As everyone starts to feel the vice of lockdown ease off just that little bit, Ed & Stu took some time to reflect on what the last few months has entailed for RMN Behaving Badly.
As Covid-19 engulfed the UK, everyone (other than the Government, the millionaire directors of a sports apparel retailer & a man who sells cut price booze) recognised that we would have to lock ourselves away. The public seemed to understand what was needed; it was time to think as a community rather than as individuals.
That was when the ‘live-pods‘ came into being, a mechanism to reach out to our RMNBB community. The plan was simple; bring people together at a time when isolation & loneliness began to take hold for many. When the pressure of work was becoming the new normal and when a good PRN laugh was required STAT!
Our most recent guest Darren McGarvey, award winning author of Poverty Safari, spoke passionately and eloquently about his views on the socio-political landscape of the UK. Darren highlighted what might be done to better engage those communities abandoned on the periphery of capitalism, and the ways in which we Mental Health Nurses might gain greater insight into individuals living subject to the most appalling inequality.
Our fabulous group of Patrons have also grown since we launched our Patreon page in May. With 27 regular patrons & several associated private sponsors (sadly nothing from Highland Park yet…) we are now able to sustain our communication networks, develop our technology & pay guests for their time & talent.
As the world powers on regardless of Covid19 and the vast inequalities on our society are laid bare, Ed & Stu are keen to use RMN Behaving Badly as a means of positively influencing the social, political & environmental landscape for MH Nurses & the communities we work within.
Inequality manifests itself in so many forms, some subtle, others overt. The distressing & utterly heinous acts perpetrated upon the late George Floyd (tragically only the most recent in a litany of discriminatory extrajudicial executions) has brought to the fore the grotesque presence of racism in our society, our profession & institutions. It would be inconceivable to allow the momentum generated by the Black Lives Matter movement to be lost.
As a member of the Nursing family, MH Nurses know only to well the variances in treatment & application of the law often elicited upon BAME patients. We are also sorely aware of the disproportionate number of our Nursing Brothers & Sisters who have lost their lives whilst caring for people throughout the pandemic, our thoughts are with them, their families, friends & colleagues.
As RMN Behaving Badly grows, so Ed & Stuart want to ensure that we can do more than just bring these issues to the fore, debate them & challenge them; we want to develop a tangible response to tackling inequalities wherever they may be found.
We have yet to discuss the blight of homelessness, the state of prison care & its inherent lack of rehabilitation, or the connections between drug dependency, drug deaths & disillusionment of so many citizens in the UK. We need to talk about services for children, those with complex needs and raising the profile of nurses in care provided. And we need to talk about making nurses’ voices louder and more persuasive than the truth-twisting perpetuators of the status quo (And Status Quo as well, they have a LOT to answer for – Ed).
To help us take our next steps we will be hosting a Patron Chat in the very near future to draw on their experiences & expertise. We hope to harness their input to develop a manifesto; a ‘road-map’ if you will of where we can take RMN Behaving Badly & upon what we will focus our energies. We might even collate it into a little red book…
Stay safe, don’t forget to subscribe, and we’ll speak to you soon.
This episode has been several months in the planning & we are both delighted to be able to host author, political commentator & musician Darren McGarvey aka Loki onto the next Live! instalment of RMN Behaving Badly
As Mental Health Nurses, we both feel strongly that the voices of the people & communities who often rely upon the care & expertise of the services that we work in should be reflected in the topics we discuss.
In his award-winning book Poverty Safari – Understanding the Anger of Britain’s Underclass, Darren invites the reader to understand the world as reflected from the view point of child, adolescent & young man growing up in a society beset with inequality. He tells his story in his own words. Whilst set in Glasgow in the 1990’s onwards, Darren’s account of everyday life living on the periphery of capitalism & commerce, could easily be any city in Britain today, and he tells it without apology or reverence.
The publication of the Marmot Review 10 Years On in February 2020 was a stark reminder that these inequalities persist today, and the lip service paid by politicians is worth no more than a poster on the side of a bus during a referendum campaign.
Darren will spend the show with us discussing his lived experiences & his observations of the current socio-political landscape. We invite listeners to spend some time with us in the company of Darren as we explore what we as Mental Health Nurses can do to combat the prejudices & stigma actively directed at the most vulnerable & excluded citizens within our society.
Join us for what we are sure will be an entertaining & thought provoking show with a guest whose eloquence & insight is unrivalled. We welcome listener questions – before the show send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and use the chat box in Zoom once the meeting starts.
The event is free but registration is required. Click here to register.
This show is made possible by our patrons who give each month to support the work of RMN Behaving Badly. You can find out more by visiting Patreon.com/RMNBehavingBadly
Upon registering, your email address will be added to our mailing list. If you’d rather not hear from us (no spam, no sales ever) then just send an email to email@example.com
With the four nations of the UK going their own ways in terms of Lock Down and Matt Hancock reminding us that we are all loaded after our bumper pay rises (15% no less!), we thought it would be a good idea to have a third FREE Live-Pod to reflect on the chaos.
Stu & Ed want to continue to bring the RMN BB community together again building on the success of the most recent Live Pod with Susan Morrison & Susie McCabe. This time however, they’ve ‘changed things up’.
Comedy is still at the heart of what’s on the agenda and, like the Live-Pods before, the acts working with us won’t leave listeners disappointed. Now it should be noted that we knew our first guest before Simon Cowell, and he’s been a friend to our profession for way longer than Amanda Holden.
Lee Ridley, known to many as Lost Voice Guy won Britain’s Got Talent in 2018, wowing the public in the process. Lee mixes his life experience with political satire & observations to hilarious effect so we are confident that once again that he will be a hit with our listeners.
Lee has recently launched his book and we will be giving away a signed copy to one lucky member of the Live Pod audience. His book tells of his remarkable journey to the top of UK comedy, radio & TV. We would certainly recommend it so here’s a link – we are sure he could be persuaded to sign some more copies. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Im-Only-Parking-laughter-priority/dp/1787631478
If you would like to submit a question to Lee then email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Our second guest on our third Live Pod will see the introduction of a live acoustic music set by one of the foremost live performers on the London live music scene. Murdo Mitchell‘s performances have been recorded by hundreds of people in and around London and his own videos on YouTube have seen well of 500k viewings.
He is lead singer in the well established indie-pop-rock outfit Delphi but on the 30th May it will be Murdo doing his solo material and perhaps some covers for you to sing along with from the comfort of your own home.
Well known for his passionate & committed approach to performing we that you’ll all enjoy this addition to the pod. Murdo will be able to take orders for his CD & we would encourage folks to invest in a copy; this young man is going places.
We would also like to thank our Patrons who have given us their support via Patreon to ensure that we have the means to bring this show to you all free & live with such talented artists. If you would like to contribute to the development of our Community then click on this link https://www.patreon.com/RMNBehavingBadly
Our aim is to remain informative, relevant, funny & free so if you feel that’s something you can chip in with to help us reach a bigger audience then come join us.
To register for the utterly FREE Live Pod on Saturday the 30th of May click here, in the meantime be safe & thanks for following us.
RMN Behaving Badly are delighted to announce our second ‘Live Pod’ on Saturday May the 9th @ 9pm
Following the success of our live event on the 19th of April featuring the fabulous John Scott & with the continuation of the Lock-Down, it felt only right to bring everyone back together.
Recognising that the world is a different place at the moment and that the politicians really shouldn’t be left to their own devices, Ed & Stuart will be discussing the things that they think matter most; it is their pod after all.
To break up their pontificating & postulating, this time Ed & Stuart will be joined by fantastic comedians Susan Morrison & Susie McCabe, both hilarious, both without compromise in their material, a great match up for the pod & our listeners.
Joining the event couldn’t be easier. Click on this link to request a place & you’ll be sent a link via email. W are looking forward to seeing all of those lockdown hairdos.
If you havent had the chance to catch up with the live pod featuring the magnificent John Scott then you can watch and listen by clicking below
Corona Virus has brought with it a considerable number of challenges for us all across Health & Social Care and I’m sure that what people choose to call an area designed to offer staff sanctuary is certainly not worth spending too much time upon. Or is it?
I chanced upon a Tweet where a clearly caring & supportive Nursing Manager was sharing pictures of a space in an acute hospital for staff to rest. Now having worked in Mental Health services for over 20 years, I feel more than qualified to comment on tea and coffee making facilities. You will be pleased to know that there was an ample size kettle, a fine selection of biscuits and a not too shabby stock of tea and coffee.
My first thought was ‘well done’, good to see a long over due focus on staff welfare and wellbeing. My second thought was, ‘its a shame it took a global pandemic for such developments to garner traction’. And my final thought as I read the name of the room was ‘really’? (it was actually a bit less printable). The room was called a ‘wobble room’, there was a hashtag and everything.
My fingers were poised to start to allow the stream of consciousness pour from my head to the Twitter feed and begin to praise them for their efforts whilst decry the use of such a nebulous and suggestive title for a room. I stopped myself, I texted Ed. Ed agreed, he too wondered ‘really’? Whilst we both fully agreed with the practical aspect, we just couldn’t get past the name of the room.
On further consultation with some knowledgeable mental health nursing types and a HR contact, it appears such rooms described as ‘wobble rooms’ were indeed popping up, no pun intended. I should be clear at this juncture, the issue isn’t the purpose of the room and the need for such a facility for staff is undeniable, regardless of Corona Virus. The issue here is the tag that’s attached to it – ‘wobble’.
Now whilst others may describe how they are feeling emotionally in a particular way and using words or phrases which they find comfortable to say, for example; ‘That shift was chaos, right in the middle of it I could feel myself having a wee wobble’. Now that is that individual’s own words, describing their response in a particular set of circumstances. Now consider this dialogue between a Staff Nurse and a Senior Charge Nurse.
SCN – “How are you feeling, that was some shift”?
SN – “Yeah, it was pretty full on, it was really chaotic at one point”
SCN – “I could see that, I’d heard you’d had whole load of things happening at once in the middle of it all, do you want to go and take some time in the wobble room?”
We do get hung up on language in our world, but for bloody good reason. If the Recovery movement and actual inclusion of patients in their care and treatment has taught us anything, its that words do matter. Recognising that there are often cultural differences across the family of nursing and that what we may think is acceptable within the world of Mental Health, others may think is superfluous or inane. So we sought wider opinion and launched a mini-poll on Twitter, encouraging our listeners to tell us what they thought and asked them the following question.
Is the use of the word ‘wobble’ to describe a safe space or a wellbeing area for staff acceptable?
We got an incredible response to the question with a host of views and opinions. In total 211 people voted in the mini poll which went up on our Twitter feed for 48hrs. Now we have to say, we appreciate that in terms of rigour, this is not a scientific paper and the poll was merely to understand if there was a variation in opinion out there; a Research Nurse I am not.
The thread of comments made for really interesting reading. I should say that a great many individuals were inclined to feel that the use of the word ‘wobble’ was indeed ok and very eloquently justified their position.
I think it’s important to acknowledge that we all have wobble/ shaky moments, I know I do! Wee have seen lots of images recently likening nurses to superheroes, which is kind. But I don’t feel like a superhero, I’m human & feel fragile & anxious most days as this is scary!
Jennie Lee Sims RMN (@jennieglee)
This was one of the first responses and it reminded me just how vulnerable we all are right now, and that whilst the best intentions of the public and the media are in the main with us, unhelpful analogies such as being superheroes or angels is unhelpful. We are all scared. Another follower of the pod went on to give another honest appraisal of the matter by being ambivalent about the name as long as the space was available.
Can only answer honestly by saying I don’t care. Wobble room, chill out room, safe space if we want to go all ‘woke’. If we have an area then what will make a difference for staff is colleagues around them and strong, empathic leadership form senior nurses.
Derek Pettigrew (@DerekPettigrew)
And it is worth noting that these are just two examples of colleagues who held the view that it was either ok or that the use of the word ‘wobble’ was irrelevant. I began to doubt myself, perhaps I was in the minority? I’ve been wrong before and doubtless it’ll happen again, but this just felt counter intuitive to me as a Mental Health Nurse. The focus we place upon ‘strengths based’, unambiguous language that helps reduces tense situations or lead to loaded questions when working with people would seem at odds with the idea of referring to someone’s reaction as a ‘wobble’. They themselves may call it that, as that is what they identify it as; others may use ‘wigging out’ or even a ‘melt-down’. They could all mean the same thing or very different things. Why, therefore, risk the introduction of ambiguity?
Now, my bias in this matter is in no doubt, nor Ed’s. We value and encourage the innovation, its the label we were questioning, yet there was clear support for the use of ‘wobble’. Then the introduction of a circa 1980’s children’s toy was dropped in with great effect, drawing sharp focus upon the imagery that could be summoned up by the use of a word.
Makes me think of ‘Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down’. So is it not ok to fall all the way down?
Shelley Pearce @spearce33801
Without even answering the question I immediately felt that the connotations of brought about by such a phrase would make me jar at the very thought of spending time in a ‘wobble room’.
I really admire the idea, but to call it a ‘wobble’ room just isn’t right. Its like the equivalent of the naughty step to me.
Kristy Gibson @KittyGibson90
Further comments went on to back up the importance of the language in recognising that this was not a room whose function should be diminished by contextualising it with an emotive colloquialism. One comment struck a chord with me personally.
No and I do care about the language and agonise about the use of words in my every day practice
Preferred not to be Cited
Whilst another colleague offered alternatives which they felt offered less ambiguity and more of a tangible idea.
I’m very in favour of the acceptance of healthcare workers being seen as human and therefore experiencing the ups and downs of life, but I feel ‘wobble’ has a patronising tone to it. I definitely think ‘recharge or ‘chill’ room would have better connotations.
Without a shadow of a doubt, every single person who commented felt that the concept was sound and essential to the wellbeing of staff. Multiple responses referred to wellbeing. Some individuals spoke of having ‘wellbeing’ rooms already in place long before the emergence of Corona Virus. Several of them suggested that it was the ideal name for such a room given its purpose and function.
I’d prefer to see ‘wellbeing room’ on the door. ‘Wobble’ seems to suggest that its a deviation from the norm, a lapse or a weakness. It is not. Like so many others have said, more eloquently than I can, language matters
Samuel Richards @samueloftensam
I have to say, Samuel is more eloquent and succinct than I had been to this point and articulates the vast majority of views. Whilst some said ‘safe space’ would be good, others wondered if the use of the word ‘wobble’ minimised the importance of the room itself and may generate a stigma of not coping. Will Murcott gave possibly the best suggestion which could have been seen as a compromise, suggesting no name, my only worry then would be would be what word would fill that vacuum? His idea is not without merit given that language often takes us down rabbit holes like this blog.
Lets just have it as a room. A room that everyone knows they can use and they can call it whatever they want on the way to it to do whatever they want in it (within reason of course) 🙂
Will Murcott @billymurcott
As I watched the chat around the matter progress I was impressed at the professionalism on both sides of the ‘wobble’ debate. Despite people holding different views it was clear that there was respect for one another’s opinions and a recognition that as human clinicians need emotional and psychological support at work.
Ultimately the Poll ended as follows:
The outcome was clear from our perspective, over 50% of those who voted felt that the use of the word ‘wobble’ was not appropriate to describe such a space. There are multiple responses beyond those cited that clearly articulate that language is important when considering the labelling of emotions and human reactions. We could do so much more by analysing it further but the purpose was to spark interest, debate and discussion.
I was going to end the Blog there but this very morning more chatter started about it and when myself and Ed dared to question the language we were advised it was staff choice and that we could go and name our room as we wished.
Lets just let that hang there, we could just go and do what we wanted, is that a pleasant way of telling us to mind our own?
Is it really all staffs choice? Has someone planted the seed, does it seem novel, almost whimsy in these ‘exceptional times’. For the vast majority of us in Mental Health I’d bet we would all take a second to think about how we used language.
Exceptional times or not, as a profession we should consider the impact of the decisions we make, particularly when a significant number are raising their voices. Innovations in practice and endeavours such as the Scottish Patient Safety Programme are designed to bring consistency to practice to ensure quality outcomes for patients, shouldn’t staff have the same? When all of this is over and we are asking for the permanency of wellbeing areas and funding to sustain them, will we want to diminish their importance by calling them ‘wobble rooms’?
We would love to keep the debate alive, leave your views below in the comments section or tweet us as @RMNBBpodcast
Permission was sought for all comments to be used as part of this Blog.
Ed and Stuart will be joined for a live broadcast on Saturday the 18th of April 2020 at 9pm by another beardy, lefty, Scotsman – comedian and writer John Scott. They will be discussing all things mental health nursing, mental health related and commenting on the political landscape unfurling before us in these most ‘unprecedented’ of times.
John brings to the pod lived experience of someone diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and a background of working in residential mental health services. His insights, whilst hilarious, act as a reminder of the challenges facing people trying to remain well in times of high anxiety and uncertainty.
Ed and Stuart believe that the event will offer listeners of the Pod, old and new, the opportunity to come together, regardless of distance and share the experience live. In an ever changing world where loneliness, isolation and exhaustion appear to be common occurrence for many, the Live Pod aims to bring some humour to the fore whilst generating a raucous virtual aura on the Web with #RMNBBLive
Please be advised that there may be some appropriate but strong language; this is not designed to offend. We are likely to talk about acute mental health issues which may be triggering for some.
Places for this free event are limited so be quick to book.