Welsh Research and Education Network
Hot topics in research and medical education, in Wales and beyond
Guest blog from Dr Nicole Parish, Clinical Psychologist, Noah’s Ark Hospital for Wales
We’re led to believe that multitasking is a good thing. That tackling several activities in one go, while thinking of many more, is a highly regarded skill essential to our professional and personal lives. But could there be advantages of not planning the next activity while you’re still doing your last; of not checking your phone while eating lunch; or of not mentally replaying things from your day while watching TV?
What if instead there was a drive to do one thing at one time? Well, that’s the concept of mindfulness: to actively focus your attention on one thing in the present moment and to do it in an accepting, non-judgmental way.
I am Nicole, a Clinical Psychologist working within the Children’s Hospital for Wales and I am keen to promote the idea of mindfulness for staff well-being. As an outsider, I can see how a career in medicine could take its toll: the multiple demands, the irregular shift patterns and dealing with difficult situations on a daily basis. I feel it is important to do all we can to change the inevitably flawed systems in which we work in and, until then, support staff to manage it. Rather than just expecting them to cope.
Thank you to Lisa Budd for her photograph from California
Our working lives can make our already busy minds even more frantic. We’ll go over things that have happened; thinking about how things could have or should have gone. Equally, we daydream about what’s to come; practicing conversations in our head or imagining the worst case scenario. In recognising this, mindfulness first asks us to slow down the mental chitter chatter. To notice when your mind is going off on a tangent and to bring it back to the here-and-now.
Then there’s the judgments we make. The continual and automatic criticisms we have about anything and everything. That sound is irritating, that person is really frustrating or I’m so stupid I shouldn’t have done that! This is why the second concept of mindfulness asks us to be open to all experiences in a non-judgmentally. Imagine two people are caught in a downpour of rain. One is furious, wishing they’d checked the weather forecast and worrying that they’ll get a cold. Whereas the other notices the pressure of the rain droplets on their shoulders and the feeling of cold water on their hands. Both of them will get just as wet, but their emotional experiences of the storm are going to be very different.
Having said that, mindfulness isn’t a miracle cure that’s going to make all your stress disappear. But focusing on only one thing may help you to feel more settled, even if just for a moment. Perhaps doing less at once could help you to tackle more? And taking the time to tune into how you are feeling may motivate you to make beneficial changes. At work you’re expected to wash your hands between seeing patients, and perhaps there is a way to think about refreshing you mind in a similar way?
Thank you to Lisa Budd for her photograph from California
If you’re interested in finding out more, the books ‘Mindfulness: Finding peace in a frantic world’ by Mark Williams and Danny Penman, and ‘Wherever You Go, There You Are’ by Jon Kabat-Zinn are a good place to start. Plus many health boards in Wales offer mindfulness initiatives for staff. For example, I deliver drop-in mindfulness sessions every fortnight within Cardiff and Vale UHB. There are also free courses lead by Academi Wales, such as ‘An Introduction to Mindfulness’ and their 3-day retreat style ‘Explore and Walk’, which I can say first hand is brilliant.Want to start smaller? You can make tweaks to your routine to be more mindful, the trick is finding something that works for you. My sister, for example, is a fan of listening to an app on her phone for about 5-10 minutes a day (well, on the days she remembers and that’s fine!). If you’d like the structure of a guided meditation, and could benefit from taking yourself away for a short period of time, some good ones to try are Headspace (free to download, with an optional subscription), Buddhify (initial fee for the app, then free to use) and Smiling Mind (free to download and free to use).
Whereas I prefer to build the ideas of mindfulness into what I am already doing. I use my walk home as an opportunity to focus on the scene around me, the colour of the trees and the movement of my feet. If that’s more up your street, try choosing one thing to do with more intent and curiosity. When brushing your teeth, notice the sensation of the bristles and taste of the toothpaste; when washing up, pay attention to the temperature of the water and the squeaky sound of the sponge; or perhaps sit down to really enjoy that cup of tea, rather than picking up your mug to take a sip only to find you’ve drunk it all!
So instead of multitasking, maybe it is time to try focusing your attention on just one thing? Purposefully and non-judgmentally. You won’t do it perfectly and you will get distracted. But that’s ok. Mindfulness isn’t about getting it right, it’s all about noticing, accepting and refocusing, many times over.
“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
13th-15th November, Southport Theatre and Convention Centre
Once again I was privileged to attend the Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare annual conference. The train journey to get here was epic but the conference was def. worth the travelling. The conference started with a Tuesday Evening Keynote after a day of workshops. An inspiring first session from Professor Tim Draycott. He spoke about simulation giving teams a chance to 'Have another go'. Team training and teams who train together the communicate well and share leadership. But he demonstrated many examples where teams training together did not improve outcomes. So therefore what is it about a team which makes them more effective? Professor Draycott suggested that teams who did this stated the emergency earlier, the amount of directed commands was higher and they communicated using an SBAR model (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation) In teams that were training together but not seeing improvement in their outcomes he suggests looking further and ensuring that the equipment used is appropriate and that the simulations are standardised, like a recipe. He asks whether as we move forward we should be looking at simulation and evaluating it as we do pharmacological drugs - can we make it a qualy? This would engage and influence the policy makers. Could we offer insurance discounts to hospitals who regularly participate in team simulation and show that this has increased patient safety. We need to give simulation a value. He also suggested that simulation could be use to understand problems and help make the right way the easiest way. Therefore identifying ways which the system needs to change by running simulations. It is more than just knowledge transfer.
Day 2 began with one of the most inspiration speakers I have seen at a conference. Dr Kimberley Stone From Seattle Children's hospital spoke about using simulation to test out the design of a new children's hospital. They got the designers to mock up a card board version of areas such as the research room in the emergency department and the kitchen so they could run through how the rooms flowed and worked. When they found significant flaws in the design of the resus room they were able to redesign it and make it fit how they wanted it to work, all using simulation. Once the bricks were laid and the hospital was ready to open the simulated 'a day in the life of …. ward' before a patient stepped foot in the door. They were able to identify latent threats and patient safety issues and correct them without any chance for patients to come to harm.
This offered me a completely different view of simulation and one which I had not thought of using simulation for but when you look at it, it makes complete sense. If we can do practise runs in the hospital before it's built we ensure that equipment is where we need it to be and patient flow is optimised. If we then SIM each area before it is used we can identify all the latent threats and eliminate them before they become close to making it into patient care. This use for simulation looks fantastic and in the future this should become the norm.
Breakout sessions then commenced with a variety of talks on exciting projects which are happening around the country. I was particularly interested in Doreen Stockdale's presentation on running a 'Dragons Den' type competition for midwifery students to design an app which introduces the students to simulation teaching and how it works. It is often forgotten when you have been doing simulation for a while that to others it is an alien teaching form and they don't know how to do it. The app is in the process of being made and has 3 area's - Know yourself, know others and Get to know the story. I'm looking forward to seeing it finished and whether we could use it with our undergraduate students or nursing colleagues as an introduction to simulation.
The next keynote was delivered by Professor Nick Sevdalis He spoke about moving simulation from looking at Efficacy (can I work?) to Effectiveness (Does it work?) Looking a scaling up simulation training programs and how we can make it work.
Followed by more breakout sessions. The most interesting session I attended focused on developing non technical skills recognition for junior doctors through simulation teaching. This involved designing a 'Bingo' type card for simulation observers to focus on different human factors while the simulation session was going on rather than be passive observers. This helps in developing the knowledge of the junior doctors in human factors.
The final keynote speaker on day 2 was Paul Gowen's who is the Lead consultant paramedic for the Scottish Ambulance service. He demonstrated the fantastic work which the Scottish Ambulance service has been doing for out of hospital cardiac arrests and was a very dynamic speaker, I would recommend watching his talk on catch up for a reminder about why we are all focusing on simulation to improve patient outcomes.
After a meeting of the Paediatric special interest group was done it was onto the conference dinner. Photo's of this will not be shared but I loved the addition of a mini conference photo booth!
Day 3 started with 2 keynote speeches. The first delivered by Dr Neil Ralph @DrNRalph from Health Education England who shared the notion that we should be investing in the people who deliver the simualtions and focusing more on faculty development as well as working with e-LfH to offer e-learning around simulation. Followed by Professor Bob Stone who tooke the whole room into a world of virtual reality being utilised in the armed forces and how this can be applied to healthcare. He focused very much on 'Humans first, technology second' Mixed reality in healthcare is not yet fit for purpose but its developing fast and new opportunities are emerging. plus the simulation for evacuation of casualties on the helicopter looked absolutely fantastic. His keynote offered us a taste of what is yet to come, and it could make simulation even more exciting.
I presented in the next breakout session the falls project detailed below. After lunch their were further breakout sessions to see what everybody else was doing within simulation around the country and learn about the introduction to the STEP program which ASPiH has developed to aid with the development of simulation technicians.
The closing keynote was delivered by Bryn Baxendale. Who spoke about the development of health teams.
I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to present some of the work we have been doing in Cardiff and Vale within the medical education team in simulation.
Within Cardiff and Vale we have reorganised the way we have been creating and structuring our simulation courses. We have been making these more mutli-disciplinary and therefore focusing on team work within the NHS. We know that increasing team work increases productivity and improves patient safety.
We have also been evaluating our simulation more effectively and have been able to show statistically significant increases in confidence and knowledge following attendance at a simulation course. We are creating simulation courses around significant targets for the trust such as the reduction of falls. I was lucky to present orally a project we did with the Trauma and Orthopaedic department. We created a patient story simulation from admission to post theatre in order to improve the confidence of the Foundation Doctors with patient management. This has been a very successful course which significantly improved the confidence of the trainees who have been through it.
The second oral presentation I gave was on the Falls project. We are keen to develop simulation around significant patient safety issues and falls prevention and management has been highlighted as one of these. We have been working with a ward in our hospital and lead nurses have been trained in teaching simulation and are now delivering it to their teams. Again this project has been very successful.
The two poster presentations are below and focus on a further 2 simulation course which are available. I was grateful to get the opportunity to present the fantastic work we have been doing in Cardiff and Vale to a wide audience.
In summary, if you have any interest in simulation I would absolutely recommend that you put the ASPiH conference in you diary to attend, next year is in Belfast. The keynote speeches from this year can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzm6Ad9XIwxksSlhE9BK4IQY2kOpKvxUJ
Thank you to the ASPiH team for giving me the opportunity to present our work and to Cardiff and Vale for enabling me to attend this fantastic conference which has given me lots of exciting ideas.
For more information:
Last years blog can be found here: https://www.wrenpaediatrics.com/blog/its-all-about-simulation
ASPiH website: http://aspih.org.uk/
Follow on twitter: @ASPiHUK
Conference website: http://www.aspihconference.co.uk/
20th November 2018
Dr Chris Course
The 32nd Annual Symposium for Cystic Fibrosis in Adults and Children took place at the Royal Society of Medicine in London on 20th November 2018. It had been organised by Professor Iolo Doull from the Department of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine and Cystic Fibrosis at the Children’s Hospital for Wales, Cardiff, and aimed to serve as an update for hot topics and emerging trends in the care of cystic fibrosis over the past 12 months. This was my second visit to the Royal Society of Medicine, and again it didn’t disappoint. It is a great venue for any meeting, and always provides excellent conference facilities and service. The RSM put on a great variety of meetings, and there is generally something for everyone, no matter what your area of clinical interest. Many of the meetings are either free or very reasonably priced.
The 32nd Symposium for CF started with a talk from Dr N ick Simmonds from the Royal Brompton about some of the diagnostic challenges emerging in the world of CF. With increasing understanding of CFTR gene variations and mutations, there is an increasing awareness of variable clinical phenotype and disease penetrance. There appears to be an increasing acceptance of a range of CF-related disease, and single-organ disease (e.g. pancreatic dysfunction with normal respiratory health) is being seen in some of the more variable genotypes in some patients. The importance of clinical correlation with genotype was highlighted, as well as the importance of functional assessment of CFTR in diagnostics. The traditional importance of sweat chloride was stressed, and a discussion was had around the emerging use of nasal potential difference calculations in functional assessment of CFTR was discussed.
This was followed by a presentation from Dr Julian Forton, Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Cardiff on how best to diagnose respiratory infection in children. This focussed on the successful completion of the CF-SpIT trial, led by Dr Forton (and paper available here: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(18)30171-1/fulltext) which found that induced sputum samples were as effective as two-lobe broncheo-alveolar lavage samples (currently the gold standard test) at assessing the pathogens present in the lower airways, but were easier to obtain and better tolerated, avoiding need for general anaesthetic. There was also a suggestion that induced sputum may be superior at assessing the bacteria present in the larger airways, which can be symptomatic in children with signs of bronchitis (wet cough). The paper is a really good read, published in the Lancet, and great to see such influential research being undertaken locally in Wales. After speaking with Dr Forton, the findings of CF-SpIT are starting to change practice internationally, especially in Australia, where routine bronchoscopy (not just for symptomatic children) is a much more common undertaking.
The morning was rounded off with presentations from Dr Kris de Boeck, Leuven University, Belgium on the challenges on investigating the clinical efficacy of newer disease modulating CF drugs (such as Ivacaftor) in children with rare genotypes, and Professor Martin Walshaw
who chaired the NICE CF guideline (https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng78). This provided an interesting contrast between the emerging advice on the challenges of investigating the treatment of rare genotypes with newer therapies, and the role of well-established management in cystic fibrosis and how to recommend best practice in a dynamic and changing treatment landscape.
Following lunch, there was a discussion from Professor Andrew Jones of the Manchester Adult CF centre on the complexities of which pathogens we should worry about (in short, we all still worry about pseudomonas, but with newer culture techniques, there are isolates emerging, such as achromobacter, ralstonia, and anaerobes which may or may not be associated with accelerated decline in lung function) and the challenges of extrapolating in vitro models in in vivo clinical situations. This was followed by a presentation from Professor Jane Davies, Royal Brompton Hospital, on the new and emerging therapies in CF. The future at present seems to be the CF modulating drugs, such as Ivacaftor, which improve the function of dysfunctional CFTR, and the potential for combination therapies which improve CFTR production and expression. The main challenges with these drugs still seem to be their immense cost, and correlating this with affordable clinical benefit. The ongoing story of gene therapies was also briefly touched upon, and although initial trials and mechanisms have had suboptimal results, newer trials and modalities are being developed and funded.
After a coffee break, the fellow presentations began. This was an opportunity for fellows and trainees to present interesting cases and discussion points to the meeting (and where I had the opportunity to discuss a case and the potential ethical implications for newborn screening). Despite the excellent calibre of the presentations that had come before, and their high academic rigour, the audience were kind and supportive for the trainee presentations, and I wasn’t faced with any overly challenging questions!
In summary, the 32nd Annual CF Symposium was a thoroughly enjoyable meeting, and relevant to anyone with an interest in respiratory health in paediatrics. It also provided a useful insight into the transition for these children into adult services and how the focus of management can change with the move to adult CF teams. It was also a valuable opportunity to undertake a bit of CV building with a case presentation (at present anyone who presents at the CF symposium is also invited to submit a review article on the subject for Paediatric Respiratory Reviews). Professor Doull is organising the 33rd Symposium in 2019 also, so keep a look out on the RSM website for further details.
Dr Annabel Greenwood