Anyone for coffee?

On March 8th 2018 I went to the  Royal Infirmary Edinburgh (RIE) along with seven of my colleagues engaged in graduate nursing studies at the University of Edinburgh to profile the launch of Nursing Now—a  global campaign aimed to raise the profile of nurses.  To embody the essence of the Nursing Now campaign, we graduate students went to  the nursing units at RIE to give nurses a gift of coffee as gesture of gratitude.Nursing Now RIE

One hundred and twenty cups of coffee were handed out on over sixteen nursing units!  It was amazing to see the response of the staff nurses when the we came around to hand out the coffees.  Many of them saw us coming and asked cynically “oh you brought us coffee?”  When we said,”yes we did, would you like one?” It was amazing, the nurses  body posture became relaxed and a smile stretched from ear to ear. “Really!” They respond,  “You shouldn’t have, that’s really very nice of you!” Many would said.  Some, were a bit more suspicious: “what’s the catch?”  “Nothing” we said, “we are nurses from different parts of the world doing our graduate work and we want to say thank you as nurses for the great work that you do.”  When we introduce ourselves as nurses, I think that opened the conversation. It seemed that nurses did not expect to be sought out specifically to be thanked, and it was apparent that they appreciated the gesture. Nursing Now RIE

To understand the challenges of nurses and to get an understanding of how nurses could support other nurse in their work we asked many nurses on our rounds “If you could change the world tomorrow as a nurse, what would you do?”  We documented the response as we went around (see photo attached). Common responses included “more staff” and  “better pay”, with variations in that theme being “just fill the positions we have,” and “can we show people what the actual cost of  health care is.”   Many nurses wanted  “to have more involvement in the resuscitation status of patients” and decisions around health care structure and delivery stating:  “involve nurses at all levels of decisions making.” Unique responses included “use Facebook,” and “support nurses working full scope” to “show patients care and most importantly, LOVE”. Nurses Wish List

What struck me about this experience was how committed nurses are to their work and their patients; and nurses want to get it right!  I am reassured that nurses will have the capacity and inspiration to be the leaders of the future.  By supporting each other,  I am certain we nurses will further find energy and capacity to create new directions in healthcare.

Andrew Waddington, RN from Calgary, Canada

Nursing Now Launch!

Nursing Now Logo

Nursing Now is a global campaign which launches this week in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and International Council of Nurses. Nursing Now is based on the findings of the Triple Impact report. The report concluded that as well as improving health globally, empowering nurses would contribute to improved gender equality as the vast majority of nurses are women, and build stronger economies.

Nurses and nursing students from the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian are joining the international launch this week by involving Edinburgh in the global conversation and giving nurses a voice in the future of healthcare.

Representatives of Nursing Now from the University of Edinburgh will be visiting the wards of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh to take coffee to the nurses on duty to thank them for the care they are giving – and to let them know their voice matters.

Nursing Now continues to highlight the essential role and crucial knowledges which nurses bring to healthcare – to elevate the imperative work of nurses worldwide we are going to as the nurses of Edinburgh “If you could change the world tomorrow, as a nurse….”

The Nursing Now global campaign launched 27 February 2018, tickets available for the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh event Thursday 1 March 2018.

Andrew Waddington, RN
(MsC Nursing, University of Edinburgh)

Suffragettes: A 100 years of women’s suffrage

‘A special and important day to celebrate’ — Professor Aisha Holloway

Today, February 6th 2018 marks 100 years since women over 30 first got the vote following the passing of the 1918 Representation of the People Act. All men of 21 and older got the vote as a result of the Act but women had to wait another ten years. It was 1969 before the voting age was lowered to 18 for both men and women.

For me this is a special and important day to celebrate because nursing is a predominantly female workforce and the hard won Nurses’ Registration Act in 1919 came hot on the heels of women’s suffrage and the role nurses played in the First World War. This was certainly not a coincidence.

A special and important person to celebrate on this day is the surgeon and suffragette Dr Elsie Inglis who was a pioneer for women’s rights, health and welfare and an alumna of the University of Edinburgh. Indeed the Old Medical School Courtyard was recently named in her honour. Dr Inglis was born in 1864 in India where her father worked for the East India Company. After the family returned to Edinburgh, she studied medicine at the then University of Edinburgh’s ‘Revolutionary School of Medicine for Women’ and qualified as a doctor in 1894.

Dr Elsie Inglis

Dr Elsie Inglis (Photo credit: Wellcome Collection)

Inglis’s vision as a woman doctor was to raise awareness of the poor conditions and improve standards of care for many of the city’s women. She decided to do this by providing all-women services by nurses, doctors and others.  In 1894 she opened the ‘Nursing Home for Working Women’ in George Square with an all-female staff which then moved to the High Street in 1904. It is said that her work in the community where she witnessed many inequalities especially for women made her very aware of the need to promote their rights. This motivated her to become an active suffragette, forming the Scottish Women’s Suffragette Federation in 1906.


With the advent of the First World War in 1914 Inglis proposed setting up a number of female only units to treat the British troops fighting on the Western Front (France, Belgium and Serbia). Her proposal to the War Office was met with the patronising response ‘My good lady, go home and sit still’. Following further rejection by the Red Cross and the Royal Army Medical Corps she was undeterred and founded the Scottish Women’s Hospitals Committee which oversaw the establishment of four Scottish Women’s Hospitals and 14 medical units across Europe.   The hospitals were staffed only by women who were nurses, doctors, cooks, drivers, cooks as well as surgeons.

The Scottish Women’s Hospitals were well known for their much lower mortality rates than traditional military hospitals operating at that time despite coping with a horrendous typhus epidemic, typhoid and cholera as well as the terrible injuries suffered by the soldiers in the trenches and thousands killed.

Dr Inglis survived being a prisoner of war and returned to Edinburgh where she sadly died in November 1917. Although she did not survive to see the Armistice or votes for women they are an important part of her legacy. It is fitting therefore that Dr Inglis’ legacy and life were celebrated on the centenary of her death in St Giles’ Cathedral in November 2017. It is equally fitting that we remember her today as a suffragette and a carer who combined both passions to defend women’s rights, health and welfare.

Pam Smith,
Professorial Fellow

(Sources: Undiscovered Scotland 2000-2018; Dr Elsie Inglis to be honoured: The Herald: Sunday Herald, 22nd November 2017; Scottish Women’s Hospitals: Dr Elsie Inglis WW1s unsung hero)


Graduate and Undergraduate Connections

To be an outstanding nurse requires intentional collaboration both inter and intra professionally.  Through  collaboration nurses can synergies on projects and opportunities but also take advantages of moments  to reinforce ones knowledge by teaching, coaching and  mentoring. The mentorship tea scheduled for January 24th is an opportunity for graduate/undergraduate nursing students to engage in all of the above activities. In building informal relationships and sharing experiences allows peer mentorship to develop: a bi-directional encounter where experienced graduate nurses can share their nursing background and knowledge while undergrads can also provide new ideas from their varied backgrounds and inject new energy into old problems requiring new solutions. We hope that many nursing students can attend.

Andrew Waddington
MSc Advancing Nursing Practice

Professors Aisha Holloway & Tonks Fawcett visit Sri Lanka

Following a preliminary visit by Aisha in April 2017 to University of Peradeniya to facilitate opportunities with key stakeholders such as charities, community nurses working in public health, alcohol, mental wellbeing, Aisha returned with Tonks to develop opportunities for PG education and research collaboration. The visit from 12th to 17th November 2017, was facilitated by Amrita Sadarangani, Regional Director, South Asia, India & South Asia Liaison Office, University of Edinburgh. During the five days in Sri Lanka, Aisha and Tonks visited three universities and met with officials from the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, the Department of Commerce as well as the British High Commission and the British Council.

Tonks and Aisha visiting the British High Commision Sri LankaThe Pera team

Key outcomes from the highly successful trip include:

  • University of Sri Jayewardenepura — Clinical Elective opportunities for UoE UG Nursing students with reciprocal arrangement for UoSri
  • University of Colombo — Reciprocal student and staff exchanges particularly in research and distance learning PhD for Nursing Faculty staff
  • University of Peradeniya — discussions built on previous visit by Aisha and continuing development of elective opportunities and distance learning PhD for Department of Nursing Staff

At a time when Sri Lanka is looking to national and international development with an active openness for opportunities and collaborations in many areas, the University of Edinburgh is currently well positioned, due to existing educational and research links at Peradeniya University to respond to Global Health priorities.KandySri Lanka sea at Colombo

Global Nursing Seminar

Over the last 18 months Professors Aisha Holloway and Pam Smith have been working with global nursing leader and policy activist Jane Salvage exploring the global nursing agenda through a series of scholarly exchanges. On Thursday 7 December, Nursing Studies hosted a seminar to welcome Jane. She is Visiting Professor at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London, and at the School of Nursing, Coimbra, Portugal.

Jane Salvage

The seminar covered a range of issues including:

  • Thinking nursing, thinking globally, acting locally
  • Nursing Now! – how you can get involved in the global campaign to transform health systems
  • Crisis and opportunity in nursing leadership

The future development of nursing is of vital importance to global health. Despite its great traditions and good practice, nursing faces great challenges – but a window of opportunity is open:  the need to support and scale up nursing is finally being recognised. One game-changer is Triple Impact, a UK parliamentary review of the future development of nursing globally and to which Professors Aisha Holloway and Pam Smith provided written evidence on ‘Leadership’. Alongside other new initiatives, it has provided a springboard for a new global nursing movement, called Nursing Now!

Triple Impact

The stakes could not be higher. Strengthening nursing globally is central to achieving some of the Sustainable Development Goals; delivering universal health coverage and better health for all; improving the lives of women at work; and strengthening local economies. The obstacles include worsening long-term shortages of resources and staff; difficulties with recruitment, retention and return; undervaluing of nurses’ work, such as inappropriate substitution of registered nurses with less qualified staff; poor quality and/or lack of initial and continuing education; and lack of research capacity and awareness. The social and economic returns on investing in nursing are potentially massive, yet the need for this investment is poorly understood.

CRFR Seminar

Nurses are taken for granted, seldom heard and even more seldom heeded. To the detriment of communities, health services and patients everywhere, we are well nigh invisible at top tables. In the boardrooms, offices and conference halls where key health decisions and policies are made, nurses are absent or our voices are muted.

Recent years have seen numerous reports, commissions and strategies on nursing at national, regional and international levels. Many repeat existing knowledge and aspirations, and their recommendations are rarely fully implemented. Nurses talk about them to each other, but few others take much notice. Strong and effective nursing leaders are needed to tackle this huge agenda, and every nurse and every nursing student has a part to play.

See also:

APPG Global Heath

Support for development of nursing globally – a letter from the new WHO Director General

Visit to Japan

Identifying best practice and developing guidelines for migrant care workers to provide culturally sensitive person-centred care for older people and people with dementia in Japan

Dr Radha Adhikari and Professor Pam Smith have just spent 12 days in Japan collecting data for this project funded by the Butterfield Awards for UK-Japan collaboration in medical research and public health practice. Radha is the PI and the project builds on her research collaboration since 2014 with Professor Ruth Carlos, Professor of Economics, Faculty of International Studies, Ryukoko University, Kyoto on the global workforce and migrant care workers in Japan.

Radha interviewing a Filipina care worker

Radha interviewing a Filipina care worker

Group discussion at the Nara Higashi Hospital Group

Group discussion at the Nara Higashi Hospital Group

Group photo at the Maimu Nursing Home, Maizuru, Kyoto

Group photo at the Maimu Nursing Home, Maizuru, Kyoto

Radha & Pam visiting a temple to see Autumn leaves

Radha & Pam visiting a temple to see Autumn leaves

Mount Fuji from the Shikansen ‘bullet train’

Postgraduates Students Visit to Western General Hospital

On 16th October students from the MSc in Advanced Nursing Practice spent an unusual afternoon visiting the Western General Hospital, instead of having a regular Personal & Professional Development tutorial.

Western General Hospital

The group met a former MSc student, Angie Balfour, who gave the current students a nice opportunity to explore the hospital and provided them with a deeper insight about the environment of NHS in Lothian area.

Angie presenting ERAS project

First Angie presented her work as a senior research nurse at WGH mainly looking at ERAS (Enhanced Recovery After Surgery) a programme designed to aid fast recovery after surgical interventions.

Students had a good opportunity to ask questions and exchange knowledge and experience among a diverse multinational group.

Students in Colorectal Unit meeting room

Students discussing the NHS environment with Angie

By the end of the day, students were thankful to Angie for providing such an opportunity to explore the WGH, and for the new ideas they had after the ERAS presentation. Thanks to Sharon and Angie for organizing this visit. As a group, we are all looking forward to visiting other NHS settings in the Lothian area to learn and discover even more.

Esra Sinary
MSc Advanced Nursing Practice 2017-18

A ‘sepsis’ exchange!

Sepsis is a major health concern and its understanding and management forms a key part of our BN with Honours curriculum. It is a challenging concern and not always easily understood as the pathophysiology is complex and, once established, sepsis can be difficult to contain.  Despite this it is a most rewarding field of research and study.

It was therefore a real pleasure to approached by Edinburgh’s George Watson’s College to give a talk on Sepsis to their senior school students who were members of their Science and Engineering Society. Uncertain as to how to pitch this outwith the University setting and in a relatively short presentation time, I knew I had to rethink the content and messages to suit this particular audience.

Watson’s College is an impressive building which must inspire its students. The auditorium was equally so and the audience, both staff and students, was welcoming and enthusiastic. It worked. They were engaged, responsive and enquiring. I could not help but see them all as prospective undergraduates with us.  They left, I hope, with some key messages to help them understand how sepsis develops, how it might be prevented, who is at risk and what key early warning signs should alert them for action.  I also hope they sensed my passion for nursing and rewards from this career path and indeed that of all health care professions.

It would be a real joy if some of the student audience might bring their enthusiasm to our nursing degree or to medicine here at the University of Edinburgh.

I left with chocolates and a smile.

Tonks N Fawcett
Professor of Student Learning (Nurse Education)

Council of Deans of Health

Hey all, my name is Emma Jane Robertson, I’m a nursing student in my third year at the university. This year I was accepted for the Council of Deans UK-wide Student Leadership Programme, a 6 month long course designed to create leadership skills in students who are working within a Nursing or Allied Health Professional role. So for the next few minutes let me grab your attention to tell you about what it’s about, why it’s important and if you’re a student nurse why you should apply for the course this coming year.

You may be thinking leadership as a student is premature? Surely I will work for a long time before even considering leadership and don’t need to worry about it now? That is the thoughts that went through my head on the train down to my first day on the course. As a, reasonably, fresh faced 2nd year nursing student, leadership hadn’t crossed my mind. I had a huge passion for nursing, the NHS and most importantly its patients, so did find myself questioning ways of better practice for them. But no, I could not even think of that so inexperienced and young, right? Then came an opportunity to join this programme and drinking a coffee in Costa, I off the cuff decided to apply, with no chance of getting in of course. Again wrong. Still, beyond my own understanding I was accepted onto the course and this new, unknown journey had begun.

Group work in Birmingham

The leadership programme began with a 2-day conference in Birmingham and is going to end with a single day workshop in London. This consists of leadership workshops, talks from people in all aspects of leadership in health care and learning about your own practical skills and creating your own leadership journey. Between the two conferences you get a mentor who works with you through your journey and the last conference ties it all off so you can then continue to use your leadership thereafter. I am currently in the in between, with my fantastic and inspiring mentor Jane Mair. In a brief blog I can only scrape the surface of what this course has done for me and the things I have done through the course. It has opened doors I could not have imagined, made me realise I can search for opportunities to make a change at whatever stage I am at and showed me a new insight into what working in healthcare is and let me see behind the scenes of the NHS and the vast roles in nursing – from a band to 5 to an academic to a manager of a hospital – and how each role is as equally challenging and important as the other. Its stretched me to be better, want better and not give up on our great, although flawed, NHS.

Do I know where I will end up in the nursing world, definitely not. But I do know I want to spend my career constantly learning more, experiencing more and if I get to make a difference to one patients journey it will be worth every ounce of work I spend my life doing.

So back to my beginning, how can I think of leadership? Should it be done as a student?

Yes. No doubt in my mind, no matter where you end up working you will use leadership. At university, as a student nurse, as a staff nurse, as a charge nurse, as a site director, you get my gist. Better leadership is better patient care, and is that not the goal of every single nurse out there.