Author Archives: Jonathan Branney

About Jonathan Branney

Senior Lecturer in Adult Nursing Bournemouth University Visiting Research Fellow Centre for Biomechanics, AECC University College

Student nurse with dyslexia? This might help you

Some of the best nurses I’ve worked with have happened to be dyslexic. Maybe it was having to overcome the challenges that come with dyslexia that helped them to develop such high quality skills? However I’ve met many student nurses who do struggle with this, some even getting diagnosed for the first time after they’ve already started their degree. Remember, while you may not like to be ‘labelled’ as dyslexic it helps to open up a range of support that you cannot access without the label. Don’t let it define you, let it refine you!

I happened across a blog written by a newly qualified nurse, Andrew, who, despite his dyslexia gained an upper second class degree in mental health nursing. Have a look at his blog, Positively dyslexic nursing. Maybe his tips for success will help you…?

Reflections on the Hands of a Nurse by Mark Darby


“Hand” by -5m is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Reflections on the Hands of a Nurse

Let us take a moment to remember our hands.
For these are no ordinary hands.
These are the hands of a nurse.
These are the hands that help us do our work.
These are the hands that carry out the skills that make nursing possible.

Let us remember our hands and be grateful for what they do
For the eyes may see, the mouth may speak but it is the hands that hold, the hands that heal, the hands that give the caring touch.

These are the hands that feel the first breath of a new born child,
These are the hands that feel the last breath of a dying one

These are the hands that hold a family, who has just lost a loved one, These are the hands that clap for joy at the healing of a disease. These are the hands that insert tubes that bring healing to the body

These are the hands that touch a forehead and tell, within a degree, normal or febrile.
These are the hands that feel a pulse and know fast or slow, weak or strong, effective or for naught.

These are the hands that restrain the angry from self-harm
These are the hands that compress the sternum to bring life

These are the hands that clean unspeakable places on another person’s body but do so with dignity and respect which allow that person to feel like a human being.

These are also the hands of different people not just black or white, brown or yellow but all.
These are not the hands of male or female but both.

Other hands may build buildings or write books Some hands may even pull the trigger or plunge the knife but these are the hands of life.

These are the hands that take up the task passed down from so long ago—to bring healing to the sick, comfort to the afflicted, hope to the hopeless

But these are not the hands of timid maidens who look for direction outside themselves

These are also the hands that can be clenched because sometimes some thing has got to change.

These are the hands of a nurse
These are the hands that have the privilege of being at the bedside

For these are the hands of a nurse, the hands of a person that does a job that not everyone can do.
These are the hands of a nurse, the hands of strength compassion and love
These are the hands of a nurse,

These are my hands.


The importance of trust between colleagues: It’s all about the little things

“Tea” by chumsdock is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Simon Sinek’s Life Advice Will Change Your Future

That named above is billed as a motivational talk for business leaders, and that it what it is [with a typically borderline hyperbolic title]. However,  business leaders are not the only audience who might benefit. I am a big fan of Simon Sinek and I got a lot out of this talk. It has a large focus on the importance of trust between colleagues which makes it relevant to healthcare colleagues where trust is essential for effective team-working (and consequently on patient safety and the effectiveness of care). Check it out.

Trust is vital during this pandemic. More than ever we all need to trust each other – to follow the social distancing measures, to thoroughly wash hands, fully isolate if symptomatic of COVID-19 and other government requirements on our behaviour. In the front-line of the NHS that trust needs to extend further to instances where social distancing is not possible – trust between colleagues; trust between healthcare professionals and patients. This is a big ask for healthcare professionals who are risking their lives on the front-line of healthcare more than at any other time in the history of the NHS. Trust needs to be earned, true, but it needs to be earned quickly.

Brief, ordinary and effective

A little bit of practical advice might be to remind you (introduce you to?) of the ‘brief, ordinary and effective model’ of communication (which BU students can access here).  It is a neat reminder of how effective communication might be still be achieved despite trying circumstances. Trusting relationships are built on rapport, and rapport is achieved by opening up about ourselves to another, revealing an aspect of ourselves that we are comfortable sharing with a relative stranger who might then reciprocate – thus a connection is formed with a fellow human being.  It’s little things that achieve this meaningful connection – shared support of a football team, a love of food, music, whatever (even weather, if you can’t think of anything more interesting!) – it doesn’t matter as long as it promotes a connection. This is not always easy to do, revealing something of ourselves, as it makes us vulnerable.

Healthcare professionals have and will continue to make themselves vulnerable – it was ever thus. But the pressures the NHS is under and will continue to be over the coming weeks as the number of covid-19 cases peaks means that tempers may be more likely to fray as workload exceeds capacity, as colleagues need to self-isolate. Emotions may run high as as heart-wrenching decisions need to be made that would not be contemplated during more normal times, as tiredness and fear contribute to the risk of trust breaking down. That is why a focus on trust is so vital at this time, because trust is fragile – anything as fragile and as worthwhile as trust deserves to be carefully protected. Never stop valuing trust and, while some people will let you down, what this pandemic is showing, I believe, is way more instances of the best of human behaviour rather than the worst (outstanding book on this by the way – Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Our Worst by Robert Salposky, one of the best books you will ever read) – and it all hinges on trust. But how to adhere to the best side of our nature with the stress and strain of this pandemic invading and pervading our lives? We won’t always get it right, but especially when we go awry and our behaviour lets us down we can remind ourselves: be brief, ordinary and effective, and try again. I hope this advice will change your future.

For student nurses – especially V2 – peripheral shutdown

What’s in a word? Well, a lot.

Struggling with understanding peripheral ‘shutdown”? Would peripheral “vasoconstriction” make all the difference?! Here’s what’s happening with shutdown or vasoconstriction (and vasodilation). Check out the amazing Khan Academy if you want to know more.Check out the amazing Khan Academy if you want to know more.

Coronavirus and wellbeing. Some tips to help you during this difficult time

Couple of great looking resources I was introduced to by the BCP Council email newsletter (sign up for it here) to help let some light in on these increasingly dark times. See below.

Dorset Mind has some really helpful information on staying well, deciding on a routine, connecting with people, keeping your mind stimulated and much more.

LiveWell Dorset have also launched a five-ways to wellbeing virtual challenge which involves the following five actions:

  1. Be active
  2. Connect
  3. Take notice
  4. Keep learning
  5. Give

Get involved now, you’re just five steps away from boosting your wellbeing – and be sure to share it with your friends and family to help brighten their day.