Organic feeling

Everything has come to an end… After participating in the course “Cultural awareness in health and social research”, I would hereby like to declare myself as being cultural aware! This course have for sure given me whole new perspectives. It doesn’t make sense, but the new perspectives and the feeling I have about it is hard to explain. The feeling is in a deeper dimension, it almost feels “organic”. Nevertheless, I love the course design since it has impelled me to experience cultural differences AND to overcome them.

I think that we in struggle a bit with how to team up and work effectively together. I also think that we manage to overcome our differences and that we mastered the challenges when it came to connecting and collaborating. We succeeded to discuss and to exchange cultural experiences. Very rewarding and it was definitely worth the effort! Being part of this course have been like sweet music in my ears…

You know when you here a song and you keep playing it on repeat again and again. That’s how it been for me since I woke up this morning and heard charming Mason Ramsey sing “Famous”. It’s of course a love song and he sings that he wants to be famous for loving his girl. During my morning walk, that made me think of – what if I was famous… What would it be for? I wish that if I’m gonna be famous for something, I wanna be famous for being frank, fearless and loving. My ambition is to be accepting, curious and respectful towards my fellow human beings, in the spirit of being cultural competent.

After dwelling around in this creative social media forum (where I’m pretty confident) I now have to step up and challenge myself. Guess I have to become more serious and dig into the scientific aspect of this topic and deepen my knowledge about how this will affect my research plan. For this purpose, my assessment paper comes in handy.

Photo: http://www.pixabay.com

 

Moving beyond a colorblind perspective

Here´s another reflection regarding the course I participate in about cultural awareness. I believe that the current paradigm in Sweden in some ways are built upon those early psychological research that is described in the article of Awad et al. (2016). The assumptions are based on a humanistic belief that we are all equal and should be treated the same way… which is of cause correct! But, maybe we tend to forget and acknowledge the cultural impact on our behaviours. This week I have thought about this a lot. Is it right to treat everyone the same? Now, after learning more about culture in this course, I think that I think, that it is NOT right. That we actually should treat each other differently depending on what cultural behaviours we possess. In fact, it would be unethical not to do so. And here comes the tricky part… How do we know what cultural behaviours our fellows or participants have? Suddenly, I do understand why my teacher asked the questions that she had written in her presentation from last webinar.

·         How do assumptions influence what questions we ask and how we ask?

·         What influence may our values or beliefs have on the methodologies we use?

·         How may participants react to our questions based on their culture?

I have no answers to the questions but if we don´t ask, we have to trust what we know and what we see. I assume a great deal of things about a person I have in front of me just from looking at the person. I guess they do the same with me. We as humans (including nurses and PhD students), are inclined to sort individuals into boxes constructed out of e.g. religion, language, ethnicity, clothing style, diagnosis and gender. Could it be that the huge variety makes it too difficult for us to handle? Is the global diversity overwhelming and does it make us feel small and insecure? I think it sometimes does. We have to be fearless and curious about cultural differences. I do think that this quotation from the article of Awad et al. (2016) is fabulous (in fact I love it),

“Moving beyond a colorblind perspective towards embracing multiculturalism”

It´s time to take off the shades and to call on all our courage to face the challenge of cultural diversity by being bold and brave.

After writing this first part of my reflections I got tired of myself… It´s sooooo easy to write nice words and so much harder to act upon them. I like that Awad et al. (2016) gave us some key recommendation of how to conducting culturally sensitive research. On the webinar I tried to make a comment about stigmatisation and the first recommendation is regarding how to “avoid using the comparative research framework”. Last autumn, I participated in an ethical PhD course, were the students from the Department of Criminology talked a lot about not stigmatise minority groups even if the result showed that they for instance had a high rate of crime. I am amazed that the academy takes this huge society dilemma on its shoulders and withhold the results. I want to know, discuss and think more about this stigmatisation problem regarding nursing research. Does it exist in our field and how does it occur?

Reference
Awad G H, Patall E A, Rackley K R, Reilly E D, (2016) Recommendations for Culturally Sensitive Research Methods. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 26(3), 283-303.

Photo: http://www.pixabay.com

Study abroad

I know I wrote about this in my last blog post but today I got this study material in my mailbox so I got a little excited. I have a dream to study abroad. When I was young I never traveled or anything. I worked, took my nursing degree and continued working. And to be honest, I have worked ever since. Now when I’m a PhD student I think that I have increased opportunities to study abroad and the first step to defeat is an English exam. The test is held is Lund which is small town approximately 30 km from my home. The IELTS test consists of four elements, reading, listening, writing and speaking and test dates this spring is on May 5th or June 2nd. I would like to apply to the University of Leicester and there requirement are an IELTS score 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in each element. I will try to study hard and hopefully I will succeed and if not… I will just try again and again…

Photo: My own…

Lady Fortune

I have absolutely no intention to be disrespectful and I fear that my English skills is my shortcoming. Despite of this, I feel an urge of sharing my thoughts and I will try to express myself carefully.

It turns out, that in my research area there is a huge gap. I found peer-reviewed articles from the early 1990 were they (the researchers) literally went to the patients and asked them how it was to undergo a colonoscopy and how they (the patients) perceived it. Since then… not much has happened in the field. A handful of articles, but not many, have included the patient in studies about their (the patients) experiences of the gastrointestinal procedure. Remarkable! How is this gap even possible in the year of 2017? Now I feel like I am disrespectful… I’m not! Astonished, yes I admit… The need of efforts and considerations of how to bridge the gap of knowledge is most important.

At first I blamed the doctors, and that this chasm was caused by deficient knowledge or perhaps, lack of acceptance for descriptive qualitative research methods. This assumption of mine is unfair, unclear and not pertinent to discuss further. Dear doctors, I beg your pardon!

Nurses are familiar with different research traditions and are used to move between quantitative, mixed-methods and qualitative methodology.

Now I hold my own sisters, the nurses, responsible for it… or actually, I don’t. Who am I to have complains? I haven’t played a part in a lot of research have I? A lot of excellent endoscopic nursing research has been conducted in areas such as; documentation, communication, decontamination, screening, sedation, bowel preparation and so on…

Nevertheless, “someone” forgot to ask the patients about there experiences.

It turns out, I feel like Lady Fortune and I believe that my qualitative research skills can come in handy now when I’m about to do this thesis. Future contributory research should focus on designing qualitative studies, with conscientiously described methodology, that present patient-derived data, in order to further increase the knowledge about what patients’ experiences during colonoscopy (Brown et al, 2015; Tierney et al, 2016).

References
Brown S, Bevan R, Rubin G, Nixon C, Dunn S, Panter S, Rees CJ, (2015) Patient-derived measures of GI endoscopy: a meta-narrative review of the literature. Gastrointest Endosc, 81(5), 1130-1140.

Tierney M, Bevan R, Rees CJ, Trebble TM, (2016) What do patients want from their endoscopy experience? The importance of measuring and understanding patient attitudes to their care. Frontline Gastroenterol, 7(3), 191-198.

Photo: Pixabay

Dangerously tangled

Right now, I aim to enhance my PhD project plan and in this work I’m desperately seeking structure. I have lots and lots of articles (and they’re continuously increasing), on my desk, in my backpack, on the toilet, on the bedside table, even in my laundry. They’re possibly everywhere – all over the place.

Emily Sparkes have done and shared a brilliant infographic in her Twitter account, demonstrating my (and obviously others) dilemma.

Presentation1

How on earth will I ever get this straight? I’ve tried to do numerous of tables in word and several excel sheets but nothing seems to give my an overview of the different pieces and how they fit (or not fit) together. My new strategy is to try mind-mapping. A few years ago I gained acquaintance with Coggle and since then I have a penchant for this excellent and free (!) tool. To structure all the articles is a hard and time consuming work but to my contentment and absolute joy, the use of different colors are now free. This makes my experience surprisingly more pleasant. Hopefully, this mind-mapping will help me unravel my article chaos. I cross my fingers!

Projektplan_Patient_satisfaction

Photo: Pixabay

Vulnerable

According to me, as a Swede, vulnerable and especially vulnerability is kind of difficult to pronounce. It´s like there´s too many vowels way back in my throat… I have to concentrate hard to get it right. The last days I´ve been concentrating hard, really hard. My first deadline was today and in agreement with my supervisors I have sent my revised project plan to them. I will get my feedback when we meet Thursday afternoon. Yesterday a feeling of fear emerged into my consciousness, fear of showing my weaknesses and flaws to three supervisors that I look up to, respect and admire. A fear that almost paralyzed my intellectual capabilities. A fear which had power of my thoughts and made me feel inferior and fragile. After a sleepless night and hours of brooding I´ve come to the conclusion that in order to improve my academic skills I have to accept the process of uncover myself to my supervisors. There will no longer be any doubts of which level my critical thinking is at. That is the price I have to pay for expose my capacity and abilities. In some ways I´m terrified to show this manifestation of competence (worst case scenario – incompetence) but I also think that I have to embrace the adeptness and just lay myself bare and show my stomach in order to get better. You know, like dogs do, totally unabashed by the position their in. Only, unlike the dogs, I´m utterly embarrassed by my posture. Nevertheless, it is what it is, no harm done – yet – I have to trust my supervisors and I am grateful for their feedback! The response will make me grow and improve. After all I´m here to germinate.

Ambition for the rest of the day: To endeavor a jaunty walk into the sunset!

sunset-1046475_1920

Photos: Pixabay

Cognitive process

Sometimes it helps to make a bad joke out of those odd moments in life. At the interview (when I applied to become a PhD student) one associate professor asked me a question and it has haunt me ever since.

Notfarenough

 

Also me: OMG, I don´t even understand the question!

But I do have questions – lots of them…

  • What is so special about this specific group of patients that I want to study?
  • How does their experiences differ from other group with similar preparations?
  • Why is this research important and what is the future value?
  • …and so on…into infinity.

Before the summer I agreed with my supervisors to study the subject gastroenterology in-depth so that I would have the prerequisite skills to enhance my research project when I see them in one week from now and here I am making memes… Back to finding focus and answers!

Photo: Pixabay

 

I am about to do…

Yet another short and quick blog post. Some of you have asked what my research subject is. Confessedly, I have to say that I will not do my PhD on pedagogy, digital media or anything that has to do with what I actually know something about. Two weeks before application due day I had a talk to my professor and it ended out in an email to the Endoscopy Unit at Skåne University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden (where I´ve been working in the summer breaks). I simply asked if they might be interested in having me as a PhD student and that my research proposal was about quality assurance of patient satisfaction during endoscopic procedure. Within 40 minutes I had an extremely encouraging and benevolent positive answer from both the head and the manager of the unit. The air of propitiousness made me believe in my own ability, and without thinking too much, I dived in with such a delight and joy, reading, writing and learning about my new subject. So, this is where I stand now… Accepted for third cycle studies (about to start in two weeks), the feeling of knowing absolutely nothing and just… you know… puddle and splashing around trying to figure out where to start.

Reminder to myself: Proceed as if limits to your ability do not exist!

 

Digital Communities

According to the title of this blog post it will be about digital communities but first of all I have to tell that my ambition was to spice this up with a beautiful picture from the magnificent drama Outlander. The novel series which is written by the splendid author Diana Gabaldon and superior filmed by Starz about the strong and independent nurse Claire and her Scottish warrior Jamie. I´ve been searching the internet with the intention to find an official free photo of the popular TV show without any luck. All images that I found are under restrictions, terms of use and privacy policy. After years, I finally learnt, to only use images free to use, preferably, under a creative common license. There are a numerous sites (or should I say communities?) providing free images under Creative Commons licenses, largest of course are Flickr and Pixabay not fare behind. I´ve also found some smaller sights, Knykkenilluku and Fotoakuten (both in Swedish). Anyway, back to the community business. For all of us who´s in love with the story Outlander (we´re called #Droughtlander – desperately waiting for season 3 to air in September 2017) there are a lot of communities to take part of. Some of them are welcoming while others are the opposite. Henceforth, while describing communities, I’m talking about communities which are opened and friendly. Communities where you break down walls (not like the Inverness Castle´s strong walls, built for defense) and share your knowledge with peers and fellows.

Northern_Constabulary_Pipe_Band_Drum_Majors_by_Dave Connor
Northern Constabulary Pipe Band – Drum Majors (Present, Future and Past) by Dave Conner (CC BY 2.0)
In accordance with Vygotski´s belief, learning occurs in human interactions which is embedded in social context. In Vygotski´s sociocultural learning theory he acknowledge the individual learning and development dependent on collaboration with (sometimes more capable) peers and in relationship with others. Bandura, one of the main social learning theorist, claims that individuals learn behavioral patterns from each other through observation and imitation. Those observed response patterns have an inhibitory or dis-inhibitory effect on the learner who decides whether the observed response patterns are worth imitating. Thus, the individual decides whether or not the learning leads to a change in behavior (Jarvis, 2010). Considering this, it is of great importance that the community has a lack of pessimistic culture or toxic atmosphere since observing and imitating such behaviors and beliefs ought to be negative for the participant/learner. A community spirit is a reflection of its mind and soul and I believe that dedicated communities needs a leadership with emphasis on equality, engagement and contribution. Even with strong basic values such as, NOT allow bullying for example.

Cove_habour_by_Nell_Roger_CCBY_NC_ND2.0
Cove harbour by Neil Roger (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
The phenomenon, Community of Practice origins from the sociocultural learning theory and is developed and described by Lave and Wenger (1999). The theory is based upon several assumptions, where among other things, knowledge is dependent on collaboration. The knowledge is described to be embedded and integrated into social relationships and communities. A key factor, in a community where the participants have a shared interest and passion for something, is the commitment and the desire to interact regularly. Social media can be used as a facilitator for this communication. By participating in the Open Networked Learning  I´d experienced how it is to be a part of a great community where we collaborated and shared our precious ideas with each other. Still is by the way!

SArah_on_the_ben_Aan_summit_By_Marc_CCBY_NC_ND2.0
Cornerstone Peak! by Marc (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sam Heughan is one of the leading star in the filmed version of my favorite story Outlander. He has founded a community named “My peak challenge“, which is a great example of how a supportive and encouraging community can be build. The peak challenge is about making positive changes in life, to simply live healthier, happier and more balanced. The challenge could be either physical or creative – you decide and make a promise to yourself. The physical part comes quite natural for me since I´ve regularly been exercising for years… Guess I´m addicted to the endorphin. If I should make a promise to myself and become a peaker, I think my challenge would be of another kind. It would be to build a friendly and enhancing community with my students and fellow colleagues on the exciting topic Acid-Base Balance.

To summarize, I say – YES to Community of Practice – Je Suis Prest (I am ready)!

References
Jarvis P (2010) Adult education and lifelong learning. Theory and practice. (4th ed.) London & New York, Routledge.

Lave J, Wenger E (1999) Learning and pedagogy. I  Leach J, Moon B (red.) Learning and pedagogy. London, Paul Chapman.

Photo: Inverness Castle Scotland by Dave Connor (CC BY 2.0)

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