Posts Tagged ‘issues’


Tales of Passion

February 28, 2008

Novelist Isabel Allende talks about writing, women, passion, feminism. She tells the stories of powerful women she has known, some larger-than-life (listen for a beauty tip from Sophia Loren), and some simply living with grace, dignity and ingenuity in a world that, in too many ways, still treats women unjustly.

Listen and be inspired!


to be human

February 28, 2008

‘Perspectives on the Human Experience through the Arts’ is my chosen options module this semester and it’s a challenging one. This module is based on the belief that for health professionals to learn what it is to be human they need compassion and appreciation of the uniqueness of individuals. Studying the arts and humanities helps us do just that and though it may sound like the easy option in an otherwise heavy academic year or ‘time out’ to some, it isn’t. Seriously.

By exploring a range of materials, including individual pieces of work created by survivors, we are encouraged to enter into their world and by doing so recognise the things that make us human: vulnerability, individuality, personality, imagination, passion, spirit, breath …

We explore the many different experiences found in childhood through adolescence to old age and end of life issues and discuss the difficulties people face and the reasons why they do what they do in a world that has become too harsh for them to bear.

Reality shocks and not for the first time my awareness is heightened. Most of the material isn’t an easy read and with or without the compassionate heart, one cannot help but be affected.

This poem is from The Memory Bird (1996) Edited by Caroline Malone, Linda Farthing and Lorraine Marce. Published by Virago.

As I watch blood ooze from my vein
Slowly the droplets anaesthetise my brain
The screaming in my head gently subsides
Calmed and sedated, almost mesmerised.

I am losing the struggle to survive
I have to bleed to know I’m alive
The tramlines of war scar my skin
The only sign of battle within.

My life drips on to the barren floor
Tears flow in rivulets under the door
Numbness spreads right through my core
Where is my energy to fight for more?

But these are not for death but life
Do not be alarmed at the way I strive
Marks on my body are a small price to pay
For freedom from Hell and a new dawning each day.


tittle tattle

February 24, 2008

A can’t wait to tell B she was told by C that he overheard D making comment and discussing her late arrival in class (how disruptive and rude it was etc etc etc).  Things at the moment are somewhat strained between A and D therefore this news doesn’t bode well for future interaction.  Now B knows this story couldn’t possibly be true because (1) C was sitting on the far side of the room and would need to be able to hear the grass grow to hear their conversations and (2) B was sitting next to D at the time and would have heard her if she’d made such a comment.  B explains this to A who refuses to accept the explanation, choosing instead to believe C’s story because she couldn’t see him ‘making up such a thing, I mean why?’ (why indeed?).  B also can’t believe that she’s listening to this tittle tattle! 

Knowing the tension between these two people and seeing the efforts of the mischief maker (C) for what they are, B is in a bit of a pickle because she is friendly with both A and D.  Should she:

(a)  Allow A to continue to think the worst of D?

(b) Allow C to enjoy the fallout, menace that he is?

(c) Keep D in the dark … ignorance is bliss?

(d) Leave well alone, it’ll sort itself out?

To those of you who have made it this far in the story I apologise for its long-windedness BUT I’m fed up with tittle tattle!  A, B, C and D are all mature students for goodness sake who ought to know better!   

Being a listener is supposed to be a good thing, isn’t it?  Is it?  I have this friend who can, at times, be a great listener but has also developed the ability to ‘switch off’ over the years.  Wish I could sometimes, I really do!  Or I could just shout, jump up and down, throw a tantrum and tell them I’m not speaking to them EVER again!!!  Probably wouldn’t even notice!  


ethics now

October 30, 2007

Semester 3 and it feels like I just float (not the right word because floating suggests something tranquil which I’m not but I’m all out of words) from essay to test to exam to reflection to placement to uni and then it all begins again. Oh big long sentence!  It could be compared to the nursing process … a continuous cyclical and systematic approach except my approach, while certainly continuous, seems to be neither systematic nor methodical and there in lies the problem! 

Time to focus and move on.  This time to ethics.

Today we had lecture (4) of 6 on medical ethics. I’m fascinated and intrigued.  That is until I have to consider four fictional scenarios and write about one of them to demonstrate sound evidence of ethical rules and principles applicable to clinical practice.  Now I’m a wee bit confused.

So what does ethics mean? I read somewhere that it’s the rightness or wrongness of human actions.

If this is true then surely we all face ethical decisions on a daily basis and the consequences of those decisions.  We’ve all had to make uncomfortable decisions at times but the life and death questions don’t often come into our daily experience.

I wouldn’t call me a fence sitter. But in discussion and conversation I don’t often find it that difficult to see things from someone else’s point of view. The problem is that in the very real world of patient care there is no luxury of opting out and it’s only now that I’m beginning to realise that.



June 5, 2007

I like deadlines.  They bring out the best in me because they make me more organised.  And I like being organised.  I’m not the great list writer I used to be but I like nothing better than to be orderly, tidy with things in their place.  But there’s another side to me that has emerged over the last year or so.  I’m reluctant to admit it but I have developed a tendency to faff a bit and can be indecisive especially when I’ve got lots of time to make up my mind.  It’s like when you find an empty car park and spend ages deciding where to park.  That kind of thing. 

The reason for saying this is well I was thinking about it all earlier and how we all get on: the organisers and the ones who like to faff.  

As part of a group of six students I’m working on putting together a presentation on ‘stigma’ for Friday.  This Friday that is.  We have had this in the timetable for weeks but, not surprisingly, we’ve left it to the last minute.  So, with exam nerves calmed, we met after the test and in no time at all we’d decided what we were doing, who was doing what, and that I was pulling it all together in a powerpoint that included a film clip and a short cartoon for See Me.  Eh?  This means that I need to find a technological expert that can assist, nay carry out, aforementioned film clip insertion (just hope Stewart’s in tonight!).


taking rules seriously …

May 21, 2007

mobile phones … should be confiscated!  Well not all but some definitely!

I am absolutely sick to the back teeth of folk texting during lectures or, during a class, they leave their phones lying on the desk beside them like a lifeline so they can see when the wee light comes on to signal ‘new text message’.  It’s sooo distracting and quite unnecessary especially when they inevitably feel the need to have a swatch and respond immediately.  

Today was the last straw for me.  We were told at the beginning of a two hour sociology exam to switch all mobile phones off … need I say more?  It only took five minutes before two phones starting bleeping with messages.  Am I out of order or justified in my rant?

Listen, I know people forget sometimes but surely it’s not rocket science understanding the concept that checking is a good thing!  I check about a hundred times mind you which is excessive (and OCD in the making).

… and as for the same people that come in late EVERY day whether it’s first thing in the morning, after a short class break or lunch … oh please!  Why not just stick to the rules and give us all a break!?!!!

You might gather it’s been a long day … rant over!



May 13, 2007

Madeleine McCann in a Everton FC shirt

Madeleine McCann was snatched from the family’s holiday apartment in Portugal.  She has now been missing since 3 May.

As the McCann family spend a second weekend without their beautiful 4 year old daughter please take time to remember them in your prayers. 


not for sale

April 30, 2007

It is estimated that over 4,000 women are trafficked into the UK every year with evidence of over 80 young people who have trafficked into the UK for sexual exploitation over the last three years. 

On 20 May churches across the UK will mark ‘Not for Sale Sunday’ highlighting the illegal trade in people trafficking.  Make this day a time to reflect and respond.  Start to make a difference in a world where where women, children and young men are subject to abuse, sexual humiliation and violation.


Domestic Abuse

April 29, 2007

 Women’s Aid pose a good question: What does it take to get people talking about domestic abuse?

Take a celebrity, apply makeup to fake some bruising and she’ll get noticed.  True?  Those who know me understand how sceptical I am about celebrities being involved in campaigns and  appeals but actually I think the act campaign works well.  Real victims like to keep their physical and emotional bruises hidden and sometimes don’t even admit that a problem exists.  They put a face on it and keep going.  Women’s Aid don’t want it kept quiet they want us to act now.

As part of my training I attended an awareness session last week, the main objective was to provide student nurses with information on the subject (domestic abuse), consider the impact on the health of individuals, discuss the related issues and highlight the guidelines for healthcare workers. 

As one who has a particular interest in the subject I found it disturbing, fascinating, frustrating, sad, informative and wanting to do more.

“Domestic abuse is most commonly perpetrated by men against women and takes a number of specific and identifiable forms.  The existence of violence against men is not denied, nor is the existence of violence in same sex relationships, nor other forms of abuse, but domestic abuse requires a response which takes account of the gender-specific elements and the broader inequalities which women face” (The Scottish Partnership on Domestic Abuse National Strategy to address Domestic Abuse in Scotland, 2000).

Have a look at the timeline:

1600s – There were special crimes and punishments for women only.  Women found guilty of gossiping and quarrelling were forced to stand in public with “branks” over their head.  A branks was made of metal and had a mouthpiece to hold down the tongue, keep the mouth open and the woman silent. 

1782 – Judge Francis Buller ruled that a man could beat his wife with a stick as long as it was no thicker than his thumb.  It was considered acceptable at this time that men would need to use violence to control and punish their wives.

1800 – Before a woman married, her father or nearest male relative would make decisions for her until she reached the age of 21.  When she did marry, her hsband made decisions for her and owned all her possessions up until 1870.

1909 – Suffragettes (praise the Lord for the Suffragettes – DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!!!) who had been campaigning for the right to vote for almost thirty years, began to take militant direct action.  Many went to jail and some went on hunger strike and force-fed.

1919 – Nancy Astor, first woman MP took up her seat being elected at a bi-election.

1928 – All woman over the age of 21 given right to vote.

1976 – A husband could still claim damages for harm done to him when his wife had been raped on the grounds that the exclusive possession of his eife’s body had been violated.

1989 – Rape within marriage was recognised as a crime in Scotland.  The law was changed in England and Wales in 1991.

Makes for interesting reading doesn’t it especially when you think that not that long ago rape was acceptable within marriage.  In a survey conducted in 1994, 67% of men stated that they would use physical violence against their partner in certain circumtances. 67%!!! (NHS Lanarkshire and Doorway).

While it’s easy to see the risk of staying in an abusive relationship it’s not as easy to simply walk away to guarantee that violence will stop.  Many women are frightened of the abuser due to threat of harm of death or she may believe it all her fault or that no-one will listen because the behaviour that her abuser displays in public is very different to that displayed in private making it harder for her to reach for support and that much needed lifeline.

During the session lots of discussion took place and the reality hit hard.  Domestic abuse can affect anyone.  It’s nothing to do with social background, culture or age group.  It is more common that we think and somewhere a woman could be suffering in silence because there seems no way out.  And who’d believe her anyway. 


Election Time

April 27, 2007

It’s Scottish Parliament election time again and it may take some days to read through the various leaflets that have made their way through the letterbox.  Actually it’ll take about 5 minutes because only the SNP and Labour could be bothered telling me why I should vote for them. 

In an attempt to work out where my allegiance lies I decided to take the VOTE NAVIGATOR  quiz … still not conclusive!

And what’s the Scottish Christian Party all about?  Who ARE these people for goodness sake?!!  Surely they’re not real?  Nah, this is Scotland in 2007, a tolerant and inclusive country … wonder how many votes they’ll get eh?