I’m not very good at lying-in. Once I’m awake (which, on most mornings, is earlier rather than later) I’m up. It’s then a matter of creeping downstairs to do some soundless chores, before making my mandatory mug of strong coffee and grabbing breakfast. Whilst in the kitchen I’ll have the radio on, tuned (at low volume) to BBC R4, for company. Invariably I’ll then make my way to the computer: the very one I’m sitting in front of now.
This blog is about a week old, and a number of my posts have started life in this pre-dawn window of opportunity. Papers I’ve written for publication have often been chipped away at at a similar time. So far the relationship between my writing-for-this-blog and my writing-for-journal-submission has been one-way, in that I’ve used this space to share ideas rehearsed at greater length in already-published academic articles. Indeed, this was one of my purposes in setting this site up: I wanted to experiment with blogging as a way of promoting work, and as a means of engaging beyond the production of lengthy outputs for paid-for journals.
It now occurs to me that this blog might also become a working space for the development of new ideas, and that the relationship between writing-for-journals and writing-for-the-blog might sometimes run in the opposite direction. This forum will never be a substitute for my academic journal-writing, and I’m not proposing to dump heaps of unmanaged data here (even if I had it!) for some kind of public write-in. But I might bring fledging ideas which I’m in the process of working through in my head.
Which brings me to…
At this year’s Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research conference I gave a talk titled, ‘Past, present and possible future in the system of community mental health care’. I intended this to be a kind of reflective run-through, taking in a decade-and-a-half of research and writing in the field. I wanted to touch lightly over a string of studies and papers I’ve had the good fortune to be involved in, and to knit together something cumulative around the themes of system interrelatedness, complexity and change. I’m not sure I pulled this ambition off in that forum, and in the longer term I’d like to work this all up into a full-blown paper. This space might become a repository of some sort for this type of work-in-progress. We’ll have to see, though, and I’ll need to think through how this might happen.
Unrelatedly: I’ll be opening the Mental Health Nurse Academics UK Vice Chair elections on Monday. My congratulations, too, to Louise Poley (Consultant Nurse in Substance Misuse, Cardiff and Vale UHB) for becoming RCN Wales Nurse of the Year. Lou has done outstanding work improving the health of people who are homeless, collaborating with partners across the statutory and non-statutory sectors.
Now I’m off out for run. Thanks, again, for reading.