At the recent inter-university conference ‘Real Lives; Real Difference’ in Stirling, I was part of our OU Service Users and Carers Development Group presentation on the work of the group over the years since the group started. My part in the presentation was to outline some of the projects I have taken part in – including helping write ‘Telling Our Story’, an outline of that work and all the people who had played a part in building our group along with Mo McPhail, who leads the group as part of developing the OU honours Social Work degree.
And last year I also helped with student selection for the Nursing degree – applicants were all asked to write an essay of 250 words about Empathy and what it means, why it is so important in nursing. Fascinating to read those essays, and to think about the topic in much more depth than ever before, putting into a whole new perspective my own several operations and all the nurses I met along the way.
Then there’s the recently started podcast project – making individual podcasts about personal experiences of professional support (or none) in very difficult times, for use in training….
I’ve really enjoyed being part of the group – a real privilege as well as so interesting to meet and work with so many folk with a common interest in sharing their own experiences as ‘service user’ (in the olden days, a patient or client) or family care giver, with the purpose of helping to build new material to use in training future social workers, nurses, and possibly others. And I’ve learned so much along the way….all of which has given me ideas for helping develop my non-fiction writing.