be fair dinkum with you about this Mark. I think as a bloke, I kind of have managed to stand apart from that. It’s a bit weird, we’ve got two men here talking about nursing and midwifery. I think 89% of general nurses are female and 99% of midwives are female. So, it’s weird that blokes are talking about this, and I think that as a man I’ve probably dodged most bullets around bullying. But I hear it from my colleagues. A lot of it isn’t necessarily intentional. It’s about what happens in our workplace, we’ve got this busy stuff going on in busy wards that are crisis driven. There’s always a crisis going on. When something that would normally be addressed with empathy, kindness and calmness. Being met with an invitation for tea in the staff room, I think nursing has a culture where it’s like, “I can see you’re upset, but let’s get on with it.” I think that that emotional neglect is probably the biggest source of bullying that I’m aware of. But I know that through my gender, I’ve got blind spots around bullying.

MA: Thanks Paul, and what are you doing to look after your own mental health? A part from clinical supervision?

PM: Well clinical supervision is number one. My wife Stella is also a nurse, so we speak the same sort of language. We kind of look after each other. We’re really good at going to restaurants and going on holidays. We make a point of doing those sorts of things, to give ourselves treats. We’re working to get a benefit out of our nursing work. A personal benefit. More recently, I’ve recommitted myself to being a bad tennis player and an awful guitar player. Bought myself a new tennis racket and a new guitar, and I’m determined to be a little less crap at both.

MA: Well I look forward to seeing you in a band soon Paul. Just one last question, do you have a cut through message that will support nurses and midwives to seek help? Who may be at risk of suicide?

PM: Yes, don’t leave it until it’s too late. I think we’re almost predisposed to go; “Oh she’ll be right, she’ll be right, she’ll be right.” Don’t leave it until it’s crisis point would be my idea. If you’re going through a bit of a rough patch, don’t be shy about picking up the phone to Nurse a& Midwife Support. If you’ve got a decent GP who you can have a yarn to, that would be the next best port of call. He or she can make a referral to a credited mental health professional such as myself or maybe a psychologist or someone who can provide that one on one emotional kind of support. Just prioritise your health. I’m playing a tricky little emotional blackmail on your listeners now, but even if you don’t want to do it for yourself, it would be really good for your patients if you’re not overwhelmed by depression and anxiety. If you’re a bit motivated by helping others, you can do that by helping yourself.

MA: Thanks Paul, great advice. Well I can’t believe we’ve come to the end of another podcast, we could talk about this all day! Thanks Paul, we’ve had some great conversations since we met in 2017. We’ve talked about Nurse &Midwife Support today; mental health, suicide and the barriers for nurses and midwives accessing support. We’ve talked about stigma, the research, we’ve provided some strategies for overcoming stigma and the elements to supporting nurses and midwives at risk of developing mental illness and suicide. Paul, do you have any final words of wisdom for our listeners?

PM: Wisdom? No. But look, good luck out there. We know it’s a difficult job. You deserve to be cared for.

MA: Thanks Paul. If you found this podcast useful, please share it with other nurses, midwives, graduates and students. Feel free to rate us on whatever platform you’re listening on. That will help to elevate us and for other people to actually find our podcasts. This is important, because your health matters. Look after yourselves and each other, we’ll have some information attached to this podcast that will provide you with access to Paul’s blog, his website and indeed some services that can support your health and wellbeing. Take care, and I’ll speak to you next time.

 

Three Links

The podcast and transcripts:
www.nmsupport.org.au/resources/podcasts/discussing-suicide-jon-tyler-paul-mcnamara

Suicide info:
www.nmsupport.org.au/mental-health/suicide

Nurses, midwives, medical practitioners, suicide and stigma
www.nmsupport.org.au/news/nurses-midwives-medical-practitioners-suicide-and-stigma

End

That’s it. Thanks again to Nurse & Midwifery Support – what a terrific back-up for me and my colleagues.

As always, your feedback is welcomed via the comments section below.

Paul McNamara, 10 September 2020

Short URL: meta4RN.com/podcast